Technically the kids are done with the official school year, but we are doing a lot of things to keeps their minds sharp. The crazy weather this year has really thrown us for a loop so we haven’t done all the field trips I had planned. It snowed yesterday, seriously, it snowed in May. We have not planted our garden yet, but it is dug up and ready to go. Chris dug it up while I recovered from surgery so me and the kids could prepare the soil. It done nothing but rain or snow since. So they get a lot of outdoor play time and explore-time, but we haven’t planted our seedlings yet. Other things we are doing in “summer school” include reading books we didn’t get to during the year. And we are also doing some extra practice in the areas each boy struggled with this year. One of my favorite school break resources has been a book and journal, both called, Who is God? published by Apologia Ministries. We have yet to find a devotional book that reaches all of us and inspires discussion like this book does. In August we’ll have more of a missional focus as we work through a year of My Father’s World: ECC so I am going to get as much out of this book as I can before that and then save the rest for next spring/summer break. In July we will take a few weeks to travel and rest and do absolutely no academics. 🙂
We have a lot of flexibility in our homeschool. Sometimes when we are getting stuck in a rut and truly beginning to dread our work, we shake it up and do something completely different. For the last several years I have pieced together our homeschool using one company for language arts, and another as a supplement, and piecing the two together to make one complete program; and then another company altogether for math. Our science and reading come from unit studies and follow our children’s interests. I am a big fan of tailor-made homeschool and I am happy with our accomplishments, but sometimes flexibility slowly leads to chaos. And then I find myself all over the place. And that’s when I go back to the source…
At the center, and the beginning, and hopefully at the end of our homeschool is the Holy Spirit and in Him, a plan and a goal. We are learning what type of person we want to be in Christ, hearers and doers of the Word. We have a very strong conviction to raise our kids in a way that homeschooling fit into perfectly. We could not raise our children the way the Lord has impressed on our hearts to raise them should we send them to school. If that changes, if I ever become too sick to homeschool or a tragedy happens and I just can’t do it, then I will take advantage of the public school system, but so far that has not been something we’ve needed to do.
In my own life, I recently went through a very similar situation. In heading along on the journey of life and faith, I got a little lost and it felt chaotic. I didn’t know what was true or real anymore and turning to the Lord and the Bible was just what I needed to find my way again. And because the Lord has full access and is the Captain of our homeschool, I submit to His plan when times of chaos or disorientation hit. But there is no bible for homeschoolers… because we are all so different with different styles and values. And our goals are very different. Unlike Christianity, where there is One Truth, homeschoolers have all sorts of goals and reasons.
When I spend time with the Lord and He begins pressing on my heart matters of homeschooling, I take note. Literally, I write the notes down. I like to have a clear statement of goals and direction written down so when it begins to feel like we are all over the place I can refer back to it. And it took about 2 years to find this. In the beginning we didn’t have a philosophy, other than the Lord is the Master of our lives, including the biggest part of our day- homeschooling. And I knew I could provide a solid and above average education for my kindergartener. Since then we have learned so much and added to the list. Here are just some of the important statements we’ve added to our family homeschool “bible.”
~Learning can be fun and we want it to be fun, but not at the expense of their education. My job is not to make life fun for them, but to prepare them for the future. Therefore, we do not give up just because something is hard. We do not move on if a new skill is not mastered and we do the necessary things, even if they seem boring. They are to be prepared for whatever the Lord has in store for them.
~Parts of history, science, math, and language arts are not separated and when I begin to separate them, they are not learned in the context in which they’ll one day be used in real life. For example, writing lessons just for the sake of writing do not work for us. We write when we have something we need to express on paper.
~Two important things I want to remember but often forget are…1) no curriculum matters as much as time together does, When we read together, it is such a precious time. It has become part of our philosophy, to do as much as we can together. 2)Expose the kids to as many different sports, cultures, and skills as time allows and let them decide what they choose to master. They do need to be exposed to these things, but ultimately they decide what they love to do. I had my chance to play the clarinet and to play basketball. Now it’s their turn.
Those are just a few of the many things we’ve learned about ourselves. Assembling these in one place, like a composition book, along with helpful and timely hints from homeschooling pioneers and seasons homeschoolers with kids in college or ministry is like a hs bible. It is to me as a teacher, like a Bible is to me as a Christian.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend.