Friday, January 16, 2009

Homeschooling

I get this homeschooling question a lot so I decided to post my answer. Most things I have listed as resources are hyper-linked.

Hey, Stephanie! How are you? We are praying about our daughter's future education. Right now she is attending a private Christian School. I really love the school, but I'm not sure she is going to be challenged all that much. I'm looking into homeschooling her.
What curriculum are you using with your boys? I imagine you are already doing some things with Bubba. With my daughter's late birthday (October) she will start school in 2010, and I prefer that anyway, but I believe she is or will be ready to start K work this year. Preschool has been really good for her also. She has had opportunities to talk in front of the class, and there are many social opportunities for her. She is in a great school. I'm just not sure if she will be challenged where she needs it, though.
Do you mind sharing with me some things you are doing? I've been talking to several homeschooling friends of mine. A lot of people like A beka, and I've heard about Sonlight. I have a friend who uses Five in a Row and does unit studies.
I plan to do some things at home with my daughter part-time while she continues at the private school another year to see what will be best for our family. This will help us to decide if homeschooling is right for us. I know she would love the one-on-one time, having quality time with me. I also know that it will be a lot of hard work planning lessons as well.
So, what are you doing with your boys? Any feedback and tips are welcome! Thanks!

*******
Hey, girl! You would be a great homeschooler!!! You are much more 'naturally' gifted for it than I am. I am constantly relying on the power of God :)!
I looked into buying a curriculum for this year and talked to wise homeschoolers and they said you really don't need a curriculum for kindergarten. We have many resources we can use in our homes for math (counting and sorting by using toys) and science. So, I had already bought Saxon Math, but other than that... I just use a few wonderful books I have found.
1. (a must)
Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons
2. God's Word for Little Ones
3. Any workbooks you can find from Sam's. ex. Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills for Kindergarten. There are great resources in the kids book section at Sam's.
4. At least 75% of what we do is 'Bible' and so you've already got that book. ;) Just pick a passage and start memorizing. They will blow you away at how much they can remember. And you will learn too!
5.
Pattern Blocks (you can order those on-line or get them at a School supply store)
6.
My ABC Bible Verses hiding God's Word in little hearts by Susan Hunt
7.
Growing Reader's Phonics Bible
8. If you have boys, mine love a book called
The Bug Dictionary. It is not Christian but a wonderful book. Another wonderful book my sister-in-law just gave me is The Aquarium Guide.
It is a Christian book from Answers in Genesis. They have a lot of cool stuff at
http://www.answersingenesis.org/
Your personality may warrant buying a curriculum to follow if you need structure. I am not a very structured person ( I am praying about that!)so I like having the freedom to be creative and do things at our own pace.
My goal for these early years is to teach them character, Scripture, and how to pray. They are learning many other things and are ahead academically but that is not the goal. I kind of have a very simple Matthew 6:33 approach to homeschooling...
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Not that I don't value academics, I do! But more than anything, I want my boys to "grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" 1 Peter 3:18.
I believe if we honor God's Word by teaching it to our children, He will, in turn, honor and bless our efforts. For example, Reece's reading level increased drastically by memorizing scripture written on a dry-erase board and the black board. "Repeat them [the scriptures]again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again" Deuteronomy 6:7.

I will be using a curriculum next year. I am considering My Father's World but am still researching (if anybody has a favorite curriculum please leave a comment!).
Another thing you might want to look at is
http://www.consideringhomeschooling.org/. It has great info and is very encouraging.
Find an older homeschooling mother. She will be a terrific resource. I will help you however I can. You are more than welcome to come to my house and watch what we do. It is a work in progress (that is for sure) and more importantly a work of the Holy Spirit!!
You can do it!(if you feel like homeschooling is where God is leading you). If He asks you to do it, He will equip you with more than you need to do it well. Every morning we ask God to be our teacher and tell Him that He is always welcome in our school and ask his blessing upon it. It has been a tremendous blessing in my life and I am the LAST person in the world who ever thought she would homeschool. Please feel free to ask me any questions and I will try and answer them for you. And, please know that I do not think less of you if you send your children to school. My mom is a public school teacher and has been for years and years. I am not anti-school. I definitely believe homeschooling has to be a calling and a desire of the mother.
Love,
Steph

"Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord." Psalm 34:11

7 comments:

Janell Bontekoe said...

Hi Steph - great answer:) A couple more resources: In Chattanooga we have many great support groups where the moms get together once a month to encourage each other. Many of these groups also plan activities and field trips for the children. You can learn more about support groups at www. csthea.org. Some of our best friendships have developed out of our support group. A curriculum that I really love is found at www.amblesideonline.org. This works well for me because I love real books for my kids - not so fond of most text books! Really not fond of workbooks for our very busy crew! Also, don't forget about the Curriculum Fair on July 24 & 25 this year. It will be at Camp Jordan and there will be close to 100 vendors there with a wide variety of homeschool materials. My kids love to go too. They get to see tons of their friends and I get to see the things that really capture their interest as we shop. Helps me tailor some of our "teaching" to their interests.

I like My Father's World. I think my daughter-in-law will be using their pre-school material with her soon to be 4 year old next year. They do a great job of integrating God's truth into their material. Remember as we teach and train - Godly Character training produces great gain - that's the life skill I'm most interested in for my children. Many seek the kingdom but few seek it FIRST. I want my children to clearly understand that there is nothing better, and finer, and more enjoyable than a relationship with Jesus Christ. Blessings

Keri said...

Hey, Steph. We're in the same boat as you, and I recently discovered Tapestry of Grace curriculum. tapestryofgrace.com I think. We're still not sure what we're going to do about school next year, but if I do homeschool, I'm going to do the T.O.G. You should check it out as an option. :)

Jill said...

I love and agree with all that you wrote. I am in year four of homeschooling. My girls are K and grade 3. We have a great support group that we share geography or history with and have group schooling once a month to share and let the kids build relationship. I love how honest and real you are. I am a certified teacher, and will continue to use my talents and calling in my home and someday back in the system. We seriously pray about what God is requiring of us, and I love that He trusts me with them in their education.

Tara said...

It was fun to read about your homeschooling day and see what you use for books, etc. I also loved the verses you included in this post. I am in my 10th year of homeschooling our 3 children - it's been a journey for us, lots of trial & error and alot of blessings! :)

I also love what you wrote about teaching scripture & working on character. Years ago when we were first starting on down this homeschooling path, a wise homeschooling mom gave me a great piece of advise. "You can always catch up on academics, but you can't always catch up on character. Put God & character first and the rest will fall into place."

Anonymous said...

The greatest thing about homeschooling is that there are so many options and if something doesn't work..don't worry about about trying something else. I love Jennie Fulbright's science and Mystery of History. Have just found Truth Quest and love the resources for American history. Also have the Geneveve Foster serier. We love Bible too and apart from Bible memory and indepth study on Psams, we have added Precept's "Discover 4 You" series this semester (Daniel) my two boys (2nd and 5th) LOVE it. There is a great resource on Ambleside.com for reading materials. My kids love to read and that puts their energy towards quality books instead of just "fun" reading. I also love reading Heroes of the Faith series on great men and women of God. My kids ask me to read and read and read these to them. All those who are even "considering" homeschooling, I just want to say.."Yes, you can." I had the desire but didn't know where to even begin and God in His infinate wisdom has graciously led me through this process. My verse that I pray all the time is James 1:5. God does answer..to Him be the glory :-)

monica said...

The great thing for me in homeschooling is that if I start a curriculum that I don't like, I change it up. In fact, I am always changing things and my kids love it. The curriculum that we have found and love is, Jennie Fulbright's science, Mystery of History, Geneveve Foster's series and we recently added Truth Quest..they have a great reading list for the timeline of American History (which the other's don't have) My Father's World is good...we are doing the Geography and the kids love the food tasting and crafts that are indicative of the different countries. We also love Bible..apart from Bible memory and indepth study of Psalms, we started Precept's "Discover 4 You" (Daniel) this semester and my boys (2nd and 5th) LOVE it. I also read to my boys and we love the "Heroes of the Faith" series..they are about amazing men and women who have served God down thru the ages. I also found a resource on Ambleside.com (we use their reading list but there is alot on there.) My kids are big readers but I want to encourage quality literature instead of just "fun" reading. (they haven't always been readers but starting with "fun", I have been able to move to great literature :-) For anyone who is even considering homeschooling, all I can say is.."Yes you can!" I started 6 years ago with no background in education and no idea where to even start. I prayed that God would give me wisdom (James 1:5) and He has been gracious to answer. Each year is a different challenge but I am so blessed to have my boys with me every day and to be the one who instills truth and knowledge in their little minds. What a blessing :-)

tim said...

The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that there are so many products to use that even if you try something and don't like it for some reason, you can try something else :-) A couple of resources that we like are, Jennie Fulbright's science, Mystery of History (great timeline of history from the beginning..creation), Geveveve Foster also has great "inclusive" history (starts during Ceasar Augustus and ends after Abraham Lincoln. We just found Truth Quest that has great resources for American history. We also love Bible..we do alot of Bible memory and I am working thru Psams, having the kids list what it says about the righteous, unrighteous and God. (amazing what we are learning) We have also started "Discover 4 You" (Daniel) study and the kids LOVE IT.(for ages 7 and up) I read as much as I can with the kids and they love the "Heroes of the Faith" series that have amazing stories about great men and women of God down thru the ages. There is a great resource on Ambleside.com of your different subjects and what is recommended for each grade...we use their reading lists..alot of good literature and quality reading. For anyone who is even a little bit intersted in homeschooling, I would say, "Yes, you can do it!". I started 6 years ago with absolutely no idea where to even begin. I prayed that God would give me wisdom (James 1:5) and He has been gracious to answer that prayer and lead us each year. It is such a blessing to pour not only book knowledge into them but to teach about God throughout the day "whether they lie down or rise up".