This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2. 

I like to hear about other homeschoolers. If you talk to my father, I am a complete failure.  If you just look at test scores, and talk to my kids I am doing just fine.  I have been homeschooling for 8 years.  I am an ENTP and have five kids.  My fourth has Autism/ADHD, and I think my third does as well (for ADD).

Honestly my life is hell, and I really don’t like homeschooling at the moment, but I feel public school is a long waste of 12 years.  Also, none of my kids wants to go to school.

Every time I get annoyed and find a reason to stop homeschooling, the kids step up so they can stay home.  They want to stay home because, “We don’t have enough time to go to school.  How would we get everything else done?”  My children highly value playing.

I have done it all in terms of different types of homeschooling, and it all comes down to how bored I get.  I tried a curriculum.  I got bored with worksheets.  I tried Montessori – Loved that but way to much prep work.

Now things look like this:

Math.We completely stopped doing school but the boys fell behind in math. I tried unschooling.  It seemed logical to do math that way.  They fell two grades behind.  So I require math.  We use teaching text books because it explains everything to them and lets them move quickly if they want.

English.  I just required it this year.  They (the two older kids) tested at 10th grade level.  They are learning English to learn the rules.  I have them doing Bob Jones (which they hate), because it is the hardest English program and I have met several kids who have done very well from using it.

Reports. This is how I teach history or whatever.  I think being able to answer questions, know how to filter information, and restate it is important.  I will tell them to do what ever subject they want, and however long they want to make it.  Then, I work with them on organizing and writing topical paragraphs.

Science. We do whatever I get excited about.  I love science. It is not hard for me to whisk them away for the day to do a science thing.

Social skills.  This is the last topic I feel is very important.  I suck at social skills, my oldest is an ISTP, so we suck together.  My husband is an ESFP.  He has taught me a lot about social skills and I have read a ton of books.  As you know, you can make it far in life by simply being like-able.  The way I see it, if I screw up this homeschooling thing, at least they will know how to manipulate communicate with people.

Electronics. I use to have a zero electronic policy.  Until I read this blog.  My boys thank you for Minecraft.  As young kids they fought horribly with too much TV and were bored all the time.  My oldest has free access whenever, and the other children are monitored but they do loads more than we use to.

Sleep. I think sleep is important. I do believe in letting wake up whenever. But I am not running a frat house.  The two year old goes to bed 7 pm.  The five year old 8pm, the nine and 11 year old can read in bed by 9 pm. The 13 year old by 10.  He doesn’t bother me, so I don’t care what time he goes to bed.  If I catch any flack I threaten them to go to bed at 7.

Reading. This is the number one thing I push onto my kids.  I don’t have set books they have to read – if they don’t like I book, I hunt until I find one they do like.  I figured if they loved reading then they would naturally learn.  My two oldest are at a 12th grade reading level.

 My nine year old does not read.  He can barely tell time and read numbers.  We are going through a large amount of testing to figure out what the learning disability is.  Mainly, so I will know how to teach him how to read.

Through all the testing everyone remarks how large his vocabulary and comprehension is.  This would be due to all the books on tape.  If he won’t read, he will listen.  I also find books for them to read by using Google to find “Living books for age __”.  Many great lists come up that way.  It is the Charlotte Mason method.

But not really the Charlotte Mason method because it required too much prep work. After all, my goal in life is to have success with the smallest amount of work possible.