Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Many Faces of Homeschooling

I am in the process of organizing all the children's assignments for the fall. Putting book lists together and writing up assignments. Rethinking our philosophy for the year. It's a big job! It makes me miss my Mother-in Law greatly. She and Dad are too restricted to make the trip this year. She was always my biggest encourager. She would sit and talk with me about all my plans and look at the books I was assigning the children. We would spend a couple hours doing this. She would express her appreciation and insights and it would make me feel really good about the upcoming year and what we were doing. But what exactly is homeschooling?

It has many faces and from year to year my philosophy evolves as the number of students and their ages changes. I am really looking forward to this year. Especially, schooling Elizabeth.
It is something that every family does. How's that you say? Yes, every family is responsible for the education of their children. We just vary in the amount of the schooling that we assign to others. I bring in teachers to instruct the children in music and volley ball. Thomas will be in a debate club this year. We are seeking help with high school writing skills. Some families hand over all the academic training of their children. God leads each family as to His plan for their children.

But honestly, I am more interested in educating than schooling our children. I want them to retain their native curiosity and joy of living. I want them to learn wherever they are, no matter what the clock says. I am desiring to provide them opportunities to learn whether on a field trip,
Or a family vacation,

Or even at a Reformation party at a friend's house. (They got to try stilts and folk dancing.)

We spend a lot of time reading. Not just textbooks but rather living books. Books written by authors who know and love their subjects. 'Twaddle-Free' as Charlotte Mason used to call them. Books that build a thirst for more knowledge.

We try and provide opportunities for sports and recreation. Time to enjoy playing and building relations with other people.

We teach responsibility with chores and household jobs.

Letting children be children. They wrote a play and acted it out with their cousins, just for the joy of it. They designed the costumes and even videotaped parts of it. They had fun and learned painlessly.

The children learn to get along with others of all ages and many practical skills. This is all part of their education.
Do you have a 'bucket list' of things you want to teach your children, not before they or you die, but before they leave your home? You should. What's on your list? No matter where they go to school, remember that the parents are the first and best educators of their children. Get going!!

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