Reading Voraciously in a Land of Books: DoaHF
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “DoaHF” is a pseudonym.
As far as the best parts of my homeschooling: I had a very solid education. My mother had a college degree and she took pride in her work. Once my father convinced her to homeschool she threw herself in whole-heartedly. Even in a foreign country she bought or shipped over textbooks and taught us daily with dedication and passion.
I learned to learn and to love learning.
Her approach to certain subjects was different from traditional education, but she required us to complete everything with excellence and had us correct and re-correct our work until we fully understood issues. She usually helped me with problems on lower grades until she had so many different grades that she couldn’t find the time.
I thrived under her verbal approach to history. Once I learned to read, I began voraciously devour the large stock of tame classics and children’s books that she collected and continued to expand as we got older (she hid some of the other classics like The Good Earth and Dr. Zhivago from me, as well as Rilla of Ingleside, but not Les Miserables or A Tale of Two Cities).
She even included my habit as school credit, giving me special allowance to read more when I wanted to further engross myself in an imaginary book land.
She kept detailed records of our work and made sure that we were competent before moving on. She gave me a break inbetween Saxon pre-algebra and Algebra 1 to do Abeka Consumer Math because I was struggling with the concepts. She made sure I completed my work and made sure I did not just cheat or guess. I remember loving school as a pre-teen. Science was covered by Wyle and while she could not help me much, she spent time with me looking over the answer key and the module in order to find out how they arrived at their answer.
While we never had a positive personal relationship, she encouraged my love for herbs and baking by letting me have seeds and do extensive research into uses and cures and teas. She also encouraged me to bake bread, pizzas, biscuits and desserts for my 8 siblings and friends and guests. She coached me past my stages of not-hair-brushing, wearing dirty and/or stained clothing all the time, bed-wetting, and I think she really understood my struggle to be accepted
My father and I were very similar. He always stood against the tide that shut women up and encouraged us to speak our minds and to think boldly. He did not believe in women preachers, but he taught us theology and koine and told us not to be intimidated by any hot-shot divinity student who thought they knew the Bible. He refused us independence and further education like college, but he modeled hard work and dedication every day for us and he truly wanted us to be intelligent and capable of being progeny he could be proud of.
I learned my fierce independence and tenacity from him, as well as my money habits which have stood me well on my own.
My grandparents insisted on being part of our family’s lives no matter how many thousands of miles away we lived. They made an effort to spend quality time with each of us and I still remember their lessons and examples to this day.
My favorite part of homeschooling in the US was my last three years at home where, even though I had graduated school, I was involved in a homeschooled Square Dance program. A local caller realized the potential and lack of time constraints that we kids as a group had and he organized us in practice for a local talent competition which we entered each year.
The social scene and the physical activity made a huge difference to my mental health, and I made two very close friends whose friendship I cherished and miss.
For Science in grade school my mother put together elaborate unit studies. We spent a whole summer learning about the seas in Oceanography. We then went on to memorize the Animal Kingdom as we studied Horses. Finally, after learning everything we could about Volcanoes, our whole family went on a week-long trip to see, climb, and learn about one volcano in specific, even speaking with someone who lived through a volcanic eruption.
I am, and always have been the gregarious, outgoing, bubbly one in our family. Even though I went through abuse and trauma, I loved being homeschooled. My brain thrived on the literature-based approach that my mother took.
If I could afford to not work and stay at home, I might homeschool my future children if they wanted me to.
Even so, I want to teach my children to read voraciously and to love information more than a method of learning. That is a positive one can gain anywhere.