Thursday, January 7, 2016

Back to {home}school

Whoops. Just noticed my last post was in September! I had started blogging a bit more back then but I started getting a lot of negative comments and honestly just didn't want to to deal with it at the time. I know that totally comes with the territory of posting anything publicly online but I just was not in the mood! But, I like blogging and enjoy personally going back and reading them so I am going to push least for today, ha! But I digress...

On Monday we kicked off the second semester of our school year. We went with an all new curriculum this year and on our fourth year of homeschooling I think we are starting to find our groove. One big thing I have learned about myself is that (at least in this season) I am not a fan of any sort of academic co-ops. I feel really capable of teaching my children what they need to know at this point and having other people dictate our schedule just doesn't work for me. I prefer to spend our outside of the house time doing things we can't replicate at home... which basically is playing with friends. This year God really provided for that desire in my heart by giving us some friends we meet up with for lunch most Wednesdays and a big group of homeschoolers from our church that we get together with for holiday parties and park playdates. It is the perfect fit for us this year.

I explained back in August in this post that we would be using My Father's World this year. Although we are having a great year I can't decide for sure yet how I feel about this curriculum. My Father's World provides your history, Bible, and science and then you bring in your own math, language arts, and spelling. I love the history part of it so much, the Bible is good, but I am not a fan of the science. So, the challenge for me is that it feels really expensive for just a history curriculum. So, I am not sure what we will do next year but I am thankful we have done it this year. I have loved the books they have chosen though and love reading aloud to my kids. Reading aloud is definitely at the heart of our homeschool. I really think at the end of the day I am a "free spirit" when it comes to educating my kids. My favorite part of homeschooling is the ability to stop and dig in deep when my kids find something they are interested in. So, any curriculum that makes that difficult is not my favorite!

I try to remind myself often that the "pioneer" homeschool moms that fought to make curriculum available to us and get laws passed that protect our homeschooling rights kept things simple. And all of these awesome statistics about how successful homeschoolers grow up to be, came mostly from moms who didn't have fancy curriculum and co-ops but instead diligently kept their children at home, focused on reading, writing and arithmetic, and fostered an attitude of diligence and a love of learning in their children. I will butcher this completely but I can't find the exact quote, but the wonderful author and speaker Sally Clarkson says something like, "if you read excellent books, listen to excellent music, and have excellent conversations with your children you will be raising geniuses." And I know that there is a little more to it than that but that quote really encourages me and keeps me focused!

So here is to a fresh semester and a new year!