aiming for heaven

michelle has asked for a little rejuvenation with regards to homeschooling. i once wrote a post about what kind of homeschooler i was, but these questions are a little more specific and they have to do with “education”. and since a recent question posed to my daughter from a female relative, wherein she was asked “do you really learn anything?”  because my darling daughter mentioned that sometimes she doesn’t get up until 9 o’clock~i have especially had “education” and what it IS on my mind for the past week or so.

question #1: “what have you read?”

the well-trained mind by susan wise bauer

 educating the whole-hearted child by clay and sally clarkson

 catholic homeschooling by mary kay clark

 the “what your_______grader should know” books

 a charlotte mason companion by karen andreola

 a mother’s rule of life by holly pierlot

 things we wish we’d known compiled by bill and diana waring

 you can teach your child successfully by ruth beechick.

question #2: “what is your experience?’

 i have been homeschooling for 9 years. my oldest just entered 9th grade at a local charter school. he goes 3 days a week and does school at home the other 2 days. my middle two take “enrichment” classes at the same school and they are elective related: science, art, photography, etc. my 4 yo is doing “pre-school” here at home, but i will probably enroll him in a few classes in the fall, with the core subjects being taught at home.

question #3: “how have your ideas about education evolved and changed over time (if they have)?”

my ideas seem to always be evolving and changing with the seasons and even life itself. i know that i was very paranoid in the beginning that my children wouldn’t be “learning enough”, fearful that everyone was “measuring” them as they are the only children in our family who are homeschooled-on both sides. i had to deal with doubts that i was giving them a sub-standard education, after all i am certainly not a “credentialed” “teacher”, right?

question #4: “why did you choose to homeschool?”

i didn’t really choose to homeschool. my parents suggested that i try it out when oldest son was getting ready to start kindergarten. we could’ve afforded catholic school at that point, but i would’ve had to continue working. but then there were issues with the proximity of the nearest catholic school-it was about 30 mins away-in the opposite direction of my job. and then after the birth of our daughter, we suddenly had 3 kids and it was pretty much decided that i couldn’t go back to work at that point. even though i loved my job as a paralegal at a family law office, i loved my kids more. and so homeschooling just sort of happened and we never looked back.

question #5: “what’s working, what’s not?’

what’s working: with the grace of God, anything that He wills can work with our cooperation and lots of prayer. and i know that in our case, He willed homeschooling for us. i love teaching, i love learning, i love being home and so, for me, this was my calling, my vocation. there has never been any doubt in my mind.

and so with that being said~ real learning works. lots of reading real books, listening to classical music, nature exposure, hands on gardening, cooking, doing many, many things with our hands, trips to the library, museums, parks, science experiments in the front yard, catching bugs, lizards and lady bugs and then reading books and drawing pictures about the places we’ve been, discussing the things we’ve seen, discovering great artists and trying their own hands at a painting, sketch or drawing of their own… to me, education is all about the senses: seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting. exciting their little minds to the beauty in the world around us and always, always reminding them WHO is behind it all. making as much as we can- faith based and instilling in their hearts a love for God, for the Church, the saints, the Blessed Mother and of course, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.and so i don’t go on and on, as my word count is over 800 already. that is my whole philosophy of “education” and what workds in a nutshell. and i’ll end with my daughters’ words to said female relative: “are you kidding me? we learn tons of things……..”

what’s not working: oh, sometimes the lack of structure that we have around here. there are many reasons behind it, often it is just because life is what happens while you are busy making plans, so too many “plans” don’t work for me. we are very spontaneous and while it is not always good, many things have changed the way i think about “education” and what it IS. i don’t do too many “workbooks” anymore or purchase every curriculum i come across. i used to think that was IT, that was the key to a good education, but it just isn’t. especially when your aim is HEAVEN!

and in the end, that is my aim. isn’t it yours? after all, learning is and should be life long, but eternity is, well, it is eternal!

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10 responses to “aiming for heaven

  1. I think you have done very well for yourselves. Keep doing what is best for your kids – only you know that! God bless you!

  2. I enjoy hearing the reasons why families homeschool and everything about their decision to continue. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It makes my blood boil when people try to quiz the kids on what they know. How rude to ask if they actually learn anything! I have an aunt here that insists on calling our co-op classes school. Since we’re going some place to learn then only that could be school!
    I think it’s great that your parents suggested you try it. I think mine are still skeptical of it, but have learned not to say anything.
    I think you are doing a great job. There is so much more to life than just formal learning at a desk!

  4. It seems like you’ve got it “all together”!! People have told me that I appear to have it “all together” and I think… “Boy, don’t I have them fooled!” But, in all honesty… home-educating our family is a total blessing! We are able to take off and travel with Pops when he is on the road for work… without “home” school we would have missed out on SO much because of a schedule set by a school district. We feel blessed to take advantage of going to some pretty neat places… and you can’t tell me that learning in the “off-season” at a National Park isn’t REAL! Anyway, I am so miffed when people quiz my kids about what they are learning, too. We do some worksheets in order to finish what we start out in a year… but, most of our learning is done without worksheets or texts. So, my kids sometimes get to talking with people about things and then say, but we are homeschooled and we don’t do school all that much. The “stranger” looks at them and usually laughs and looks at me and says, “You sure have them fooled!” So, we learn in ways that are fun – just like adults like to learn! I wish that we didn’t have to be questioned about it all, though. I wish that when we went to the grocery store during school hours and I am showing them unit pricing or something similar that we wouldn’t be looked at over the top of some old gal’s glasses. I wish that when the kids are helping to pay for the groceries at the register the cashier wouldn’t say, “why aren’t you in school today?” Uh… they are doing their math lesson, right now. Please don’t interrupt their mental space while they are figuring out which coins are needed to fill that $0.87 after they found the ten spot in my wallet.

    I have to say that evolving ideas of education are very interesting – of ANYONE who really spends any time thinking about it. BEYOND considering time schedules of local schools, anyway! I have talked with my rather skeptical mother-in-law and it was funny that she really has ideas of her own, but didn’t really think them through in a way that would point her to the conclusion that sometimes teachers and schools don’t have it “right” for every kid and therefore a mom and dad teaching their individual kids can and does make sense!!

    I am enjoying reading your blog – thanks for coming by to see mine! I’ll consider finding some fun birthdays to share in April… right after I find the bottoms of my laundry baskets! Why do we do all this laundry – wash, fold and then no one seems to think that putting their clothes away is a good idea?!! Today I will have to get out my cattle prod… ok, ok the cattle prod is thousands of miles away at the in-law’s house… perhaps I will hold lunchtime over their heads to see if that gets any clothing put away!?!?

    OK – I have filled up MORE than my fair share of your comment space!

  5. Thanks for sharing your homeschool philosophy. I enjoyed reading it. My favorite part was when you talked about your ultimate goal: to help your kids get to Heaven. That is the most important in the end. Even though I don’t homeschool, I think we have chosen the right education for our kids: a very small traditional Catholic school. I love going to the parent meetings and hearing the principal talk about learning … but more so talk about how their main objective is to help our kids become citizens of Heaven. How often do you hear that at a school meeting?! It confirms that they are in the right place. God bless you and your family! P.S. I also loved your daughter’s response =) That should be confirmation for you that you’re doing a great job!

  6. I’m very proud of you, because I think they are the smartest kids, and it’s all because of you.
    remember they told me about amadextrics , ha ha you know what I’m trying to say.

  7. Great post, Regan. I keep my list of reasons why I homeschool posted in the schoolroom. It’s a good reminder, especially on those days–or weeks–when I am consumed with guilt thinking that my kids must surely be behind those enrolled in regular schools. Because I haven’t yet put them on a sidebar of my blog (I ought to), here they are:

    Why We Home School

    To raise up souls for Heaven, not for Harvard,
    To teach in a way we would like to have been taught,
    To be truly involved in our children’s education,
    To preserve their purity and innocence,
    To teach them to resist the spirit of the World,
    To protect them from physical dangers and keep them near,
    To shield them from negative peer pressure,
    To instill in them a love of learning and of Holy Mother Church,
    Because we know our children and can individualize their curriculum,
    Because God has entrusted them to us, bodies and souls, and we have a grave obligation to Him and to them,
    Because they are the future of humanity and of the Church,
    Because we love them beyond measure.

    When I read this list I realize that although my kids may be a bit behind academically in a couple of areas, I have fulfilled the goals I set out to when I began walking this road with them.

  8. I wish people would not be so weird on how others raise their children. The fact that I had 4 kids raised so many eyebrows.

    I love being outdoors also. Wish we could get spring to come so I could smell some dirt.

  9. Thanks for sharing, Regan. Our approach is very different, but our goal is the same!

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