Hello friends, It has been a while since I updated this space hasn’t it? I feel like as God has brought me through this last season my heart has been doing the “behind the scenes” work of writing that is being still and pondering. There are sure to be some lessons I share from this season at some point but for today, I wanted to share on a new adventure we have partaken in our family this year. I hope even if you are not a homeschooling family you will be blessed by the reading of this. I am not one who believes homeschool is the end all be all or even that every family has been called to homeschool. It is not my intention to judge what the Lord would call you to do with your family, that is between you and God. This is simply our experience.
With my educational background being in public school, I hadn’t really grasped the idea of homeschool until meeting one of my dear mentors, Mrs. Joseph Wood, and saw how she educated her family at home. It was a beautiful thing to experience and I knew I wanted to go on to one day home educate my own children. I firmly believe as Psalm 127:3 says, children are our heritage, they are not a nuisance or burden as the world at large would like for us to believe. It is my desire that we spend our lives raising and loving these boys (and whatever other children the Lord should bless us with) in the way they should go, that we might cultivate strong family ties and live into the blessing of relationship with each other. I highly value being able to homeschool and devoting my life to raising my children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Again, this is a calling the Lord has placed on my life it’s okay if yours looks different.
We started our first official year, September 7th. I had done some play school things with Matthew in the past, but it wasn’t until this year we got “serious” (or as serious as one needs to be in Kindergarten) and have been working from some actual curriculum. It has been going really well. We have learned that we love reading books, most especially when we can make those books come alive. For instance we read a book about Johnny Appleseed this week and made applesauce. I am very much someone who enjoys teaching creatively, as its a strong belief of mine that learning needs to come alive for children. When I student taught, I did away with 90% of the worksheets provided in the curriculum and added levity and exploration into my lessons. My goal is to raise lifetime learners, and to be learning right along side of them. This often means we are spending our days reading books, hunting for bugs in the yard, baking, finding ways to bless and welcome others into our home, doing crafts, taking nature walks, watching documentaries, listening to music…really anything that will capture our attention and leave us with a thirst for wanting to know more. Of course, the very foundation of our learning is found in the Word of God and we spend time daily reading from The Bible, praying and listening/singing to worship music.
Subject wise Matthew and I are doing Bible, reading, mathematics, science and social studies. Reading takes up a majority of our day because my boy, much like his momma, has found an undeniable love for the world of books and story. What is hard for him is slowing down to learn the rules of reading. At just barely six, he is reading at a second grade level and doesn’t understand why we have to learn why an E has a long sound in this word, but short in another. He is getting better at slowing down to sound out words he doesn’t know rather than trying to make up a word he thinks it might be or skip it all together. We are using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons (though he knows how to read, it has helped him to slow down and sound those words out he doesn’t yet know) and the Abeka handbook for reading. We went to the (Laurel – for those local) library earlier this month and decided at this point it is something we will do monthly. He and I also have an affinity for driving around town finding books in book boxes (little free libraries). There is no shortage of books in our home.
For Math we are doing Math u See (recommended by my sister in law who is a teacher and was homeschooled all of the way up). I don’t remember where I heard this but, someone once told me that the subject we struggled with most in school, becomes our favorite to teach. I can say this about elementary math (grammar not so much ;)). I love finding ways to make the elementary concepts of Math come alive. Start adding letters and I am out but for now, shapes, numbers, colors, money and time are fun to teach!
For science I have allowed him to lead in following his interests. This month it looks like reading about the Arctic lands from a book we found at the library. He is at the age where he is constantly asking questions and figuring out the world around him which is science at its essence. I am often blown away with what his little mind is trying to wrap around. We took a ‘field trip’ to the Shiloh Conservation area which has waking trails replete with birds and trees and he was “assigned” to take his nature journal and colored pencils along and sketch 4 pictures of what he had observed. We also have the blessing of his daddy being an engineer and having a more scientifically thinking mind than his completely right brained momma. I love how the Lord has used the uniqueness of Lance and I to balance each other and our kiddos out!
Finally, for social studies we are doing unit studies which may actually be my favorite way to teach! This summer I chose 8 countries, most of which make up our heritage, to study one per month. In September we have looked at Canada (his bonus grandma is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States) , which paired well with our learning about the Arctic! We found Canada on the globe, made maple syrup candy, found some Canadian music on Spotify and watched a documentary on the country. This month we enjoyed the blessing of “Grandma” Becky come over and teaching him a bit about Canada, making a Canadian flag with red and white beans and even completing her lesson with Canadian candy! I have warned him we won’t have the privilege of learning from someone so knowledgeable about the countries we study every time; but if you do know someone from England send them my way…that will be the country we study in October!
That more or less wraps up everything we are working on in school! It has been a lot of fun to start this first official year. This Thursday we are going on a field trip to the pumpkin patch with the local homeschool group. We are looking forward to that! I am thankful that we have such a large support system around us where we live. He has also started Trail Life and MOPS which we love! This last Sunday at trail life he learned knife skills and made a pocket knife out of cardboard. I am thankful for all of the people who are walking along side of us on this journey!
“Most people think you have to give up so much to homeschool…in reality you gain so much more!” – Anonymous