Saturday, April 5, 2014

Our new journey

        In just a few months, our family will be starting a new journey--homeschooling. It's hard to believe I began this blog almost 5 years ago, when Kade was just a few months old and in August, he'll be starting kindergarten! I considered opening up a new blog just for our homeschool adventures, but I decided that 1) that would be too complicated and 2) I know God will be teaching me plenty through this particular "new thing" and I would love to share it with you.

        So, I'm sure many people (in real life) will be asking, "What made you decide to homeschool?" It was definitely not that I had a bad experience in school. I graduated from 13 years of public school as valedictorian of my senior class and feel like I received a good education. I had fantastic teachers. I was able to resist any negative peer pressure and temptation. I also met my husband when I was in 10th grade, so that was also a major plus. However, school is not the same today as it was 10 years ago and I don't mean morally (though things aren't great in that department, either). I (with Michael's support) have decided that I want to give my children a unique educational experience, one that I can tailor to their individual learning styles and interests. I'm no helicopter parent and I'm not trying to keep my children hidden from the world, but I also plan on taking this time to help them build a strong foundation of faith. I was blessed to have parents who helped me build a strong foundation of faith every moment I wasn't in school. We all live in this world; whether children go to public school or not, they're going to run into situations that test their faith and obedience.

         Anyway, I never dreamed I would homeschool my children, but here I am! Even better, I also never dreamed I would have so many homeschooling friends! When I was pregnant with Kade and starting to regret not being able to stay at home, I became friends with Tracy, who started kindergarten with her oldest daughter this year. We've recently created our own homeschool group, with 6 or 7 other moms. There are around 17 young children between all of us. We've been getting together every Friday morning to play and we have quite a few field trips and other activities planned for the rest of this year.

         The only part of homeschooling that made me nervous was the actual teaching part. I know I'm qualified, but I felt overwhelmed about choosing curriculum and deciding exactly what style of pedagogy I wanted to use. I think I've finally settled on something that feels comfortable to me and that Kade will enjoy. I didn't want to just do regular school at home; I wanted something different. The Charlotte Mason method seems like exactly what I've been looking for. It's not a particular curriculum, it's more of a certain style. To be brief, Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived during the mid-1800's to early 1900's. She believed that all children should have a education with a broad and generous curriculum. She also believed that "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life", meaning that one-third of a child's education is made up of the atmosphere in the home and the parents' beliefs; another third was made up of the cultivating of good habits, especially forming good character; and the "Life" part was made up of her belief that academics should be taught through living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts to memorize. (Taken from Simply Charlotte Mason) It is very cross curricular, which I like and everything is sort of based on literature, which is definitely my forte.

              I'd better save some info for another post (and get to bed, since tomorrow is Sunday), but look out for many more homeschooling posts! And if you don't care about homeschooling, never fear! There'll be plenty of my regular posts as well.


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