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!