Friday, October 23, 2009

How I Got Started Homeschooling

It all began with a preacher's wife, Miss Pat.  Miss Pat is my friend who homeschools her grandchildren, and all these years ago encouraged me to do that same. "God gave you those babies, and you need to raise them," she said to me one day as we were discussing her educating her two grandchildren.  It weighed heavy upon me.  The thought of taking FULL responsibility for two humans in such an important aspect as their education was frightening! I had thoughts of inadequacy, self doubt, worries, and fear.  How would I do this? How would I afford it? Who could help me? Where would my children find a friend? Questions and more questions clouded my mind.

For our family, the decision was couched in a desire to continue to bond, be a family and raise them as good citizens giving them a distinctly Christian worldview.  I knew none of this would happen if they were public school educated, and likely not if in private or even Christian school.  I had graduated from a private Christian school, and I knew the pitfalls of it.  While Christian schooling is not bad, strong factors were that the nearest was an hour away and the costs.  It also would not strengthen family ties.  Perhaps this last reason at the time was the strongest for me.  I wanted to really know my children as they grew and developed, and their being gone six-plus hours a day was not going to accomplish this!

Miss Pat loaned me some of her Abeka curriculum that was so costly~I bought the rest I needed~the consumables.  Off I began. I think Abeka Book is a fine Christian curriculum.  In fact, I know that it's well tested throughout many years, because I was taught by it in my Christian school experience.  It really provided a solid foundation in so many areas for my children.  Math is an area that was really strong as well as reading, spelling and language arts.  We memorized poetry, Bible verses and read wonderful readers.  It was great!

Then we made a move out of state, and I continued with Abeka until I was introduced to the classical/eclectic style of homeschooling.  I am not sure that there is actually a definition that will fit what I was introduced to, but you could say that it's a mix of the classical education along with a "pick and choose" mentality.  Classical meaning attention is given to the roots of language, writing and history is emphasized along with logic and reason.  The eclectic is that while we did so much of this, we also picked our sources discriminately.  I am still burdened to this day by the task of finding good, well fitting sources to use for my children.  It really just comes down to using what is solid material that will educate them to excellence!

I still have many of the feelings of inadequacy that plagued me in the early days, but having accomplished nine years together, I can see the fruit of our labors, and this gives me much more confidence than I would otherwise have had.  I can see that we have made progress.  I can see their strengths and weaknesses, and I am able today to plan for the weaknesses to strengthen them.  Oh...but friends, I only have a few more years left with them! This is a thought that while I am excited, I also take in my heart with zeal to accomplish much!

We have a list of sources that I compiled for this year, if you want to know what we are using.
The Plan 09-10 Please remember that our in our history studies is a listing of Ancient Literature, geography and essay writing with quizzes, tests and other projects.  I have quite a few resources that "flesh out" the short narrative writings on each subject in this text, Mystery of History I.  (This is our second use of it. We used it five years ago when my children were elementary ages.  We are in a second rotation of our world history studies: creation to the present.)

One word of caution for those starting out that I wish I would have realized:
Don't over-school your child!
They learn all the time~allow him to be a child and learn in his own way!
You might like to read this entry I wrote about Natural Learning is Here!

I hope you will find encouragement in my story, and know I am walking along side you to accomplish the task of training our children, but more importantly, the Lord is guiding you in His ways.  Ask for wisdom from above and He guides and is light for our directions!

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Amen Sister Tipster! Hey, I nominated ya for the frugal (something like that-the thrifty/money saving ideas) blog award under the 2009 HS Blog Award deally bop. Hope you get the necessary 3 bids to move on to the finals.