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This is How We Do It

Are you new to home schooling? I think the most often asked question from families new to homeschooling is, “how do you do it?” Everyone asks me for an example of how we “do it”. I remember having this question myself some twelve years ago. I remember wondering why people seemed reluctant to talk about what they did.

When we first started homeschooling, I made my children sit at the dining room table - or rather, I attempted. Once I got over some unfulfilled childhood dream of standing in front of a classroom wearing high heels and fancy jewelry, fake fingernails - sorry had to throw that last one in - (I used to wrap scotch tape around my fingernails to simulate long fingernails. Thank you Mrs. Ader) I realized my children were looking at me with the same adoration they gave cooked peas. Light-bulb moment; I was doing to them what I hated about a brick and mortar school.

I put all the workbooks and cool things I’d printed out on a shelf in the living room (not really a living room as we were living in a trailer on a macadamia nut ranch while building a house) so really more like a plastic tote in the back of the trailer. Instead, we went and purchased baby chicks and ducks and made lasting memories, learning some biology. We were building a house but first we had to demolish the old structure. We all learned about how to dismantle a structure, how to dispose the different types of trash. We spent a lot of time at museums. It was so fun! I took them to the grocery store, taught them to make scrambled eggs, taught them to drive dirt bikes. I used to quiz my kids all the time about the sounds that letters made. In the morning, before they were up and going I’d write them each a little story. I would add to it every day and we would go back over what was previous. They went everywhere with me and we constantly talked. They asked tons of questions (still do).

How do we do it? For our family, in the younger grade school years, we did lots of things, we had discussions. I used to dole out worksheets a couple of times a week and they started to think of them as fun. Now, we are with Inspire and in order to receive funds we must of course cover specific topics. We do these things, but still try to make it fun. And, we have managed to hang onto our philosophy.

Carie Sipka is an Inspire Family Liaison serving the Ventura county area.

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