A few people have asked me to share a peek into a typical homeschool day with three wild boys. Rather than have a single 10-page post, I’ve decided to break it up into several posts.
I thought I’d start off with a little bit of my thoughts on homeschooling which have completely evolved from when I first started and which continue to change the more I learn.
I originally started out doing regular preschool activities with my oldest son. However, when he started reading at age three I felt I owed it to him to help him learn more. He quickly improved his reading and just a few months later had all thirteen articles of faith memorized, could locate almost all of the 50 states, knew all the planets, many facts about dinosaurs and lots of other things.
There are many stereotypes about homeschoolers and I admit I did tend to pre-judge or label homeschooling families prior to becoming one myself. I have seen it done the wrong way where parents do a disservice to their children by failing to prepare them for college and a future career, however I have also seen it done the right way with incredible and amazing results. My goal of course, is to get those incredible and amazing results. So I’ve been something of a homeschool scholar over the past few years, researching different methods, trying different ideas and learning all I can about the best ways to prepare my boys for college. Mind you, they’re only 1, 3 and 4, but I like to plan ahead!
Just to make my position clear, I have nothing against public schools! Do I think the system is perfect? No. Do I think they work well for most people? Yes! If I could choose my perfect public school would I send my kids there? Probably… BUT we are in the military and have very little control over where we live and what kind of schools we can choose from. Not only that, but my oldest is not quite five and is reading at a 4th grade (or higher) level, doing second grade math. He is not eligible for public school until he is 6 because his birthday is mid-October and if I sent him to kindergarten in another year he would not only be bored out of his mind but would be a major troublemaker. So this was the logic I originally used when deciding to homeschool, but have since learned that there really is a spiritual aspect to homeschooling and without receiving that confirmation that this is best for my family, I would have called it quits a hundred times.
Anyway, decision made (at least for this period in time) I had to figure out how to go about schooling. At first I tried to make up my own curriculum but this took WAY too much time and planning. Next I got the “What Your ____ Grader needs to Know” books by E.D. Hirsch. They are awesome at providing an overview and even short lessons, but I still felt like I was missing something. I looked at several curriculum packaged sets but couldn’t find one that offered everything I was looking for and some didn’t provide the same views I have about science (I believe in evolution, meaning things evolve over time, and that the earth is much older than 6,000 years)…
I finally came across Charlotte Mason (Ambleside Online
) and The Well Trained Mind
. These are the two resources that provided the best foundation for me. The Well Trained Mind has so many resources that I refer to it as my homeschool “bible”. I can choose the individual curiccula I want for each subject and then supplement with great literature using some of the CM recommendations.
Because my children are so young, my primary focus right now is literature and art. We read a lot. I want my boys to be familiar with the words and language used in these books so that they will always have a love and appreciation for good literature and fine arts.
I love the freedom that homeschooling provides, to help my children learn through their own experiences and not solely through books. Right now our focus is on developing a love for nature. To be able to take them places where they can learn from firsthand experiences is priceless. I look forward them studying the ancient Romans where we go on a family field trip to Rome, or study about American history by taking them on a cross-country tour to visit each site.
My primary goals in schooling my children are of course to prepare them for college and a future career (my oldest son already talks about studying computers and my three year old says he’s going to be an engineer) but also to provide them with opportunities to experience a wide variety of things in life from intellectual pursuits to high adventure activities to international aid missions, and teach them to give back by helping others.
So…those are my thoughts about homeschooling…Next post will be about our daily schedule…
BTW…if you’re hungry after being a trooper and reading this way-too-long post, check out this fabulous cinnamon roll recipe! It will be well worth your time…