A guest post written by Jamie Roberts
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn.”
I never aspired to be a teacher. It was never my thing. I guess that’s why I never planned to home school.
I became a wife and mother before college or career. I never knew how much being a mother meant to me until I gave birth to our first son. It pained me to be away from him and to watch him grow so fast, but my heart soared to see him learn. So I taught him.
It started as a way to prepare him for primary school. I had chosen to stay home with him instead of returning to work. I worried that by not enrolling him in preschool he would fall behind his peers. By the time my oldest was ready to start his kindergarten year, our family had grown. B had two younger brothers. S was four and K had just been born.
We enrolled B in kinder at the local public school. It was immediately apparent that we had a problem. B was so far ahead of his peers that he was bored. He finished the assignments quickly and tried to be overly “helpful” and “social” with the other students. He didn’t understand what he was doing wrong. B came to strongly dislike school.
As parents and as life long learners, my husband and I were very disappointed. We found a charter school nearby and registered both B and S for the school lottery. Both were accepted and started Kinder and 1st grade that following year. I had high hopes for the charter because it was a S.T.E.M. school. I felt that the previous year’s troubles had been with that particular school and that all my children needed was a more rigorous curriculum.
Like in most other schools, the classes were large and the teachers were spread too thin. S struggled. B still surpassed his peers to the point that he was reading several chapters a day during school time. After a year at the charter school we knew that if we wanted our children to get the quality education they deserved we would have to make a drastic change.
Que home school.
The idea of the boys education…and future…would be resting on my shoulders made me nervous, but excited. This was an opportunity not only to teach them, but also to inspire them. I wouldn’t just be giving them more one-on-one time and help, I would be giving them the resources and tools they needed to expand their education.
I jumped right in to researching schooling methods and curriculum. I was immediately overwhelmed. I had no idea what my approach would be. Then, almost instantaneously, it became crystal clear. Robert Frost said, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener”. That is what I will do. I will be an awakener.
I want to hold on to some aspects of traditional schooling. We have a pretty sound routine and a flexible schedule. My children like to know what to expect. They get it honest. We study much more than Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. We’ve incorporated Grammar/Usage, Computer Science, Art/Art History, Music, Earth Science, U.S. Geography, Foreign Language, Cultural Studies, Tae Kwon Do, and Engineering. In the coming years, Cultural Studies will grow to Sociology and all religions.
I would say our philosophy is a hybrid of Traditional, Waldorf, and Montessori. Many of our lessons are project based or are “hands-on” activities. We take several field trips a month to museums, art centers, and the seashore. We’ve recently started Geocaching to learn navigation while we continue to study Geography.
Most people seem to think that home schooled children are closed off from the world around them. I’ve come to see that it’s very much the opposite. We strive to ensure that our children are exposed to as much of the world as possible. Before I had ever heard the term “world schooling”, we had become world schoolers. We’ve opened our children’s eyes to the many various cultures of the world and invited them to take part. Though we’d love to travel the world we aren’t at the place to do so at this time. Instead, we’ve brought world schooling home.
World schooling can be defined in so many ways. To me, it means to reach out into the world around you on an educational level. World schooling means meeting people and connecting on a human level. To realize that we are all different and that is okay. To exchange customs and ideas without bias or prejudice. To magnify our similarities while exploring our differences.
We are currently living in Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America. The U.S. is a melting pot of various cultures. In Corpus Christi the educational resources are in abundance. The closeness of Corpus Christi to Mexico has resulted in a primarily Hispanic cultural atmosphere. This has allowed us to enjoy the cuisine and traditions on a regular basis. My favorite thus far has been “Dia de los Muertos”, Day of the Dead. On November 1st every year, hundreds of people gather down town and build shrines to their lost loved ones. It is a beautifully, moving spectacle of flowers, candles, and photos of the departed. The living paint their faces to look like skeletons.
In addition to Dia de los Muertos, we attend several other cultural events within our city. A few weeks later is the Greek Festival in mid-November. This February, the Islamic Society hosted an International Festival. In March, the people of Corpus Christi celebrated like the Irish for St. Patrick’s Day. The Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures hosted a Lantern Festival. In the same week, the Festival of India welcomed us to explore an Indian feast, traditional music and dance, yoga and henna tattoos.
A little over one year ago I started an educational play group that I named Play and Learn of Corpus Christi. I created the group to connect families of different backgrounds and lifestyles. This month our group will be hosting it’s first annual Cultural Festival on World Heritage Day, April 18th. The purpose of the festival is to highlight our differences and invite our friends to explore something new. Each family participating will represent a country of which they have genealogical ties. Each family will create decorations and a customary dish to share. My family will be representing France.
At home we world school by preparing ethnic food, watching anime, reading manga, creating cultural art, watching documentaries, and studying languages. This August we will be traveling to nearby San Antonio for San Japan. San Japan is a Japanese anime convention that strives to bring people from all backgrounds together in appreciation of Asian culture. Our boys are rightfully excited.
I deeply believe that as humans we are never finished learning. This world has so much to teach us. One of the most important things I want my children to learn is that we are all connected. I want them to practice tolerance and acceptance. I want them to understand that we are all family. To lose sight of that could be a dangerous thing. To remember it could be amazing.
This post and images were brought to you by Jamie Roberts
Jamie Roberts is a home educator and mom of 3 boys, currently world schooling from her home in south Texas, United States. Jamie is the Founder and President of Play and Learn of Corpus Christi and blogs at SchoolofWonder.blogspot.com.