Tuesday, August 25

Home Education

"..we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school" - Ivan Illich

Of all the personal objections to home education we hear, the biggest has to be that the parent(s) don't think they could do it. They don't think they're smart enough, they don't have the time, they don't want to....

One older mom recently looked at me, with large eyes, and shook her head in amazement. "How in the world will you EVER do it this year? You have five kids now!"

I quickly replied that I have it easy, with just five kids since teachers now have classrooms with thirty kids to teach!

Her mouth formed a little "o".

Teaching our kids at home these early years has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. It is so simple too, taking only a few hours a day.

Here's what our lessons look like.

Our day begins with breakfast and chores. Circle time begins at 9 0'clock, which gives everyone plenty of time for out door chores, tidying bedrooms and eating breakfast.

We have circle time for about an half hour to an hour and then the kids pull their first activities from their workboxes. They sit around the dining room table and I keep close by, helping them as they go and keeping an eye on Chase as he toddles around, grabs random unripe cherry tomatoes and leaves a trail of them with bite marks for me.

Somewhere in there I plan out what needs to be done for dinner and try to get all the prep work for that completed. I also run about doing laundry and entertaining Chase, while tidying up our home so he can untidy it again. Such is life with a toddler.

After the kids work through their workboxes (they each have six), they can get up and work on chores or play quietly.

Usually by this time its time for a walk or playing outside. Then lunch.

We do history and science as a group and science falls as the last activity since it is usually a project. Today its poking constellation holes in a piece of black paper, taping it to the open side of a box and shining a flashlight through it in a dark room to make our own constellations.

Our afternoons are filled with play (phys. ed), trips to the library, chasing down educational rabbit trails and more laid back, child led learning. The younger two take naps, I work on what I need to as I can and before I know it, Sean is home and dinner is on the table.

Somewhere in the middle of this routine over the years, we've gotten to be very close with our kids, which is invaluable to me, they've begun to absorb a Christ centered world view, which is required of Sean and I as parents.

Of course there are hard days, tiring days but those are not the norm. They come and you pick yourself off and brush your emotions off and remember where your strength comes from and go on.

It's a pretty cool life.


Annie said...

Great post!! Makes me even more excited about home schooling.

About a year ago, I was neck-deep in sleep deprivation (my youngest son is Chase's age), and looking for example of large families, as I could not at the time imagine having more than the two I was raising.

Unexpectedly, I learned thru your blog and a couple others (but mostly yours) about home schooling.

Over this past year, I've joined my husband (he usually has the best ideas to begin w/... then I co-opt them and present them as my own) in being committed to home schooling our kids.

Still, I've often wondered what a day would look like. Now, pregnant with our third (and our second with special needs, as this baby has spina bifida just like our first son does), I am so excited to home school, and to homestead as well.

Anyway, thank you for these glimpses into such a life. Best to you,

Christi said...

Our day is very similar to yours - minus the chasing after a toddler! ;-)

I so agree on the getting close with your children & a Christ centered world view... it's so important!

I love being with my boys; I couldn't imagine sending them away for 8 hours a day.

Thanks for sharing what your day looks like!

Unknown said...

I love the way you mix conventional education (math, english, etc.) with creative self-teaching.

And you make it seem so simple and fun! This post is so encouraging because it makes me think that maybe I can do the same thing when I have children who are school age.

Anonymous said...

It sounds wonderful... If times were different, ( money wise ) I would love to do this... I want to take what my children learn in public school and expand from that, since I cannot completly home school them.
I am so thank ful that you are back, I have gleaned so much from your writings..

sue in NJ

Anonymous said...

love the quote you begin this part with!

Me said...

Annie, kudos to you for parenting and choosing to homeschool special needs kids on top of sleep deprivation! Take is slow and easy. One thing I love about home schooling is that the schedule can change from day to day if need be with doctors appointments, grouchy children, grouchy Mama...

Christi, I'm trying to really enjoy these toddler days as they last but boy are they tiring!

Jennifer - sure you can! And there are people who are much more inspiring and creative than me. I'll have to link to a few...

Sue, great job on being an involved parent. I know it will make a world of a difference in your children's education!