Sunday, August 17, 2008

So you want to Homeschool...Now what?


My husband's and my desire, from very early on, was that I would home school our children. As our children have slowly crept up on "school age" our decision has been concreted as we observe the changes in the world around us.
I have always been excited about our decision to home school. Whimsical thoughts of fun projects and smiling faces while my daughter begged "lets learn more mom" are softly fading as I have encountered actually "schooling" my daughter. She is just barely pre-school age so we aren't yet doing anything official. But her overactive need to be constantly challenged has left me feeling overwhelmed and bewildered. Leaving my and her frustrated and confused.
I am a military veteran, of which I served 3 years prior to my first pregnancy, and do not have much of an education past high school. That didn't bother me at my first thought of homeschooling. But, now that I find myself standing at the doorway to this very vast, unknown, realm I find myself more confused than ever.
More than anything I just didn't know where to begin. One of the main reasons we decided to home school was to guide the values, knowledge and materials that would mold our children into the types of adults that we only hope to be.
Being the "cheapskate" I am, I headed to the library. I was comforted at the fact that I found much more information than I was expecting. A few of the books that really helped me grab hold a few of the thousands of directions I seemed to once be overwhelmed by were:

1. The ABC's Of Homeschooling By: Vicki Caruana
Being a christian myself I felt very comforted by her guidance. She showed the importance of doing what God wants for your family by following Him and referencing what the the Bible states on the issue. She gave great advice on those "Questions" you most certainly will be asked by doubters of your decisions and offers many different paths you can take based on your families particular situation based on your child's learning styles or abilities.

2. Absolute Beginner's Guide To Homeschooling By: Brad Miser
Fantastic guide on where to start, how to collect your thoughts and choose a path to start your teaching. This book covers everything from State legal requirements to creating lesson plans.

3. The McGraw-Hill Homeschooling Companion By: Laura Saba and Julie Gattis
This book is a bit similar to the Absolute Guide accept in goes in depth a bit more as to what to teach for each subject according to grade level.

I tend to make everything much more complicated than it actually is. I always find myself so overwhelmed by all the information there is out there. I would love to just sit down and read for days about all sorts of things ranging from all sorts of subjects, then turn around and experience and experiment it all. But that is a bit unrealistic. That is one reason I am so excited about schooling my kids. I get to learn, experience and experiment right along side them.

Once I read these books I received much more direction, but still wasn't settled on exactly what to teach. For some reason I felt like there was a specific thing and if I didn't find out what it was that I would just ruin everything. False! So I stopped trying to complicate everything, for once, and started with Gods word.


Train up a child in the way he should go:

and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6


If you think about it the Bible has all we need in it to teach our children what the "really" need to know. I was once asked "what are you going to do when your child's education has surpassed your own?" The truth to the that is "I'm not sure." And we shouldn't be concerned with that. God teaches us to concern our self for today and not for tomorrow. So, In all His great wisdom, the Lord guided me to use the Bible as a reference guide.


I know as our kids get older I will need to use other materials to teach them things such as grammar, punctuation and calculus. But I will continue to use the Bible as a guide for secondary things such as animals, dimensions and geography. But the authority on the way we live our life.

The truth of the matter is, I have come to the point where I am not so concerned anymore with weather my kids can say there alphabet and count to 100, by a certain time, as I am with weather I can raise children that will one day love and serve the Lord.


So with that said; I have been reading through exodus about the plagues and God hardening the Pharaoh's heart. I have decided to start by teaching my daughter about the things God uses to teach us. As a starting point, I am going to use each of the 10 plagues as a guide on what we learn daily.


1. Water is turned to blood: I am going to teach Abigail all about the human body and of course I will be learning right along with her. I will be using this teachers guide from Discovery.com



2. Frogs

3. Lice

4. Flies

5. Cattle

6. Boils

7. Hail

8. Locusts

9. Darkness

10. First Born Dies


The exciting thing is these are just subject guides. You can get as creative, in depth or even take these in any direction you want. If you child needs to work on counting make frog pictures or buy frog toys to count, practice colors, match or even allow fall from a parachute that you made out of tissue and floss. The possibilities are endless and If you have a starting point and get practicing it will get easier and easier and the ideas will come flooding in with the more research and digging you do.

Again, don't be discouraged or doubt yourself due to a lack of knowledge. Educating yourself in the area of homeschooling or any other subject, for that matter, should always be a possibility worth exploring. As wives and mothers we are to live our lives in servitude to our Lord through serving our husbands and families.


Choose to make your household a happy one...Today!

6 comments:

Rebecca said...

Sounds like you really found your direction for where to start. I have to agree about your comment concening raising GOOD children, that is so much more important than making them 'wiz kids.' I am sure your will to succeed will help you as you teach your children everything they need to know! I hope to be as brave as you when my children are a few years older.

Amy said...

I'm excited for you as you start your first year of homeschooliing. It sounds like you've got a great plan. We're going into our sixth year, so if we can help in any way, just let us know. My seventh grader decided to go to school this year. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but she's going to a good, Christian academy so I know she'll be fine. My second grader is staying home with me, and I'm happy about that.

Amy (recycledjeans.etsy.com)

Teri's Treasures said...

Sarah!
What an amazing post. Homeschooling has ran through my head the past few months so it was nice to read this post. Today was Alyssa's first day of school so we will see how it goes, anymore problems this year and we will be HS her. I think God has spoken loud and clear to you reguarding this subject, thanks for sharing! You are a fantastic woman!

Robin@creations-anew.com said...

Sarah...I'm a bit envious of you as you begin this journey. This is the first year in 15 years that I won't homeschool...and it's bittersweet!

It's amazing to see that my #1 is attending a Christian University and doing extremely well, and my #2 will be a senior this year and able to cope and excel in public school.

Both boys attended public school part-time for their extra curricular activities in High School. This allowed then to have enough credits to graduate and recieve a diploma with their public school peers.


If you ever need a sounding board please contact me and have a ball! I don't regret one moment of being home with the kids!
Robin
http://www.creations-anew.com

Pavielle said...

Will said, I loved the post. Your going to do great Shara.

Jennifer-Ancientgamecupboard said...

You're doing a great job thinking through all these things. It's an exciting journey!