Where to start? I am a homeschooling mom to two sweet, lovable boys, Jason (9 years old) and Kyle (6 years old – he is the one in the picture, but was only 3 then). We have been homeschooling in the Old Dominion (otherwise known as Virginia) for 4 years, starting when Jason would have been in kindergarten. I have been married to a wonderful guy, Jeff, for the past 14 years. In my previous life before kids, I was an IT consultant but I have been home with my kids and loving it for around 7 years now. We are die hard Virginia Tech Hokie fans (Jeff and I met while in the Marching Virginians there, way back when).
I am not what many people would consider a “typical” homeschooler. I actually enjoy the surprised looks I get when people find out. I am a Unitarian Universalist and support progressive causes (yes, liberals can and do homeschool!). I have recently become very involved in VaHomeschoolers, my inclusive, statewide homeschooling organization and am finding that I have a passion for helping new homeschoolers get started. This work is extremely rewarding as I get to work with an amazing bunch of women and it allows me to exercise my “adult side”.
I am addicted to homeschool email lists and am a moderator for the Virginia Eclectic Homeschool list, a large statewide support list, as well as several local lists. And I have just recently discovered blogging which could be very dangerous for me, as I seem to never know quite when to shut up. In addition to Throwing Marshmallows (my personal blog), I am also a featured author on the Life Without School group blog. This blog is made up of a great group of homeschooling moms who enjoy talking about our and our kids’ lives without school. Definitely check it out.
I am not exactly sure of our homeschooling style…we do what seems to work for us at the time. And that is constantly changing as I learn more about the boys and myself. I guess you could call us very relaxed eclectic with strong unschooling leanings. For me it is a constant striving for that elusive thing called balance. A good friend of mine put it perfectly when she said: “I always err on the side of freedom for my children and self-empowerment. I also feel the need to help them have a happy childhood…sometimes, and for us, that has meant compassionate boundaries.” Trying to figure out where to draw that line is the challenge for me and differs depending on the child.
I have found that I am utterly fascinated by how kids (and adults!) learn. And the fact that everyone learns so differently. There really is no “one size fits all” when it comes to education. What works for one, may or may not work for another. My oldest, Jason, is a right-brained learner, very visual, very non-traditional and very smart. Normal “teaching methods” do not work with him and he has led me to stretch what I had previously thought about teaching vs learning. My youngest, Kyle, I am still trying to figure out. But he is definitely more traditional. He loves his workbooks, especially math. He is very tenacious…if he wants to learn something or figure it out, he sticks with it until he does.
This has gotten long enough, so I will end with my favorite quote (and where I got the idea for the title of this blog) which came from an unschooling message board:
“Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he’s not interested it’s like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.” –Anonymous
I absolutely love the imagery as well as the message.
My favorite guys