Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Home School Open House
I just caught on to a very interesting carnival taking place at Tiany's blog, Less of Me ~ More of Him. I'd never seen her blog before I followed a link over to this carnival, but I really like her title! ;) The idea is to tell about your homeschool. While we are not Super Homeschoolers, I'd still like to join in. I've been reading participating blogs here and there and gleaning some insight into how others manage their homes, and learning quite a bit along the way.
For those who've never been to my blog before, I'll introduce our family. My husband Wes and I have been married for almost 23 years, and are the parents of three teens - Samuel, age 18; Andrew, age 16; and Beth, age 14. We are originally from the southern US, but now live in Canada where Wes pastors a small church. We've been homeschooling officially since the fall of 1999, which means we're beginning our ninth year of schooling. I had homeschooled Samuel for K-4,5, first and second grades. Then our church began a Christian school and my husband, being the assistant pastor, became the principal/supervisor/teacher - everything! For two years, Samuel and Andrew attended the Christian school at the church. During that time, Wes attended several training seminars for the curriculum used at the school, and the Lord began to convict him that we should homeschool our own children, mainly because of the Scriptural mandate that parents teach their children "when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deuteronomy 6:7 After a talk with our pastor, we began homeschooling our own children while Wes remained principal of the Christian school! Talk about confusing! LOL But we knew we were in the Lord's will in both situations.
Our Homeschool Day
I must admit that our homeschool days have become quite relaxed. We usually have breakfast around 8:30-9:00, then the two kids still at home do their jobs to help with the housework while I clean up the breakfast dishes (our older son graduated in 2006, and has been working to save for Bible college, which he begins in three weeks). Both kids work on school in the mornings, and are usually finished for the day by early afternoon. We eat our main meal in the middle of the day, and after that the kids finish up any work they might have left. We don't have a strict schedule, as you can see, but I am considering going back to a more detailed plan this year - last year some of the work got away from me and I couldn't get us on track well enough to complete everything by the end of the year (we moved into a new house in May, for one thing). So we'll be working on the second half of some of last year's courses.
For Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science, we use Alpha Omega's Switched-On Schoohouse. We've been using this curriculum for about six years, and we like it for these core subjects. For Math, we use Saxon, and for Bible, my husband customizes a curriculum using Bible studies and books that he has in his personal library. This year and next Andrew will be working on college-level Bible Doctrines, and Beth will finish working on Proverbs from Landmark's Freedom Baptist Curriculum and then doing a Bible study using the book The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. For electives, Andrew will be taking sign language, and Beth will be taking home economics based on the seven-year curriculum Training Our Daughters to be Keepers at Home. She'll focus on personal finances, cooking & baking, cardmaking, sewing, and gardening.
Where We School
This one's easy! We school at the computer for the three core subjects, and they usually do their non-computer courses on their beds or at the dining room table (more often on their beds!). Wes was a computer programmer in the US Air Force before entering the ministry, so our kids have been around computers all their lives, and Wes has been able to piece together computers for each of them to use for their schoolwork.
Tips to Share
I don't feel that I have all that much to share in the way of advice. We aren't die-hard, sold-out, turn-the-whole-house-into-a-schoolroom type homeschoolers. We get the work done and do the work of the ministry the Lord has given us, and meld the two together as much as possible. The only thing I can say with confidence is that homeschooling takes work, no matter what curriculum you use - or don't use. It takes consistency and commitment. Have I always been consistent? No! Have I blown it sometimes? Many times! The only thing that keeps me going is that we are doing this by conviction, not convenience. I've found it helpful to get up and completely dressed before the rest of the family is up, and to keep up with my quiet time with the Lord. If either of those two things is missing, the days don't run as smoothly! I also discovered this past year that I must have a written plan for the non-SOS subjects, because I need that visual reminder of where we should be at any given time during the year; but of course, most homeschoolers don't use a pre-planned curriculum anyway, so you probably already know that!
So that's our homeschool, for what it's worth. I once had a relative who is a teacher bemoan the fact that she couldn't teach her students what she felt they needed, because she had to teach with the goal of her students passing a standardized test. I praise the Lord that I can teach our children what they need - and also what interests them, such as music or computer graphics - without having to worry about whether or not they'll pass the state test! Our home state is Texas, which is very homeschool-friendly, and we have complete freedom here in British Columbia to teach our children at home as well.