For many, the models they create come from strong examples before them from their own parents, grandparents, family friends, and teachers. Sometimes our faith presents healthy models for us to follow. Fictional characters in books and film can present us with strong role models. Then there is our own research and learning which help us build models that we incorporate into our lives based on facts and data.
What about homeschooling? Have you created a model for what you want your homeschooling to look like? Is there a homeschooling blogger you admire and whose style really works for you? I presented this as an essay question to our kids, and asked them to describe our homeschooling model. I wondered what they would come up with. They all shared their models and they were all different takes on what we do here every day, but our daughter, Olesya, surprised me by taking it beyond "What is our model" to "who is our model". Below is an example of how a learner perceives their family's model of homeschooling:
Who's Our Model
Homeschooling is a fairly new idea in our modern world, though kids have been educated at home throughout our history. Our family's model has taught us to educate both the brain and the heart. Homeschooling allows us to learn not only about the fundamental academic principles, but also ourselves and our hearts. Homeschooling intertwines academic knowledge, and knowledge of being good and respectful in the world, which educates the heart and the mind simultaneously. Our model teaches us “how to think, and not what to think.” Our model is the one who says that memorizing for a test is not education, but pulling apart sentences, stopping at and defining the words you don't know, and working with the information till you understand it, is.
We are taught to love learning, and learn beyond the required years of schooling. Our model is the one that tells us that education doesn't always happen in the pages of traditional textbooks, but instead learning also happens when you go out and apply the information; go out and see the arts, the culture, and the history. Our model tells me that if you are interested in something, don't wait to be taught it, instead pick up a book and teach it to yourself. Our model is the one who sits next to us day after day, follows each word when we read, asks us questions that are not page fillers, listens to our opinions, doesn't blow off our questions that we may have, and besides spending hours teaching us, spend many more researching the right curriculum. My model doesn't accept “I don't know” as an answer because that is not how our education works. My model is my mom.
What an important reminder to me, that while I may look outside for my homeschooling model, my kids will always, always be looking inside for their model. I need to never forget that my own love of learning, my own curiosity, and my own engagement with materials is being watched, every moment, and new models are being created based on that observation.
Thinking about that is actually pretty daunting, isn't it?