Thursday, September 6, 2007

Heavenly Homeschooling

No, we haven't arrived there yet, but I believe we are on our way. We are moving into our 7th year of homeschooling. We have used almost every curriculum out there - or at least close. You can ask my sweet hubby that has paid for it over the years and my best girlfriend, who has tried to help and be as supportive as she can!

In March of 2006, I realized that we really need a change in our homeschool. I was really struggling to teach Math to C.11.5.B. It was tough to learn math and then reteach it. We made the plunge into BJ Homesat that following year (2006-2007) using Math, English, Spelling, and Handwriting. We were also using My Father's World and it seemed that the day just drug on and on. So, we plunged even further and this year we are using BJ Homesat for Bible, Math, English, Spelling, Handwriting, Science, and Heritage Studies.

Now, we really like Homesat! I think it is a wonderful curriculum and is perfect for Mama's with large families!!!

I have realized the problem that I have had with curriculum all these years, though. The problem isn't the curriculum, it's me!!! I try to fit myself into a curriculum, as I'm really great at following directions. The problem is when I follow the directions, I do just that. When we used KONOS, we were supposed to pick a few activities, but I wanted to do them all!!! Because I knew that there were moms out there that were doing most of them, if not all. When we used Sonlight, I didn't have the guts to chunk a book that we didn't care for. And so the story continues. When we did various unit studies, I went back on them because they didn't fit into where we were learning in the course of history at the time. And I have a hard time just doing what I want to do without chunking the whole thing!

When we did KONOS, we had to have a KONOS timeline. And when we didn't use KONOS anymore, I took the timeline down! And we went through that with the Sonlight book, too!

I did express my concerns to Big P about the kids doing Bible, science, and history with Homesat this year and we both felt that it would be the right thing with what we had going on in our life. Well, most of those things are out of our life now. And now, I've started thinking about where we want to be when this journey is over.

So, I believe that I have figured out my problem. The deal is that I'm the "Little Bit of Everything Mama" and I like just that - a little bit of everything!

After looking at so many curriculums the last few days that looked really wonderful, but just didn't mesh with us. And then, after listening to a couple of seminars, I am realizing the way that we can make what we love to do actually work!

We are going to read GREAT books, we are going to do some unit studies, and take some field trips - all for history. We are going to keep it all flowing with a timeline notebook and some notebooking!! This will give C the reading that he wants and P the hands on crafty that she wants, and me the field trips and "quality time" that I want. We spend quality time together all the time, but I like doing it out of the house, too! Like field trips and vacations and camping!

For science we are going to be using Apologia's Elementary Zoology 2. Per b's suggestion, I wrote all the topics of study in each book down on a piece of paper and had them "vote" by giving their first choice and second choice. Actually, she suggested taking them aside and asking them. They really like the whole paper thing, so we did that! We drew for a movie tonight! Just something to let the fun Mama side come out - in a very simple way.

We are keeping some Homesat, because it is a great curriculum. They are going to be doing Math, English, and P.8.G. wants to keep handwriting with Homesat. I'll do something that takes less time for spelling. And when C.11.5.B. finishes his current math, we will most likely be going to Teaching Textbooks.

For the little boys, I believe we are going back to a Before Five in a Row type of approach - don't know what the "formal" name for that is. We have Little Hands to Heaven, but I am finding that I'm breaking my neck to crawl around on the floor like a snake and the little boys could care less!!! They just want to read books and the Bible, color, and glue beans to paper letters. Oh, and we did a cool thing the other day where I showed them how to make shadows, simply because B.3.5.B, was really intrigued by the shadow in this book. It was so fun and so little work!!! So, I know that we will keep some of the components of the curriculum, just not do "it all".

And even though we aren't following a particular curriculum, I have more peace than anytime in our homeschool career. And I truly believe that we are listening to God for our homeschool. So, that's why we are on our way to heavenly homeschooling. Yes, there will still be rough days, but I think that hearing God for our school will give the rewards and meet all the learning styles that we are missing with what we are currently doing. I miss being with my kids in the afternoon. I just don't want to look back and have regrets. I've removed the whole "perfect homeschool mom" picture completely from my brain, and am now just trying to see this through Jesus' eyes.

The "perfect" thing about this method, is that when Mama is tired and 8 weeks pregnant, or 37 weeks pregnant, we can just sit on the couch, snuggle, and read together!! Now, those are precious memories!!!

3 comments :

Big P said...

Thank you very much for taking the time and energy teaching and raising our children. I know that it is difficult to make wise choices for our children, because you care so much about them. if you did not care, then this would be very easy. I love you very much darling.

Becca said...

We don't use one particular curriculum either. We use Sonlight, Geurber history books, we've got three different math programs going for three different kids, & etc. A little bit of this and that makes for a HAPPY Mama! ;-)

Love,
Becca

Jerri Phillips said...

Christine,
I could write a novel on the whole homeschooling thing and the many "boxes" I've tried out. Ultimately, it all comes down to this--they are God's children first, and since He created them for His purpose, He knows what they need to learn and how they need to learn it. And fitting in a box is one thing He is not.

I used to try to do weeks of lesson plans in advance, and they always went to pot somewhere. Now, I try to do a week in advance so I can know I have the materials on hand. Sometimes even those go to pot.

I've learned to ask questions, not just provide answers. "Lord, what do you want them to learn?" Sometimes it's multiplication tables. Sometimes it's that He is with them and can do mighty things through them even when they struggle with multiplication tables. Both are good lessons, but the second builds faith and character and turns their eyes to Him. Ultimately, what better lesson can I offer-Do your best and trust God to cover you. Your weakness His perfect in His strength, and His grace is always sufficient.

This is a fabulous post, and a huge show of faith. Your children are so blessed!

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