My homeschool journey has taken many turns over the seven years I’ve been teaching my kids.
As for style, I never bought into the denim jumper look, opting for something more hip. Yes, at times my hair has stuck up in the air that way. And I already rock the flair jeans, but wouldn't you love a big, leather backpack like that?
I know, I know, I digress . . .
A great resource is “The Way They Learn,” by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. Her book covers many different styles of learning, and she also includes parents in the mix. How WE learn and understand things determines how we tend to teach. If our child has a different learning style or way of communication, we can both be on the wrong page before ever opening a book.
The next challenge for me was to realize I was educating my children at home, not trying to recreate the public school system in my dining room. I had to learn that it is okay if my child sits on the couch or lies in the floor to do their lesson.
One of the fears that I had to overcome was gaps. That was my biggest struggle when I started out. I felt that I would create "holes" in my child’s education, if I didn’t pick the perfect curriculum and stick with it forever. Bah.
Hear this: There is no perfect curriculum. And the public school system does not teach every, single thing your child needs to know. They have gaps, too. We are not here to compare ourselves to ANYone, and that includes the public education system.
One thing that helps to keep my sanity is teaching my children all together, as much as possible. We do Bible study, history and science as a group, and then they work alone on math and grammar/language arts.
I use “Mystery of History” curriculum with all my kids. The lessons are tailored with activities for various ages, and I love it. It teaches history from Genesis forward, presenting both “secular” history and “biblical” history all in one linear package.
For example: Did you know that the Shang Dynasty in China (the ones who discovered and made silk from worms) was in power while Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt? Or that the first Olympic Games happened less than a decade before the story of Jonah in the Bible? Putting it all in a time-frame context is fun! (And I never liked history when I was in school.)
I’ve tried Miquon and Horizons math, and both were good in their own ways. But I’ve used Saxon for a few years now, and I love it. The lessons are very interactive up until 3rd grade, which is great for hands-on (kinesthetic) learners. And the higher levels are well-planned and have much repetition without just drilling your kids with math facts. My kids all enjoy it, and that’s a plus.
For science, we are using Apologia’s Young Explorers Series. This year we are doing Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology, which also has a spiral activity/lapbook that makes taking notes a breeze.
This science curriculum is fun, and broken into bite-sized lessons with mini-experiments (that work!), so that makes it enjoyable for all of us. We’ve mummified an apple, made gelatin cells, and analyzed a chicken bone, to name a few of our projects. The materials needed for each lesson are listed at the beginning of the book, so you can plan in advance (since few things are more frustrating than getting ready to do an experiment and not having all your supplies).
Kyla is working through Winston Grammar and doing a lot of journal-prompt writing for me. Iain and Sara are doing Explode the Code, as well as taking dictation from me. I also give them prompts to write to, a recent one being: “Imagine you are a mailbox. What would you say about your life?” I don’t worry about spelling or grammar when they write to a prompt. I just want their creativity to flow.
In addition to this, we use Mavis Beacon for typing (a CD), and A Reason for Handwriting for cursive. The typing is fun for them, but they don’t really like the cursive, so I don’t push it. The important thing is that they know how to read something written in cursive. And that can be a challenge, even for adults!
The major sticking point for me with my approach to homeschooling is teaching the Bible. I have, and still do, read from children’s versions. But during our morning study time I always read from my Bible, which is the NASB version. I don’t try to explain it along the way, I just read a few chapters and then we discuss it. I’m amazed by how much they grasp, and how much more they know about God than I did when I was their age.
I teach them that Christ is the center, and all things they learn come from Him. As John 1:3 says:
“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
Above all, my desire is for them to know Christ intimately and to follow wherever He leads them. No matter how educated they are, it is all for naught if they end up lost.
Check out what other stylish bloggers have to say about homeschooling:
Lorrie @ Life and Lessons Learned,
Selena (that's me) at Campbell Clan,
Kathleen @ Positive Adoption,
Audrey @ Everything Beautiful,
Charli @ WV Urban Hippies,
Tracey @ Building My House, and
Maria @ The Joyfully Frugal Home
Jessica @ Redeeming the Home (not pictured)
(All of these moms (except me, of course) are in my blog list at the right.)
And stay tuned! We'll be blogging on Tuesdays and Thursdays in April about these topics:
- What didn't work for you? (Tuesday, April 16th)
- My biggest frustration . . . (Thursday, April 18th)
- How do I feel about socialization? (Tuesday, April 23rd)
- Blogger's choice (Thursday, April 25th)