Schooling Options...Homeschooling

Posted by  | Monday, May 25, 2009  at 3:49 AM  
Hi, my name is Dawn and I was asked by my friend Stacey to write about why I chose to homeschool. First of all, let me tell you about my children. My oldest daughter, Leah, is 7 and in the 2nd grade. My second daughter, Hannah, is 5 and in kindergarten. My oldest son, Judah, is 3. And my youngest son, Micah, is 12 months old.


Homeschooling has been on my heart since before my oldest daughter was born. So when she turned five I was really excited to give it a shot. There are a lot of little reasons my husband and I chose to homeschool, but there are two main reasons that helped us make the decision to do it.

The first is simply that I felt I could give my children a better education. Just the fact that I only have four students compared with 20 or 30 in a standard classroom allows for so much more individual teaching time. I can remember times when I was in school when I was bored because the material was too easy as well as times when I was lost because it was too hard. With only four students (one of which sleeps through most of our school day) I can work at the exact right pace with each of them.

I also liked the fact that I could choose the curriculum for my children. I chose to give my children a classical education. In Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise’s book, The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, (which I highly recommend) they define a classical education as being, “language-intensive…history-intensive, providing students with a comprehensive view of human endeavor from the beginning until now. It trains the mind to analyze and draw conclusions. It demands self-discipline. It produces literate, curious, intelligent students who have a wide range of interests and the ability to follow up on them (xx).” That was what I wanted for my children. We cover history from creation to the present time over a period of four years, grades 1 through 4, and then repeat it in grades 5 through 8 and again in grades 9 through 12. At the same time we read works written by and about the people that were alive at that time. This year we have been studying Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin to name a few. I didn’t know who these people were until an embarrassingly few years ago! I am so excited that my children are being exposed to them at such a young age in a manner in which they can understand. Each time we start over at creation the difficulty and work required increases to match their age and ability.

The other main reason we chose to homeschool is because my husband and I wanted to be the primary influencers in our children’s lives. The amount of hours a child spends in a traditional school setting, not to mention in extracurricular activities and with friends, makes this extremely difficult to impossible. We base this on the emphasis the Scripture places on parents’ responsibility to raise and shape their children.

So how do we do it? Practically speaking, we work on a schedule. I don’t know how anyone could homeschool well without a schedule, especially if you have more than one child. I make a schedule out for the day with half hour increments. Another book I would highly recommend is Managers of Their Homes, by Steven and Teri Maxwell. You can look at all of their books at www.Titus2.com. This is where I learned how to schedule our day. I take turns spending one on one time with each of the children. At the same time everyone else has a specific task; it is not a free for all for my three year old, who is technically not in school yet. For example, when I’m doing math with Leah (7), Hannah (5), and Judah (3), color at our dining room table and Micah (12 months) has play pen time. Everyone has a task for every half hour of our school day. This does take quite a bit of time to figure out what to do with a 3-year-old and a 12-month-old for every half hour of our school day, (which is only about 4 hours long) but it is worth it in the long run.

Now, while this may sound nice and neat as if everything goes according to plan, let me assure you it isn’t always the case. There are days when I wonder why in the world anyone would want to homeschool. My children are well behaved children, but they are very normal and there are days when they drive my crazy! I am thankful that on the days when I feel like giving up my husband has been very encouraging and helpful to me. We made the decision together to homeschool and while I do the majority of the teaching, when I am having “one of those days” my husband will take over for me and give me a break. Remember, with homeschooling you make your own schedule so if one Wed. you feel you can’t take another minute of it, put it away and ask your husband for help when he gets home.

There really are very few challenges. We truly enjoy homeschooling and plan to do it until our children graduate. At the same time, I don’t know what the future holds and there may come a time that we feel putting our children in a traditional school setting to be the best option. I do know that at this time it is the best decision for our family.

5 comments:

Leah said...

Dawn,
Thanks so much for sharing. It's wonderful to see your kids growing up - they are so cute! I am looking in to all the homeschooling options and trying to decide what to do. Thanks for a little window into the classical education route.
Leah

Jenny said...

Thanks, Dawn!! So, do you use just one curriculum or are you pulling from different things? I am interested in the classical route, but I'm afraid of the prep and organization of it all- kinda overwhelming to me right now! I would love to know what you use as far as curriculum! Thanks for sharing! Have a great day!

Eric said...

Jenny,

The book I mentioned, The Well-Trained Mind..., is full of resources. I used what the authors most highly recommended and have been very happy. It is a variety of different things. It is more work upfront than others such as Son Light, but it has been worth it. The Story of the World, also written by Wise/Bauer is what we use for history and it pretty much directs everything else. And really it's just more work the first year; after that you just follow the same format as before. Have fun with it! Dawn

Jenny said...

Oh, thank you SOO much!! Have a super Monday!! :)

ChezDeshotels said...

I was homeschooled and thought it was a wonderful experience. I am praying through and right now am planning on homeschooling my daughter three and 4 months. I agree with all the reasons the author homeschools. I am praying for you as you teach your children

AJ

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