I’ve always wanted to say that. Comes of taking too many computer classes.
That’s right, I’ve gotten back onto the homeschooling wagon. This past year, I’ve been taking it easy, more like “unschooling” than homeschooling. With my oldest, Jonathan, off at a private Christian school every day, I’ve had so much time to just enjoy my girls, get my house clean, attend a Bible study, etc. Factor in adjusting to a completely new environment, moving from house-bound cabin fever winters in Saskatchewan to “What winter?” California, and I don’t blame me for finding time to garden in December instead of homeschool. Plus, my girls are still pre-school so add some alphabet activities in and it’s like they’re in school! Well. I have finally decided to be more intentional about schooling, even though there’s only a couple of months left before “summer” time.
Homeschooling philosophy is something that I’ve read books about, but wanted to think over again. I admire Dorothy Sayers more than I will write about right now, which tends to give me positive feelings about one of her pet projects, reviving the “Trivium” (the basis for the Classical Education philosophy of many home and public schools). When I was researching philosophies I found the one espoused by Charlotte Mason to be very compelling (here’s a review I wrote on a Mason-inspired book), with her emphasis on reading “living books” and outdoors time. I tend to throw the kids outside to play for good chunks of the day, although that’s not quite what the philosophy would advise. But my children are all well-acquainted with bugs, snails, gardening and just lazing in the sun (oh, how much I love being able to hang laundry to dry outside!!!!). Last year I bought the KONOS curriculum Unit 1, which is a unit-study based on encouraging Christian moral traits (obedience, etc). So it seems that my interests are all over the board, which would make me an “eclectic” homeschooler if I used them all at once!
What I am actually doing right now is trying to cover 2 letters a week using My Best Handwriting worksheets, which organizes letters by what direction the pencil moves to make the letter. It seems a good approach to me. By practicing two a week we’ll be done by June. My 5 y.o. already knows all the letters by sight, so I’m focusing on learning how to write them correctly and the sounds they make. My 3 y.o. is along for the ride, and it seems to be helping her motor control and confidence. I am also covering one number a week. I will be using Singapore Math ‘s Earlybird Pre-school books 1A and 1B to introduce math concepts. And finally, I will be using KONOS’s obedience unit to help structure the Bible verse to memorize and the extra material for the week. This should cover the basics til June. As I’m only teaching them in 10-20 minute blocks of time, there’s still lots of time for fun stuff (I get them to play subversively educational games on the computer), play time for their make-believe games inside and outside, and for me to get all that other stuff done! I’ve decided that while I want to get my girlies more educated, it’s still important to me to get out of the house and to get the house cleaned. Oh, and not to mention the half-hour I spend every night helping my son with his Kindergarten homework (and I thought putting him in a school let me off the hook!). So that’s where we are right now. I may change things up for next year, depending on whether or not Eliana is in a Kindergarten class.
Oh, and one last thing. The philosophies link has a useful distinction between homeschooling emphases. We are not homeschooling because of a concern for social action, a more self-reliant lifestyle, restoration of the church, or special care. As potential missionaries, we simply see it as a real possibility that in a few years, we wouldn’t have any other choice, so we (I) want to become prepared for that possibility now. Pragmatic, that’s me! Although I find the call for Biblical homeschooling from people like R.C. Sproul, Jr. also compelling. =)