Homeschool Update

So we are now halfway through the traditional school year. This is the time I start reflecting on the next year. But since I haven’t blogged about our year very much I will do a quick recap.

IMG_8043

We started with My Father’s World (MFW) and it became clear very quickly that Super S my five year old was too academically advanced for the curriculum. He started begging me to make my own units for him and he pleaded to not be forced to do a whole week of the themes that were in MFW. I didn’t want to give up so quickly so I tried to simply supplement the material but it became a drudgery very quickly. It all became clear to me when I introduced the concept of nests and he proceeded to tell me that he knew all about nests and how birds gather materials from their habitat (that is the environment where they live Mom) and they construct a place to lay their eggs then they care for their eggs until the eggs hatch and the parents care for their baby birds in the nests, and different size birds created different nests based on their size. After five minutes I was convinced that a week on nests would be a bit dull and I created a different unit for him. It made me question why we homeschool and it really sent me into a bit of a tail spin. In the end, my answer to why I homeschool is to customize learning for each individual child and utilize their unique learning styles in the lessons they complete. I really want to create a love of learning in my kids because that will serve them for their entire lives. And after much prayer we abandoned MFW in November and it was so freeing.

So what are we doing instead? We have settled on Singapore Math for core math instruction and I have to say that Super S absolutely adores it. It has captured his interest and sparked a real love of learning for Math that is so much fun to watch. For phonics and reading we are using Explode the Code and Bob Books and I have been so pleased with the way they gently build his reading skills. In addition I just introduced sight words which I have mixed feelings about but they have made a world of difference with fluency. We don’t rely on them very heavily but I do feel they round out reading instruction really well. Our extras this year rotate between Spanish, geography (Super S is a geography nut just like I am) and Science.

Which leads us to Bible. This is the subject that I have struggled with the absolute most this year. Which is ironic because it is the most important. I had an issue with MFW K because I felt like themes were over simplified and as a result the truth was compromised to a degree. It also felt really disjointed to me almost like popcorn Bible instruction. I really think that far more effective is learning the stories of the Old and New Testament and focus on the way that God wrote his story through history. Looking at the way that God has made a way for his people time and time again allows faith to grow. God’s character doesn’t change, it is a constant, that is the foundation of faith. And it isn’t complicated or theologically complex, it doesn’t need to be simplified for little people. So that is my goal for the rest of the year. To create meaningful learning experiences that center around stories from the Old Testament.

Where are we going from here? Next year I-man starts a pre-k year and I really think that we are going to use MFW K for his pre-k year substituting Bible instruction for my own. I think that it will be a beautiful gentle introduction to school for him. And he is at a point in his learning that MFW K will work really well. For Super S we are looking into Classical Conversations. The more I look into it, the more I think it will be a great fit for him and I get really excited.

I am always amazed to see how God has been guiding us and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us!

Happy New Year

The whole New Year celebration is always kind of neutral for me. Am I alone? It seems to be one of those holidays that celebrates with noise, and drinking and in the end it all kind of feels hollow to me. It always has. 

However, being an introspective person, there is one part of New Year that I like and that is that collectively the world stops and at least for a moment evaluates their lives. For some people it is a very quick moment, and a half-hearted loosing weight resolution is dispatched and then they move on, but it is a shared moment none the less.

It is always a bit bittersweet for me, maybe more so this year than ever before. This year I found myself looking at my life and it feels so full right now. Little feet running through the house, needing drinks, meals, their clothing picked out, bed time kisses, books read to them, hugs, snuggles and love and almost everything. But I look at my oldest, and those days are numbered for him. He is making that transition from little kid to just plain kid so quickly and my other two are so close behind him and there is part of my that is a little sad just because it is on its way to being over. 

But then there is another perspective that I have because I have two little girls who will forever be babies (at least on this earth). Time will never pass quickly for them because time has left them behind. And what I do have are three incredible little people who God has loaned me for just a brief moment because in the end they are and always have been His, I am just blessed to be able to hold them for a little while. 

And beyond that I am too quick to be completely focused on what is happening here on earth. The truth is, eternity waits. An eternity that doesn’t have goodbyes, or the sadness of passing moments but instead wholeness and joy and the fulfillment of doing what we were created to do. 

So if I could wish anything for the next year it would be that we would hear His voice, that we would be quick to obey His leading, and that we would keep eternity always in our vision. 

And I leave you with 2013 in a little over 2 minutes. God has given me so much and the best is yet to come!
http://fgr.am/f/ewxoSgEFiL