Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Homeschooling

Well, It has been a while since I have blogged...been busy, busy, awfully busy...

anyway, I was thinking about the last post and how I started scrappin'...I thought I would tell about my homeschool journey as well...

About the time I had Joshua, I heard about this crazy thing called homeschooling...I have a very good friend who walked down the parenting path before me and gave me all sorts of info that meant that I KNEW THE RIGHT WAY TO PARENT...amazing how quickly that all falls apart when the rubber hits the road...anyway, I had never heard about it before, so I thought I would find out about it and ask my husband what he thought...

Our reasons for going down this path back then were so basic at the time...to teach from our worldview...to be the main influence in their lives, rather than peers....etc

So when Joshua was 18 months old, we went to our first conference and saw what homeschooling looked like....little did we know then that that was ONE view of what homeschooling looked like...and there are as many views as there are homeschoolers...

Well, I have the PERFECT OLDEST child and HE DID the PERFECT OLDEST child kind of stuff...reading basic words at three...boxcar children and such at five...so I thought, as all rational people think...that this was going to be a snap...boy was I greatly deceived....

So, after either 8 or 14 years of homeschooling (two different views....one... actual years of teaching...two...well you've really been teaching since they were born...take your pick and run with it) I have learned a few things...

1) Curriculum may come all in a package and be delievered to your door in this one box...but it rarely goes off like that....one child will thrive on it...another will be stunted by it...a third will tolerate it, but not really reach their potential in it...and on down the line through how many different children you have...Ask questions of people who have homeschooled for a while and listen when the same item comes up over and over again...I know that I have two different kinds of curriculum for most subjects to address this problem.

2) The best history program I have found is Diana Waring's...she does a few things that I LOVE... she teaches from a Biblical view...teaches in a chronological order and gives SUGGESTIONS for projects in many different areas to fit all different kinds of learning styles and modalities, and other things people smarter than me figure out to show us how fearfully and wonderfully our Creator made us! So my Busy bodies and book worms are all relatively happy with this program (It is still school you know!)

3) Reading in all forms is one of the most valuable things you can do, teach, model in your home...I have heard this SO many times...read to your children, read with them, model reading for them...I know this is running rampant in our home...I always have a stack I am reading....My #3 child CONSTANTLY has a book in his hands...can be irritating at times, but a blessing nonetheless...If you model a LOVE for reading, a child can learn anything they set their mind to...I used to freak out about not getting it all done before Graduation...let me tell you this...and this has been one key to peace for me...You will not get it all in...they will keep learning their WHOLE LIFE...this is SO TRUE FOR ME...I know it will be true for them. I do not guide their pleasure reading other than it cannot be trash...things that contradict Scripture...I do guide other reading though and that, besides teaching them things for other subjects, gets them interested in other types of books that might not have otherwise appealed to them. When you are beginning to read in our house...you get a library card or your own...pretty soon, we will need a trailer for getting our library books to and from the library.

4) Surround yourself with a support system- This is vital for many reasons...having like minded friends, to get advice from or help on how to do this or what curriculum should I use for that or you'll never believe what so and so did today...and on those possibilities go...also, there will be those in your acquaitance that will think you have completely lost your mind...DO you POSSIBLY think you can teach YOUR children better than the PROFESSIONALS??? That support system will give you encouragement along the way...and you may have lost your mind, but gained something much better in its place. A varied range of homeschoolers is great to have too....I have been on the two year planning path for high school as my oldest begins this fall...I have a couple of friends who have walked this path before me and have helped me as I walk through this...I am not alone.

5) GO TO A CONFERENCE YEARLY if at all possible...this has been like a shot of vitamins when I am down for the count...I have found that the day to day teaching of school is not the easiest thing...setting aside the little darlings that are BEGGING you for more school (Please note the sarcasm here...you may not know me or my family, so I thought I would point that out, just in case it was missed...my children are normal and would rather play outside than do school), you also have a house to clean, laundry, dishes, meals, little ones who are destroying the house while you are relating the great mysteries of the world and on it goes...a conference gets you energized and excited and ready to do this again for another year and tells you I can do this...I have found that they are WELL WORTH the money spent...

6) Surpise your children along the way...donuts for breakfast or pajama day or park day...etc...it breaks up the monotony and will give them the boost to make it until the next surprise

7)Learn about your children and don't make them fit the molds of someone else...one of my children has a HARD time sitting still...a hard time being inside...a hard time fitting the school mold...I do not expect the same things I do out of my others who can sit still and do their work quietly and such...I give #2 smaller bits and then a break...and such as that...try to give him hands on projects and movement when the choice allows...makes life a little easier...I mean does it really matter if they jumprope to learn math facts? I am looking into ways for him to learn skills to do with his hands...word working, auto repair...yard work...things like that...I think he will do very well with something he can do with his hands...he seems to have a skill here that I want to develop...

8) Do not freak if your child is 8, 9, 10 etc and does not read well...children will read at their own pace...and they all seem to get there (If you believe there is a learning disability or challenge, by all means look into that, but if everything seems normal except the reading is what I mean)and when they do, you cannot tell the late bloomers from the early birds....forcing something that is difficult though can do damage...I have heard of many homeschoolers that had children who didn't really read until 12 or so...I have had early readers as well as reluctant readers...my reluctant one still would rather be outside and active than reading a book...so we will see what comes of that....he can read though and does some reading.



My homeschool journey has meandered along the way as we have progressed on this path...what began all those years ago at point "A"...has broadened to include more...being able to adapt for different learning styles and personalities...giving room for delight directed study, building and developing familial relationships...guiding them along the path to adulthood...While this sounds good in writing, we have ugly days...we've been in the trenches and I am sure we will be there again...we just really believe in the God given right to direct our children's education...its not easy, but SO worth it...and just to dispel the two greatest myths of homeschooling:
1) My children are not social freaks...we don't lock them up in the house never to be seen again...the get plenty of socialization

2) I have not been endowed with a superabundance of patience...I get mine the same way everyone else does...by being tested to practice patience...I have successes and I have failures...



Blessings and encouragement along the way!
C~

3 comments:

max said...

Hi,

I grew up as a reluctant reader. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys 8 and up, that kids hate to put down. My web site is at http://www.maxbooks.9k.com and my Books for Boys blog is at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com
Ranked by Accelerated Reader

Max Elliot Anderson

Read about my message to kids in a bottle: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/5/prweb983364.htm

Rachel said...

Great post!!

Shoup Score= 3girls, 2boys said...

WOW Carrie I really enjoyed this post!! As we too are homeschoolers I was enthralled by your personal experiences and must admit that much of your expressions and thoughts ring true with us as well. Thanks for the rekindling thoughts on this matter!

See you @ Serendipity!!