I started homeschooling almost 5 years ago. I had just gone for a working, professional out “how to home educate their own children”. For those who are on the fence, worrying about this and that, please do come and read. I pray this can hep you to see that anyone and everyone can be a homeschool family. But you’ve gotta have faith.
So where do I begin? I was a product of the school system but in many ways I consider myself one who was home educated. My mother was so very active in my life; there were many experiences and opportunities that I would never have had were it not for her involvement in my life. She taught me not just to explore but to live and love those experiences. And I want that for my children. I want them to know how to learn and how to love the experience that comes with truly learning.
Of course it wasn’t that pretty when we started. In fact it was so nice and neat and orderly, I think I could have taught those public schools a couple things. Did I mention in all of my “its gotta be perfect” my son and I both hated our days. We fought, we struggled, I forced worksheets and textbooks and days of schedules that had to be kept. No excuses. It was not fun. In fact he disliked learning at home so much he wanted to go to school! Major meltdown on my part and his. 🙁
We then came across My Father’s World. I LOVE this program. To this day. It’s Bible based; its organized and nice and neat. It is all hands-on, unit studies with daily lesson plans that are so very easy-to-teach. There is also a strong focus on Charlotte Mason’s ideas and a classical education model, with a Biblical worldview, and an international focus. Wow. It’s a dream come true. It was the easiest year of my life. (We are using this again with our littler ones when the time comes). We burned through it fast though with my oldest son and so our great awesome year was over and I was flailing…he needed more.
And so we moved on to the next level of My Father’s World. But this time my oldest was different. He was restless. It was hard to engage him and he just did not want to work. I figured we would take a break and I would explore some more. Maybe “school” as we did it just wasn’t what he needed right now. And so we took some time off, but I kept all his “school” books out. I gave him time to play. We reorganized the house with lots of legos, science kits, history books and games – tons of games – K’nex. I determined that he would have an environment that encouraged learning. We did “school” a few times a week, a little here and a little there. But we spent lots of time outside. We got him a library card. A chess board. Some juggling balls and a balloon animal making class. Guitars, and harmonicas, a keyboard, song books drawing pads, and pencils, paints and chalks. Our home overflows with fun opportunities to learn. Oh and we read our Bible and pray. Every day. All the time.
It doesn’t look like we are doing school most days but we are. I have to say, I spent the first year, maybe a bit more even, trying to do things the way I wanted them to be. Using materials I liked; learning things I thought were neat and having my son along for the ride. It was not until I let go, and really trusted God to lead me, that it all started coming together. Now please do not think that this means our days are all full of joy and laughter, and easy peasy. Far from it sometimes. We still struggle now and then. Are we not all sinners saved by grace? We have our good days and our bad days but I would not trade any for the world. I love my oldest coming and hugging my neck, kissing me on the cheek “just because”. I love having them all with me while we listen to an audio book outside. Or watching them act out a story we read on the gold rush or the birth of America.
My kids are in our church’s Bible Quiz program. Its exciting and fun. And lots of work. I think they have the right idea though. Last year all they learned were Psalms. I love that book of the Bible; all of it is good word but does that one just really minister to you. I know it does me. Anyway, we got these shirts when we were at the Nationals tournament in Missouri and mom, to a stay at home mom. I was lost and needed more. I knew there was a calling on my life to be home but I still did not really feel it. It was the same with home education. I knew it was the right way but it wasn’t a part of me. Not yet.
Some time ago I wrote about why I chose home education for my family. You can read that here, if you like. Right now, I have had some folks seek me out to find they said: “Learn it Quiz it Live it”. Its just about quizzing.
My goal in our homeschool is for us to learn it, quiz it (to me that means we need to show we understand and can express the value or importance of something) and then we need to live it. We need to get our hands dirty. We need to be in the mud; making stuff happen. We need to walk in faith because that is when it happens. What faith can do.
I will write more soon. If you come back, we will talk more about what classical education is to me, and the Charlotte Mason method too. I will also share more on our quasi-unschooling program. We have tried and continue to try, different styles of learning as we progress. Because things change, our kids change. So we sometimes need to, too. And goodness does my oldest son give me a run for my money. Always something new with him. He keeps me on my toes.
Home education is not always the same. In fact, much like the Christian walk, it should always be changing. As we learn and grow, we go deeper, we see things in a different way. We reach out, to share and minister to others. We care and so we share. It is not something we can do all alone; like the Christian walk, we really do need to have friends who are walking with us. Keeping Jesus at the center of it all.
Jennifer is a homeschool mom of three, you can read about her journey – what homeschooling means to her and the how’s and why’s of what they do at A “Peace” of Mind.