Sunday, October 5, 2008

Homeschooling 101

I am amazed at how often people (strangers) stop me to ask me to tell them more about homeschooling.

It usually starts when we are out and about and someone asks my daughter where she goes to school. As soon as she says she's homeschooled, we get one of two reactions.
1) complete silence
2) Oh, I envy you. You must have the most patience! I've always wanted to do that with my kids, but ........ (I don't have the patience. I don't think I could teach them.... (reading, math, science, history, etc...) I would be bored at home with my kids all day. *** NOTE TO READER: You can always come up with an excuse to do things you shouldn't and excuses to get out of doing things you should.

Now, that's not to say that I think everyone SHOULD homeschool. However, I do think that every Christian parent must seek what God's Word says about education, and about the role of parents in the lives of their children. The truth is that most Christians (especially those of us in the U.S.) don't really include God in our daily decision making. We Americans are so self-sufficient that we can go through days, weeks, months, even years at a time, without ever consulting God about the details of our lives. We pray for healing when we are sick, we ask for help when we need it, but then we go about all other areas of our lives as though God really doesn't much care what we do as we live out our days here on earth. That is SO not true!!

The truth is that God is very concerned with how we spend our time.

So, for any of you who've ever had the inclination (or gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit) to begin homeschooling your kids, but have never stopped to ask me more about it, here are some links to basic homeschooling info you might enjoy reading. This site is for the Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Alabama. It includes all of the legal information regarding homeschooling in the state of Alabama. It includes lists of "church/cover" schools in Alabama, and how-to information on how to get started.

There are many styles of homeschooling, and each have their own unique approach. I do not believe that there is any one particular way that is best, or that should be strictly adhered to. The beauty of homeschooling is that it can be tailor made for each of your children in order to best help them learn the information they need to know. One child may learn fine with the "traditional school" method of textbooks and workbooks, also known as the textbook approach. Another may need the whole life approach of Charlotte Mason Method, using whole "living" books, and the skill of narration. The next may need something more hands-on to aid in learning the materials and so their learning needs might best be addressed using the Montessori Method. Many today are using the "classical" method. (Side note: We actually came out of a Classical Christian school that our daughter attended for 2 years. I have rejected nearly all "classical" methodology, apart from chronological history, which we still use.) Some people consider themselves to be delight-directed. Others use the term "un-schooling" as their approach. I personally use what is known as the "Ecclectic Approach" which to me means that we use whatever works in each area!!!! There is also the Heart of Wisdom teaching approach, and Wisdom's Way of Learning. You can find information online about Spirit Led homeschooling (which we also follow).

I would say however that our main approach is one of Discipleship. My main goal in the homeschooling of my children is to disciple them unto Christ, through regular study of the Word, both with myself and/or my husband, and encouraging their own personal time of daily scripture study and reflection. We also spend extra time on things that are of great interest to them academically. Believing in the Sovereignty of God and knowing that HE has placed within each one of us certain gifts and abilities, we believe that as parents, we have the responsibility to help our children attain the knowledge they need in those special areas.

For instance, Anna's bent is toward all things having to do with Animals! She reads animal related periodicals and books constantly. This year our science for the entire 6th grade is focused on using Apologia's Zoology 3 book series. She has participated in classes to learn to train our dog through a local obedience school, she reads about how to train and groom dogs (then uses our little Shih tzu to try it all out on), and takes horsemanship lessons once a week at a local barn. While there she cares for and grooms the horses and practices her riding skills. Several Summers ago we went to a place at the beach while we were on vacation, and she took an entire class about 3 hours long about marine life. The "field trip" ended with a swim with the dolphins, while holding on to it's dorsal fin! Unbelievable!!! She can hardly wait until she is old enough to volunteer at the local animal shelter and she also wants to work with a community program that uses animals and their owners to visit with and lift the spirits of those who are on hospice care. That's are some of the many things that make homeschooling a unique education that ends up being so much fun and teaching them so much more than they can experience in a traditional school setting.

If you'd like to know more about the homeschooling approaches, you can google the types of homeschooling highlighted in purple above to find sites filled with information.

Maybe next I'll work up a good book list of books you should read if you are thinking about homeschooling. Some will be great additional study for those of you already homeschooling. I call it "teacher education" materials! We need teacher workdays too sometimes you know, but it's usally because the house has gotten out of control and the principal, teacher and students need some clean clothes to wear!

Homeschooling by His grace,


John Edwards said...

see, you do have more readers than me!

Lori McGuire said...

You are so funny, I saw my number today and laughed. I set the counter at 1000 as the beginning number, kind of like you do that first book of checks you buy. I just couldn't stand the idea that I had to start at zero.

So, it's only about 30 but that's better than I expected.
:O) Lori

John Edwards said...

Jesus only had 12 and you have 30! Hey, if you cant get to those pics, can you email them to me???
We are going to Oak Mountain Sunday, my first sunday in 10 years that I am not a pastor ):

John Edwards said...

Thank you so much for the pictures!!!!!!!!!!!! enjoy the rainy day (: John