Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Homeschooling Journey

“Nourish a child daily with loving, right, and noble ideas... which may bear fruit in his life.”--Charlotte Mason, 1842-1923

My homeschooling journey began 6 years ago when we had to decide whether or not to put my oldest son Jackson in public school. My husband was much more enthusiastic than I was about homeschooling. I was downright terrified. I didn't even know where to begin, and was afraid of failure. I knew if I failed, Jackson would pay the price. No pressure there!

I agreed with all of the many reasons my husband wanted us to home school.. one of which was the fact that the public school system in our county was poor, at best. And we were afraid more what he WOULD learn there, than what he wouldn't.

I began teaching Jackson kindergarten with the very respectable Christian curriculum Abeka, recommended by a friend. That first year I bought many more books than necessary. School was tedious, and boring. I knew there must be some way to make school fun, or at least tolerable for both of us..

A year or two later another friend of mine from church gave me the book A Charlotte Mason Education, by Catherine Levison. Finally. The light came on! THIS is what I had been searching for..and much, much more. I read the book and started applying what I had learned. Instead of agonizing over science textbooks, we took walks and learned about science and nature firsthand. Instead of math textbooks, we counted change, and added and subtracted with raisins and peanuts. Instead of cutesy children's books, I introduced him to fine literature. Yes, at 6-7 years old. We read Black Beauty, Treasure Island, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and many many more. I took him on the field trips that the public school system had to cut because of budget restraints. We attend museums, art galleries, the symphony, apple orchards, dairy farms, aquariums, working farms, and more.

Today, I am using a few select textbooks. But not one certain curriculum. I continue to use Abeka math, I find it to be less tedious than Saxon Math. I use Spelling Power for my older boys. They have learned creation from Dr. Kent Hovind, and Ken Hamm. Never again will they be confused by the nonsense and lies of evolution. For science text we use Considering God's Creation. For history we use TruthQuest. I adore Simply Grammar. I use a variety of "love to write" type of books, giving the boys much liberty in what they write about. Most importantly, 3 of my 4 children know the Lord as their personal Savior.

I have learned that little boys are not meant to sit in a classroom, for hours on end, doing paperwork. Boys need to run, and touch, and explore, and play. Even big boys!

Weather permitting we take frequent trips to the park and library. On cold winter afternoons we cuddle on the couch reading books, or watching science documentaries. And we fill our warm afternoons fishing, swimming and playing. The boys play violin, piano, baseball, and take taekwondo. Of course they love spending time each week with their friends.

Today I am seeing the fruit in the lives of my children--the result of good counsel, from Charlotte Mason and a Christian friend.

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