Thursday, July 15, 2010

Adventures in homeschooling...the beginning.

I have become a sister in the sorority of homeschooling. And an alien to much of the world. I've been given the weird, glassy-eyed stare by friends and family, which immediately proceeds comments like, "Oh...how will they have social time?" and "Will they get to play sports?" It is seriously hard for me not to laugh out loud because I'm thinking, "Why would you think any of that would change from how it is now?" My kids are some of the most socialized on the planet, and only one of them has been to school, and only for one year. And kids don't start playing sports at school until middle school, so...it's funny. I have to choose to laugh ;).
After all, there is a lot of terminology in the world of homeschooling. Why would I expect anyone to "get it" when I'm just barely "getting it" myself? Co-ops for example. If you have no clue what one would actually do at a homeschool, why would you understand a co-op? A co-op, for those who are interested, is basically a community of parents who get together and co-teach each other's children in a classroom setting. We are using a co-op called Comm Central. You don't have to use a co-op, but there are a lot of benefits from it: enabling moms to teach the subjects they are most comfortable with and giving their child the opportunity to learn from another teacher who is strong in their subject area, giving moms a break while the kids are at the co-op, giving the kids social time, and in the high school years items like transcripts are made much easier by the use of the co-op. Personally, I see co-ops as a good balance between home and school. For people who are skeptical of parents who homeschool their children, co-ops create accountability for the students and the parents.

Our co-op is based around the classical approach to education. If you are interested in this, I highly recommend the book The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical education at Home because it walks you through each year of education, offers suggestions/details about curriculum, and is just practical. You can also go here to learn more about this. I think if you are skeptical about me teaching my children at home, you can rest assured after examining these materials that my kids are going to get an amazing education. I know I'm excited about it! :) I think it's amazing that God has led me here, led me to this curriculum that is rhetorically based (which is what my degrees are based in), and allowed me the opportunity to start with them young so that we can tip toe into the water, rather than diving in head first. It will be good for all of us this way. Baby steps. ;) I'm grateful because I know He is going to show up and do awesome things in all of us and I can't wait to see it.

I had an adventure today. Mardel (the Christian bookstore) has an annual sale on a certain day for all homeschooling and educational supplies. Graciously a friend told me about this, and today was the day of the sale. I expected it to be a little crazy, but I didn't expect the parking lot to be full when I got there an hour after they opened this morning. I was SO OVERWHELMED. There are so many different books, posters, handouts, organizers, maps, visual aids, and for some reason I felt like I was supposed to use all of this stuff. I forgot the plan. The plan on the piece of paper with only a few things written on it. Fortunately I remembered the plan before I spent oodles of money. Here's what I came home with (at 20% off!):

Not too shabby considering how overwhelmed I was. :) I also ordered these items online:

  • Math-U-See Primer (teacher's guide, student guide, and manipulatives. I'm going to make copies of the student guide for Alaya to use so I don't have to buy two.)
  • additional paper to practice handwriting from the Handwriting Without Tears website (they use a special lined paper for preK and K)
  • Five in a Row Volume 1 (this is the one thing that may be a little overkill as it covers all the subject areas, but it came highly recommended so I'm going to give it a shot)

Our main focus this year will be on reading and writing. I will supplement with math and history a couple of days a week. We'll also probably do a science lesson once a month or so, just for fun. I love how The Well-trained Mind eases the children into education. The authors recommend focusing on the reading and writing, but mostly reading in the preK and K years. Mostly I'm doing the "extra" stuff for exposure and fun. If they aren't into it, we don't have to do it. But I know my kids and they like learning, so I imagine they will love whatever we get into. ;)

I felt like I needed to get all this down so I can look back and see what we did and how I felt about it at the time. Also I hope that if anyone else is considering homeschooling, these resources might help you.

More to come... :)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Shana! Thanks for sharing your induction to the Homeschool world. Brad and I are definitely going to do this. I've been researching already and feel slightly overwhelmed but after reading your blog it helped to see I need to concentrate on how to get started and where to start with Elisha and for that matter... Elijah. :) I know Elisha is only 2 but coming up this fall I could get her into a routine of having some school for an hour a day to get her prepped for the next year. She's so smart already I hope I can keep up with her. :) I miss you guys and I admire your courage and "go get'em attitude". I look forward to more blog readings. Love you. Leslie

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