I’ve yet to write my “backstory”. I really wanted to delve right in and make a few daily posts before my enthusiasm for starting a blog began to wane. Now that I have a couple of posts under my belt – and I’m actually enjoying it enough to say I’ll stay committed to keeping this blog – here’s a bit about where we are at this moment.
I’ll spare the details about how smart my kids are and that school just isn’t challenging enough for them. Aren’t you tired of hearing that “proud mama’s” mantra for homsechooling her kids? Well, truthfully, my girls actually are on the bright side (even my 1-year-old Callie, who has Down Syndrome, continues to exceed my expectations!), but “smartness” isn’t why my husband and I have decided to homeschool. Homeschooling has been on our radar for the past 3 years, in fact. I believe that traditional schooling has its place and serves a worthy purpose in the lives of many many families. However, I’m personally no longer interested in feeding my kids an abundance of facts that they can easily regurgitate in order to ace their tests and impress their peers. Yes, good grades usually mean better colleges and perhaps better-paying jobs in the end. Maybe. But God has been pulling at my heartstrings lately, and every day I feel more and more compelled to focus on helping all three of my girls fulfill their God-giving purposes in life. (If it happens to come with a great salary, even better!) But it’s difficult to learn your purpose, or even to learn yourself completely, in the traditional educational setting.
For my girls, I wish for purposeful learning – where they’re learning about God’s creation by becoming one with it – observing and interacting with their natural environment, where they’re reading and discussing age-appropriate books that come alive, encouraging them to be creative and imaginative, where they’re using their hands to build new things, where they’re cultivating good habits of character, impeccable manners, and proper etiquette. They’ll look forward to learning history, because we’ll make clay models, create jewelry, make paintings, dress in period costumes, role play, read fascinating books, pull out wall-sized maps, visit museums, interview real people, and more. For science, we’ll take nature walks, grow our own plants, raise insects, classify and dissect animals, observe the clouds and predict the weather, become rock detectives, and more. For reading, writing, and grammar we’ll write our own stories and poems, illustrate and publish our own books, write out instructions for doing things, send out invitations, write letters to friends and family, read books to patients at the Children’s Hospital, participate in homeschool spelling bees, and more. We’ll do social studies projects, daily Bible devotions, learn to bake our own bread (just for fun!), start our own mini businesses, and take many field trips. And will we use traditional textbooks? Yes! But just not all the time!
I could go on and on, but this post is getting longer than I’d anticipated. Here’s where we are right now. My 6-year-old, Olivia, currently attends first grade at a private school 3 days a week, and I homeschool the other 2 days. As of a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I have decided we will be homeschooling full time after the current school year (just a month and a half left). Farrah, my 3-year-old, and Callie, age 1, is currently home will me full time. People don’t really consider it “homeschooling” when you’re working with preschoolers, but I actually do already have formal lesson time with Farrah (short lessons, but lessons nonetheless), and she enjoys it. But of course, we spend a lot of leisure time learning about things – simply from books and ordinary discussions that we have with each other.
So right now, I’m preparing to start my homeschool program in full force in June. This doesn’t mean they don’t get a summer break. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I know I want more of a year-round system where we take more frequent breaks throughout the regular school year (so we can do Disney World and other things when everyone else is at school). I’ve been reading a lot, visiting the library, checking out book reviews on Amazon.com, and basically pulling together an ecletic curriculum (based primarly on Charlotte Mason’s style), and I will hopefully have everything together soon!