Why we do what we do
Meet Lily. She’s our spunky first-born. She is stubborn, fiercely loyal, sweet, frustratingly slow, amazing, talented, opinionated, gullible and the list could just keep going. You get the picture…she’s pretty awesome! When it started to dawn on us that traditional school wasn’t going to work for her (at least for a little while) we decided to explore the homeschooling option.
After many phone calls and meet-ups with some friends….meetings and conversations where I tried to have them convince me there was NO way I should consider homeschooling. Like at all. Because afterall, that’s for the unsocialized, weirdo, stare-at-the-floor, odd-clothing-wearing people. That’s not me. I don’t have a general disdain for public education. I am not a trailblazer. I don’t buck the system. Definitely not when it comes to their education. I mean, who has time for that, right?
Well, apparently we do.
And can I just tell you that it was the BEST decision we ever made? Like, for reals. Not kidding you. At night we used to fight with my sweet Lily about homework. Because we had a strict schedule and we had to eat and she had to, of course, take a bath and get ready to school the next day. I was deathly afraid that she was going to be the source of hair loss for me if we homeschooled. Surely I would pull all my hair out. Surely I would fail and fall miserably on my face and then I’d be the laughing stock of the entire neighborhood. All sorts of fears flooded me. And also I had some pie. You know, the humble kind? The one where you remember saying OUT LOUD to others, “Yeah, that homeschooling thing. I mean, it’s cool and all, but good for them. Definitely not my cup of tea.” Again with the not joking. Totally came out of my mouth a few times. I’m like the poster child for the least likely person to homeschool.
But then we weighed the pros and cons. We weighed our options. And it was clear. We had to give it a shot.
Giving it a shot has landed me 3 years later with both kids home. Lily is 9 and Ben is 7. I’d tell you what school grade they were in but they overlap so much with the things they excel at or struggle with that a grade is just a number.
We are part of a faith-based co-op school that meets 2x a week. We love it there. The kids have some organized discussion classes that help me get a break and help them…well, get a break from me, too.
I’ve been asked by a few friends recently to share what our days look like now that I’m an ole pro — I seriously hope you heard how sarcastically I said that. Please tell me you heard it?!
General Routine ::
- Breakfast and begin reading/talking about Jesus / Sing Along to a Worship Song / I read our devotional passage (currently Galations about the fruit of the Spirit and John) / Pray
- Something hands-on (drawing, painting, clay, embroidery, coloring) while I read aloud from one of our books we are going through : Just finished Hatchet and are halfway through Julie of the Wolves. So much love for both.
- Writing or copywork (this can be an assignment from co-op school or something I give them; for my 7 year old I typically give him optional topics or he can write and draw in his Archer Journal or he copies a hymn we are working on. Currently Be Thou My Vision.
- Math : We have been struggling here. Options for us: a game (I’m gonna do a post about this alone), Singapore Math pages, Dreambox, Kahn Academy, Homemade Math I’ve recently discovered)
- History (Story of the World is what we have used the last 2 years) but we are starting to morph into a more Charlotte Mason approach in the fall.
I’m trying to wrap up most of what we need to do by noon to leave time for play and for us to sort of do whatever it is we find ourselves interested in. Some of those loves are:
- Wild Explorers Club (click link for info)
- American Heritage Girls (click link for info)
- Nature Journaling
- Birding which includes using binoculars, taking DSLR hi-res images, hiking
- Science reading and experiments
- Memory game
- Library time
- Free draw
Generally we let the afternoons take us where they do. As I think about this fall and all the options before us, we have decided to pull back from the more classical approach and have some plans to dive into the Charlotte Mason education teachings (using Ambelside Online as our guide) this summer and fall. I’m really excited and scare all packaged up in a box with a nice bow on top.
The aspects of Charlotte Mason’s approach that I am the most excited about is giving the kids free time outdoors, reading living books as part of our history lessons and doing more read-alouds with narration. I am still a long way off from all that I need to know to better teach my precious souls, but in another sense I’m perfectly equipped to be their educator. My husband and I know them better than anyone. We know what bothers them. We know how their minds work. We know what they love and hate and everything in between.
I’m really excited about this new adventure and all that it will bring into our lives. I’m looking forward to posting weekly updates on things we do and what life looks like.
Also, there’s a community that has been wonderfully encouraging for me and if you are in need of something to inspire, equip and make you feel like you are not alone, then definitely check out Wild + Free. They are a breath of fresh air. Recently I had a chance to write an article for them about my homeschooling and working gig and how we make it all work. They offer a monthly subscription full of monthly magazines, podcasts, resources galore and annual conferences. I highly recommend you check them out if you homeschool and need some kindred spirits.
So that’s us in a very large nutshell. Hope it’s encouraging for you!