Today I was lead to an article about the success of homeschooling. It came from Concordia University and another institution that I cannot recall at this time. The point that it made was that a homeschooler who was taught in a structured program scored better than their peers in the brick and mortar schools. That is not a shock but it was a huge relieve to me to read this study and see also a comparison to the unschooling approach to education.
We are very flexible and toss in lots of interesting extras that the girls want to learn but we are also traditional. I tend to justify this to other home school parents when I meet them. The fact that we have a lesson room and a very specific curriculum that we follow nearly to the letter making adjustments as appropriate for each child. I make sure to tell them that I have a chronic illness and that our family knows all too well how life can suddenly make a change. that we want the girls to be able to more easily step into a regular classroom in circumstances require it. I do not tell them that this is our preferred way of teaching and seems to be ther preferred way to the girls as well. If we get too off the strucutre they seem to seek it. I always feel judged by teaching in an old fashion manner.
The study further identified the unschooled approach scores and they were lower than the public school students in all seven areas of testing. On the other hand the strucutred homeschool student was 2.2yrs ahead in reading/language skills and scored 0.5yr higher in math. Of course, this is an average and we will all know that exceptional student that the statistics will not accurately apply to. Still, I find comfort in knowing that I can finally rest easy and not feel compelled to justify my methods to others who are more relaxed than us.
Now, as I type this I must tell you that we did decide to change up our structure a little. It seems that the girls want to do some lapbook and additional studies but we just loose our zest at the end of the day when we finally complete our lessons. On Mondays I am very very tired and my feet hurt so bad from working my two twelve hour shifts that it is hard for me to get down the stairs and stand in the room to teach. So today we did what we are going to coin as "Kitchen Table Monday". It will be the day that we review any of the work that our Lyceum needs to have completed. It will be the day that we learn from special items I get, such as the rainforest books and printouts that I came with today. It will be a day that scissors will be used, glue and colored pencils. Today we used several items from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/ . It has been one of the best $20 I have ever spent. Next week we will make a rainforest in an aquarium during Kitchen Table Monday. They enjoyed coloring the Morpho Butterfly today and making a Rainforest Animal Wheel.
G had some work as did F from Lyceum and it permitted time to do this. As it turned out, G spend a few hours of uninterupted independent work to get her project completed and loved it.