Friday, November 9, 2012

I don’t have a school room. Where do I do my teaching?

I have homeschooled in;

  • a 900 sq ft, 2 bedroom apartment with 2 children; 
  • a motel room for five weeks (waiting for our next housing to be ready for us); 
  • an 1100 sq ft, 3 bedroom condo (3-4 children); 
  • a thirty-two foot long camp trailer for seven months (again waiting for our housing to be ready- 4 children); 
  • and a 1400 sq ft, 3 bedroom mobile home (4-9 children). 
I have never had a school room, and am not sure I would use it for anything but storage if I did. I am too used to using the whole house.

We all begin the school day with a walk. This might be 10 minutes or half an hour, depending on how we feel and the weather (if it is 100 degrees outside or snowing, I probably won't walk at all!) This burns some energy and clears the cobwebs from the brain. 

We gather in the living room to do our Morning Time (Bible, Poetry, Logic, History and Science). 

Then I call each child to me, beginning with the youngest ones, while the older ones do their independent work (sometimes in the living room. Sometimes in other rooms. Depending on their mood). 

After preschool time, the little ones play near by where I can keep an ear on them, and I work with my six year old. Often one of the little ones will snuggle up and listen in on the older children’s school. 

I then go through each child in age order, (taking a break for lunch) ending just before nap time with my thirteen year old.

(Update: now that I only have one none reader, three adults, three teens, and two older children, I am generally completely done before lunch. They do most of their work early in the morning or in the afternoon, but my time has been drastically reduced)

We all take naps! I need it more than any of them. The older ones read or play quietly. The little ones and I sleep! (Nap time went away as the kids got older. I still might lay down for a few minutes sometimes, but not often) We do Literature in the living room in the evening just before bed time.

I have been known to teach from my bed, the kitchen while cooking lunch, the laundry room while folding clothes, even the backyard on really nice days. I usually pick the sunniest room in the house to do most of my teaching. Right now, that is the living room. At the condo, that was the master bedroom. What ever works at this minute is what I use and I am not adverse to change. After all, I can always change back tomorrow.

I do think the kitchen or dinning room table is the most common place for “school” in most homes with the living room second. Few homeschoolers have the finances to have one room set aside just for school. And, anyway, learning should be a part of natural life. Not some special thing that requires whole investments in furniture and buildings to accomplish.

I did hear of one woman that claimed to “car-school” because she was on the road so much. She simply took her children’s work with them wherever they went. I, too, have been known to do this occasionally (though to make it a habit is too much running around for me!)

I know one woman that homeschooled (one child) in the cab of her husband’s semi-truck while they traveled the USA with dad. 

I know of a homeless woman who had her child do his work at the library every day (He scored 100% on the SAT test!). 

Anywhere that is available is ok. Use your imagination.

Did you know that a small house is often a blessing? Many people with large houses let their children play away from them all day. You know, mom and dad watch TV in the living room while the children watch in the family room or, even worse, upstairs. 

When mom and dad’s rooms are on different floors than the children’s it is not uncommon for the parents to seldom go upstairs to see what is going on, especially as the children get older. 

Sometimes God gives us small houses so we will be forced to be with our children ALL the time (Remember Deuteronomy 6:7? 
Teach God’s words to your children every waking moment?” paraphrase. Also 
"The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." Proverbs 29:15)  

If you are not with your children you may very well miss the beginnings of a problem when it is easy to fix it. 

For example, because my children were underfoot, I heard my son when he first began to make comments about everyone hating him. I was able to talk to him and point out the untruth, and in fact, selfishness, (the others weren’t doing what he wanted them to) in his statement. If the children had been regularly in a different room from me, I may not have heard him until he was much older and in the habit of thinking that way. This could have caused life long problems (“Things go wrong because everyone hates me, not because I ever do anything wrong” syndrome). It was much easier to change the thought pattern of a two week habit in a five year old child than it would have been to change a five year pattern in a ten year old. By their teens, it is nearly impossible.
Children are human and humans have the nature to sin. At what age a child is held accountable by God for their sin is a discussion beyond the scope of this book, but sinful thoughts and actions can easily become habits. 

If we as parents train our children in correct behavior, thoughts and attitudes while they are young it will be much easier for them to avoid “eternal” problems when they are old, (“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”)  

In His infinite wisdom, God has given many of us just the right sized houses to make us notice our children’s spiritual and character needs in time to do something about them.

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