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Relaxed homeschooling was first made popular by Mary Hood, noted author and homeschool Mom. I was able to see her in person quite a few years ago when she was in Ohio on two different occasions. This approach can really help moms and dads homeschool for the long term. You take it one year at a time and work on your goals, not someone else's goals that they think you need to meet in a year.
Some people think that this relaxed mindset is the same method as unschooling. Mary Hood would probably tend to differ with you on that one. She believes that relaxed homeschooling involves setting goals and helping your children achieve those goals during the course of the year.
This mindset of homeschooling promotes a lifestyle of learning like the Charlotte Mason approach and encourages a love for learning. Someone that has this mindset may use homeschool textbooks or they may not. The use of interesting materials is certainly encouraged.
Mary Hood's newest book The Enthusiastic Homeschooler is one of her best. She has also written the Joyful Homeschooler, Onto the Yellow Schoolbus and Through the Gates of Hell along with others.
Dr. Mary Hood says that relaxed homeschooling is not a method or philosophy. She also says that it isn't a curriculum or the absence of curriculum either. She says that this type of homeschooling is more of a mindset that you are a family and not a school. God didn't create schools. He created families.
Sometimes you will choose to use a textbook or a curriculum. This mindset can free you in many aspects of life. If you are not a school, then you don't have to worry about lesson plans, teacher manuals, and grading. It helps avoid homeschool burnout in my opinion. Many people who follow a strict curriculum or school plan often burn out because they are trying to follow someone else's plan for their family instead of their own.
She encourages parents to set up a lifestyle of learning approach in their homes. Pay attention to learning styles, the strengths and weaknesses of each individual child, goal setting and evaluating occasionally. Do you just float through life? No, you have a definite direction you want to go but you are heading that direction as a family and not a school.
If you want more details on how to implement this mindset of homeschooling in your home, I encourage you to get Mary's latest book The Enthusiastic Homeschooler. It will give you lots of ideas and insights into how to make this mindset work in your home. We use this in our home and have been blessed by all of Mary's books and recordings.
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