The last post I talked about our goal of homeschooling rather than just simply bringing school into our home. Now I am going to talk about what this looks like for us, practically.
We have long ago found that the best cirriculum is something that most of us, who are Christians, have in our home....even several of them. Yes, it's the Bible! We have always had the Bible as part of our home schooling, but not to the extent that it is now. Now to us, reading and studying the Bible is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of our schooling. We do not go into our regular subjects in a day without first doing our memory verses and devotions. (An exception would be when the boys get up early they will start on a subject while waiting for me to join them.) The reasoning for this is that we want our children to know that even though knowledge is important, the wisdom of God is the most important thing in our lives. Head knowledge should never replace heart wisdom. And the reason we do it first thing is I found too many times, if we waited until later on in the morning, it would be pushed by the wayside because we ran out of time.
We have done many things over the years for our devotional time. This year the older girls are doing studies on their own like So Much More, Do Hard Things, Christian Character. And with the younger ones I have been going through Created for Work and Boyhood and Beyond. Every week the younger ones memorize a new scripture verse. (the older girls work at this on their own). The boys copy the verse on worksheets that I make here. And just recently, because I know how much easier it is to memorize a verse and reference to music, I have been putting together a song for each verse. The kids love it, and learn it so much quicker (and I do too!!!) Just a side note here, besides the spiritual benefit, memorizing and copying scriprture verses is a very good way to sharpen memory skills, practice penmanship, spelling and sentence structure. We are also learning the books of the Bible, so we go through that too. (You can find some great songs online to teach this). Now this part of our day may only take a few minutes or it may take much longer. I never want to rush this, laying this foundation in their lives is the most important thing. So we take our time if we need to.
Some of you have asked me in the past what curriculum I am using, and to tell the truth hesitate to do tell you. Why? I guess I know, from experience, how this works. Someone comes, tells you what they are using, you get all excited about it, get it, use it, HATE it!!!! or in some rare cases....LOVE it! But I have come to realize that we are all at different places in our homeschooling. Some of us have babies, toddlers, elementary, high school or all of the above. And so what is working for me, might not work at all for you. And that's OK, God doesn't make cookie cutter families. Also there is a LOT of stuff out there, and I have by no means been able to try near all of it. But I will list what we use, not to convince you to try it or to change the way you do things....rather just for information sake.
So here is what we using this year for things like Math and Language Arts : Saxon Math, 100 Easy Lessons To Teach Your Child To Read, Spectrum Workbooks (Phonics, Spelling, Reading), Pathway Readers, Editor in Chief, and Calculadder. For our older children we require a missionary biography to be read once every 2 or 3 weeks (depending on their work load at the time) and a book report.
Now let me say something here about text books and curriculum. We are not ones to say school is done for the year when the book is done. Someone said to me years ago, "If you finish a text book, then the writers have failed you because they didn't give you enough material!" I don't judge our year being done on our books being completed. And I don't go from cover to cover. There are times where I skip some. I will not work through a book cover to cover just to "do so". We use text books as a tool, they do not dictate our schedule.
And for Science and Geography for the younger ones we mostly read-out-loud what I call "Educational Books" and these topics vary from ocean life, weather, plants, experiments, countries, inventions, creation, etc. We also have a lot of science related DVD's that we like to watch once in awhile. This year the older girls have done some of the Wonders of Creation Series. And last, but definitely not least (because it's my favorite), over the years we have done some lap books. Even though these are quite labor intensive, the kids have a blast and even learn a lot in the process :)
We start school around 8:30 or 9:00. I do have a schedule of times and subjects for each child. But this is only a guideline. Let's face it, there are just times when a certain subject just takes longer. I am not into cutting off in the middle of teaching a concept just because time is up! Or there are times when a baby needs nursing, toddler need extra attention, or a child needs some one on one. I can't predict what is going to happen in my morning, but a schedule helps me to keep on track. With this many children doing school (7 this year) I can't rely on my memory to cover all the bases!!! I love schedules, but I have learned to not let them run me. Rather I use them as a guide.
So that covers our "book work" part of schooling. Any questions?
But this is only a very small part of what we consider "school" around here. In the next post I am going to talk about the kind of learning that never grows old. I can hardly wait :) So until next time :)