Thursday, August 18

Not back to School part 1

We receive a lot of questions about home education in emails, from strangers out in public, and friends at church. Every home educating family is different, but here is how homeschool *goodness* works for us.

First, we've had to unlearn the public and private school standard ways of operation. There is a reason, besides crammed classrooms, that students aren't learning in America. Two great books on the topic of teaching and learning are A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Demille and Every Child Has a Thinking Style by Lanne Nakone. You can find these on my sidebar along with some of my other favorites for giving our children a love of learning.

We live in NY and have pretty stringent laws governing our home education. We send in quarterly reports and lesson plans for the younger grades and begin standardized testing starting in third grade. This is our fourth year having completed standardized tests - we've used the PASS test, the CAT test and the TAKS test and I find them to be a hoop to jump through and a poor judge of what a child has learned. My public school teachers literally taught from the test the last month or so before it was administered and I am always shocked at how dumbed down the actual tests are. Every homeschooling mamaI know loves it when our kids ace these, I must admit. The current TAKS test, which we've been using because it is available free online, actually gives math formulas at the beginning of the math portion of the test to refer to in problem solving. I don't let my kids refer back to these 'cause I'm such a mean mama. Actually, my kids don't even know they are there.

As Christian parents, we ask ourselves a few things.

1. What is my duty before God regarding my child's education?

2. How does this child learn best?
3. How can we best incorporate our goals as a family into our children's education?

4. How can I best give my children a life long *love* of learning?

5. How can we best "train our children in the way they should go" - speaking to the natural bent God has given each of them.

Those are heavy questions and involve a lot when multiplied times the number of children in a home. But God doesn't call us to the easy and when He sets a job before us He is faithful to equip us. So it is even with home education.

Here's the good news: learning does not have to be boring and repetitive as it was when I was doing year after year of ABEKA (so sorry ABEKA, nothing personal, the appeasing part of my personality reeeaally wants to like you) in private school or either too easy or too difficult, as it often was when I was in pub. school.

Over the next week, I'll share a bit about each of the above questions we ask ourselves and I'll also share practical ways that work in our busy home. I hope you'll all join in the conversation!


Sally said...

I've got my milk and cookies ready! I always enjoy your insight, and thank you for the time that you commit to this space so that we can all learn and grow!

Asiyah said...

I'm contemplating homeschooling my kids so I'm looking forward to your posts!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posing these important questions about educating children in such an inclusive manner so that Jews and Muslims can also enter into the conversation, as well as Christians. I look forward to checking back to your blog and reading more. Blessings to you and your family!

Unknown said...

I would love to hear what you have to say! I am pregnant right now, and my husband and I would love to homeschool our child(ren) when old enough. I will definitely be checking back throughout the week! Thank you!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Yes, yes, yes!

I agree, can you tell?


Rebecca said...

If you have never read John Taylor Gatto on the subject of our failing education system, you ought to. He is great.

I too was taught in order to do well on tests, which resulted in my being a straight A student through highschool and then being a student once again as I home educate my own children. I did not retain a LICK.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

(Hi, btw. Don't know that I have commented here before. Just recently found you. Homesteading/homeeducating/homebusinessing//homeiswheretheheartis Mama of four here. Rebecca, for short. hehehe)

Renee said...

This sounds awesome and I look forward to learning some from you. My kids are going into 1st grade and then Kindergarten. My Kindergarten boy is very quick at learning and really will be doing most of what my 1st grader is doing. I have thought about Abeka, but it just look not real exciting.

Tiff said...

I'm looking forward to reading more of your homeschooling journey. I just sent off the letters of intent to homeschool 2 of my 7 children(8th grade and K). My oldest just graduated high school, I have one entering 11th grade, one in 5th, one in 3rd, and an 18month old. I would love to homeschool the 3rd and 5th grader next year too, but this year I thought I should just start off with two and see how I do. I'm so nervous, but i know in my heart that I am doing the right thing.

Ways of Zion said...

Oh, this is such a teasing post! I am really looking forward to the rest of them. We do send our children to a small (30 odd kids) school run by our ecclesia....but I am noticing how different our kids learn from each other. the one I just cannot figure out...any books you can recommend on that?

Googs said...

It is nice when this time of year gives us a chance to reflect on our decisions to home educate our children. Thankfully, we live in Idaho, were we have the least amount of homeschool laws or interference. I am so thankful that I don't have to educate my children to tests.

I, too, am looking forward to your posts. You have never disappointed!!

Nicci Lynn said...

RIght there with you - Abeka BORED my oldest to tears! It was thrown aside VERY quickly! The world is our classroom - I love that since I teach my children and know what they have learned I can make even simple outings (like the grocery store) into learning experiences for my kids.

Nic @