There’s been an AWESOME video going around social media from a TED talk on an 11-year old boy, sharing about his life experiences, namely around his schooling. He shares impressive insight for a young man his age. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” he’s often asked. “I want to BE happy,” he answers. And so he’s intentionally structuring his life and current pursuits around things that have been proven to lead to happiness:
- diet and nutrition
- religion and spirituality
- contribution and service
- time in nature
He is homeschooled. But it’s not just “school at home.” He is filling his time with things that have meaning now as well as in the future. He calls it hack-schooling. I love it!
It’s what I’ve always wanted for our kids. Homeschooling allows us the freedom to fill our days with ANYTHING. We have the gift of time. For any who know me, you know I HATE to waste time. I think I got that from my mother. She’d even rally us to get up and do something during commercials on TV and made sure that we were at least completing one other thing while watching TV.
So, as a homeschool teacher, I’ve always wanted to make sure my kids were using their time wisely. I detest busy work and mindless repetition or superficial regurgitation. I’ve chosen a Charlotte Mason curriculum because I believe it focuses on content and methods that are rich, meaningful, and life-lasting. So, we spend a lot of time reading great literature, searching for and discussing memorable, wise or witty quotes, and retelling everything we read (because if we don’t, we just don’t remember it as well). We make math as fun as it can be, covering basics as slowly or as quickly as needed, adding in great books like Life of Fred or online games like Dreambox.com or Kahn Academy.
But really, as a parent, I love watching to see what really makes each child light up. What could they do for hours, whether it comes easy or it’s something that they don’t mind really persevering through. What makes them happy, like Logan LaPlante says.
Today, it’s easier than ever to take classes “a la carte” in a specific field of interest. My oldest son totally loved a class on Engineering last year, just once a week, but awesome opportunity to connect with likeminded kids. Another son has a natural artistic ability and signed up for a Classical Art Class for a year. Music lessons and practice are just easier to manage when homeschooled because of the time we have.
It’s also easy to connect with people in the community because we can get out during the daytime and interact with people of all ages and backgrounds. I’d love for my kids to find an internship opportunity in a field of interest one day. For now, they get to see mom and dad work with clients online, which is pretty cool.
They’re set up themselves online with their own domains and platforms where they can experiment with engaging the world, posting ideas and experiences that others might find valuable. And so I look forward to seeing where that leads them. Hopefully they can find a niche audience or even create a product or service that they can sell down the line.
The tricky part, though, as a homeschool parent is to know how much to offer our kids the opportunities to try something new or push them to pursue something meaningful/productive – and how much to just get out of the way and be patient and see what they come up with on their own. The most effective things obviously are those things they “own” themselves. My son decided on his own to blog about the books he was reading – not because I assigned it! My kids will draw for an hour on their own if so inspired, but not because I suggest it!
But at the same time, as a family, we should lead, and we can offer those natural components of life that make it rich and meaningful. We can value those things now, so they can too, and so ideally they will value them later as well.
We can show them how diet, exercise, authentic relationships, faith, time in nature, fun, and volunteering are lived out day-to-day in a loving community – working, learning, eating, cleaning, laughing, and growing.
It’s hack-schooling. 🙂 It’s life. 🙂