So, what do you do next? First and foremost, remember that every child is a blessing, uniquely gifted by God. Unit studies help us to help them discover their own gifts and talents, as they learn about the world while we are right there beside them. I’ll never forget the time that the chemistry experiment blew silver nitrate all over my brand new white curtains, and just how our daughter looked when it happened! I will never forget the thrill of the kids when they met some of the astronauts in person, and heard about some of their space adventures. To use unit studies is to begin a trail of discovery for both you AND your children – a powerful journey of discovery.
Give them a chance to follow their interests and you might just be surprised at the outcome. With unit studies, our children have obtained a better understanding of the way things work, the history of the world, their own abilities, and much more. I am always asked about “holes in their education” if unit studies are used. First, I ask the audience if anyone ever remembers completely finishing a textbook when they were a child – not many hands have ever been raised. I share my personal experience that we never finished a textbook when I was a child, and I was so disappointed – the “good” stuff was always toward the end of the book!
The concept of education is not just to fill their heads up with any and all information available – that would take hundreds of years in these days of ever-expanding information. The concept of a good education, in my opinion, is teaching the child to be able to think, to help them build a sound foundation of learning – a strong tree of knowledge where they can place more information over the course of their lives. I will never be able to teach my children about all things, BUT, I will teach them how to think, to investigate, to research and dig for answers. In the years ahead, it is my opinion that this will be a priceless education for those who will be successful in a rapidly changing world.
Unit studies can do just this,and that’s my intention when I write them and use them – getting the child to think and explore, letting curiosity get the best of them. Try to help them develop a love of learning and enjoy the wonder of the world – it’s quite an empowering accomplishment. As powerful as homeschooling can be, it is not a result of all homeschooling families being just alike. Realize that you will never be “just like” other families in your homeschool group or those at your state convention.
I’ve traveled all over the country as a speaker at homeschool conferences, and I’ve met all kinds of people. I am frequently asked by many parents, “Are we like typical homeschool ers?” I have to smile at this point – I don’t think I’ve ever met a “typical” homeschooler. That would be like having a “normal” day of homeschooling, whatever that is. Enjoy the uniqueness of your family and your approach to homeschooling. Some families use textbooks, while others use unit studies. It isn’t as important to follow the crowd anymore, now that the crowd is just you
and your clan – what a blessing this is for all of us.
Our family has done so many things since we started homeschooling – we’ve traveled all over, met some amazing people, and followed our dreams to all kinds of places, and I can honestly say that we’ve never had a boring day – and certainly not a “normal” day, and that is not our goal.
As a former corporate engineer, I am well-aware of the concept of having goals and a mission statement. What is my mission statement these days? To help the children discover their own gifts and talents, whether in botany or veterinary science, athletics or orthodontics, who knows what the future holds! Now, as a homeschooling mom, what is my goal? To work myself out of a job by helping them become self-motivated learners – to have them out there, learning and challenging and thriving within the realm of their own very unique gifts and talents.