Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This is our "school room"

We have a table set up in our family room. A bookshelf on castors that holds our current school materials that we work from. I keep it on the wall out of the way and roll it over to the school table when we need it. A book basket by the tv of picture books that the kids will go to and grab a book from to look over at their leisure (several times a day). And a bookshelf in the hallway at the other end of the house holds materials that may be used for pleasure reading and materials we are not presently using. We also have a closet in the hall that holds any additional materials such as craft supplies and games (no photo of that one)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Some School pictures

Reading to Decklin.

Our Curriculum

SR Kindergarten:

  • Math: Developmental math & Singapore
  • Picture Study: via Language Lessons
  • Science: Sonlight Core B books, Sonlight science K modified, science notebooks, nature walks/nature study, as many animal and bug books as desired
  • Handicrafts: finger painting, card making, drawing, story narrations
  • Habit training: manners and behaviors expected through daily life
  • Life Skills: help set and clear dinner table, help with laundry, clean up play and toy rooms
  • Language Arts: Language Lessons for Little Ones, Explode the code and A reason for handwriting (as a model)
  • History and Bible: Sonlight Core B
SJ Preschool:
  • ABC coloring books
  • Language Lessons for little ones Vol 1, The Code Primer Series
  • listens in on all readings and does her own science notebook
  • does handicrafts, habits and life skills with her sister
Our schedule:
  • Each day as many of Language lessons as SR wishes (usually at least 4), SJ does as many as she wishes as well.
  • Each day: SR does 1-2 pages of ETC, SR about 4 or more (she loves these)
  • Each day: 1 page of Dev Math and 1 page Singapore
  • Sonlight core B: usually do one weeks reading over two days. And science twice a week.
  • Nature walks once a week

Why we homeschool

This is our 3rd "official" year of homeschooling. By official I mean from the day I would actually classify us as homeschoolers in the sense that my husband and I had made a concrete choice to home educate our children. Since we have been doing so since birth, deciding on homeschooling was such a natural and proper progression for us.

Why do you homeschool? This has to be the question most homeschoolers are asked the most (next to the "socialization" question). Why not is what I think when someone asks me. But there are reasons I had jotted down that started us on this journey:

1. I really like our children and I enjoy being around them.

2. Having them out of the house at school 40 hours a week leaves so little time for so much else. School would consume all their energy. They would not only be in school all day but then have homework and projects on top of that at home. Where would family time come in? Where would the joy of being a child be observed? Family would suffer to be sure, relationships would also suffer.

3. No one is going to care for our children the way we do. Nor notice a problem or fix a problem as quickly as we can. We have been homeschooling them from birth and they have already and continue to learn so much from us.

4. Large an unmanageable class sizes are not conducive to learning. So many slip through the cracks. Lack of individualized curriculum or attention in classroom setting is just setting children up to fail.

5. Desire for them to flourish and become confident young women and young men. I feel that we can foster and encourage that more so than a traditional school setting can. We will not make them feel self conscious about becoming young women or men, or uncomfortable in their own skin. Without that pressure of feeling self conscious, the sky is their limit. They will not question themselves. They will be made to feel special and valued and be encouraged to realize and achieve all their dreams.

6. They will not be subjected to peer pressure 40 hours a week to do Drugs, bully or be bullied, join cliques or mourn not being in them, and many other not so favorable activities that go on for so many students in traditional school settings. They will get an actual education. They will retain their innocence and joy of life as well as a good moral foundation. I want them to be kids as long as they can. They should not have to deal with adult issues as children as they are not developmentally or emotionally ready nor should they be. There is no hurry up and grow up.

7. They can learn things via personalized curriculum instead of using material that is geared toward a large classroom. How much fun their learning is when it is not about rote memorization of seemingly meaningless facts, but an exploration begun out of curiosity or interest. They can learn in a way and manner that suits their own learning styles.

8. I want to experience the joy of learning with them. I want to see that light go off when they actually "get" something for the first time. It's like their first smile and first steps.

9. We will foster close and loving family relationships and close sibling friendships which so often get put on the back burner once a child goes off to school each day.

10. We can school at our time, and our pace with the freedom to create a schedule that works for our children and our family. We will not be slaves to the school schedule nor have to drag a miserable child out of bed to go off to school. We can vacation at will, bake cookies at will, and put family and faith above all else. 

11. Our children will know how to socialize with all age groups not just a group of same age peers and see that friends come in all ages, shapes and sizes.

12. For health reasons as my older daughter had a liver transplant we must be more cautious due to her lowered immunity. In a large school setting she would be exposed to being sick a lot of the time. Many parents send their kids to school sick because they do not have other options for childcare. So we would have more illnesses to deal with. This is not at the top of our list as it's not the only deciding factor but it has played a part for us as I'm sure it would for any parent.

Regarding socialization: I think this article by Manfred Zysk really addresses this wonderfully. http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/zysk1.html
No I am definitely not concerned about socialization.