Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homeschool 101

I didn't think it would happen to me. Others, fine, to each their own and all that. But now it has happened to me. Eliana is starting school in the fall, we were thrilled when she got into the school we wanted. And now we are moving. And all the good schools are wait-listed and did drawings for spots months ago.

All that is left is public school. A quick word on that; I am not a public school hate-er. I do believe that the money the schools are given per student is not used where it is most effective (in the CLASSROOM!). I believe teachers unions will be the death of public school. I believe that changes need to be made, they know how to make them, and teachers need to make more money than they do. Teachers have to teach to the lowest common denominator and have too many kids and not enough time or help. All that being said, I doubt any of my kids will attend a public school. I am not a big fan of a lot of Christian school because...well...I am not a big fan of most things labeled "Christian". I love some of the private schools and some of the charters are doing great things but those are not an option either.

And so I am left to home school. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at I time, so I am told. So I started to do what I do, collect information. Here is what I am processing right now, types of homeshool:

Traditional—Textbook/workbook approach, emphasizing reading, writing, grammar, and spelling through drill and practice.

Classical—Following the medieval “trivium,” a child’s education progresses from fundamental facts and skills to logic and advanced language abilities. Students study the great works of Western literature.

Unit studies (instructor-designed thematic studies)—Progress in several disciplines is woven around a particular theme.

Unschooling / Child-directed / Delight-directed—Allowing a child to learn by encouraging and equipping him to pursue his own interests (guided or unguided exploration).

I find myself totally drawn to parts of the last 3 of these and I am guessing my style will just be like I am; a little of everything thrown together until it works.

Now, I am pretty sure I won't be able to screw up a moderately intelligent kindergartner even if I just wing it. But as I start to embrace the face I will be the teacher, I am finding myself really excited. I love Eliana, I love teaching her and spending time with her. I look forward to how much fun we will have. I am excited to have Addilyn learn right beside her. I can't wait for the projects and trips and memories we will make together.

As I embark on this adventure, I do have a couple of hang-ups. I was soooo excited to send Elie to the Montessori school, she would have LOVED it. I was excited for Addilyn to have time to be the big sister at home, her and Annabelle would have had so much fun.

I am sure this is the first of MANY posts about this, I feel like I have so much information to process. Enjoy the ride!


Denise said...

A little bit of this and a little bit of that....I tried to look up what movie that song is from but I keep on getting weird entries....not what I was looking for, oh well.

Anyway, eclectic is all the way and it will also depend on the individual learning style. Reading pretty much has to be done fairly traditional (phonics and all that) to turn out a good reader but we tried to make drill and practice, at least, a bit fun; same goes with math.

There's good to classical, also; I wish I would have done a bit more of that with the boys. I couldn't have totally unschooled, not my personality, but I loved being child/delight directed with some subjects. Just ask Luke about chickens :-).

Honeycutt Family said...

I am excited to see what you all learn on this new adventure!
Amazingly, God has been opening my heart up to homeschooling, but I know it isn't right for our family just yet. Maybe down the road...we'll see. At least I'm open to it (unlike this time last year!). I checked out Clay & Sally Clarkson's homeschool book from the library ("Educating the Whole Child", I think is the title). It is FULL of invaluable information!!!!
Such an exciting and nerve-wracking many changes! Praying for y'all!

noelle said...

More power to ya! I have never had the desire to homeschool even though I know lots who do. For our family, we have found the public school to be a good place to interact with our community. I'm so absorbed by what goes on in this house that I can't imagine how narrow I would become if my kids never made me get out of our little world.

Jennifer McHam said...

I have thought for the longest time that you would be the absolute best homeschooler. Lucky Eliana!!! You will do GREAT!!!

curlyjo said...

Jenny is right. You'll be a fabulous homeschool mom. Your right. It's nearly impossible to screw up kindergarten (okay I suppose you could you spent the whole time doing worksheets and ruin all the fun- but that WON'T happen at your house; you're you.)

Things I loved for Kinders:
-100's chart (Ruth Beechick)
-Math U See (and the manipulatives)
-StarFall (online)
-Sonlight reading lists
-Five in a Row
-Bob Books
-Sing Spell Read Write phonics song, and letter blends. (okay the song is irritating, but kids like it)
-Konos Unit Studies (so your speed)

My kids will be in school next year, even Abby (that makes me a smidge sad AND elated). You need to come "shop" at my house. You may be able to help me out with cute shoes and jeggings, but, honey, I've got you beat hands down when it comes to basal readers, manipulative and unit studies.

Kerry and Erin said...

We never thought we'd be homeschoolers either and now can't imagine it any other way. It's awesome!
You already know about FIAR. We loved Math U See and still use it. We're using a unit study curriculum that we really enjoy call My Father's World, but didn't use it for kindergarten.
You know, everyone has stuff they love and stuff they hate. The best thing is to be willing to be flexible, listen to your child and to you. You're the best teacher for her anyway. You know how to read her and how she best learns. :)
If you want a great place to look at different ideas and curriculum (I kind of hate that sounds so rigid) go to the CHEC homeschool conference in June. It's in Denver and they have a great exhibit hall. And they have this booth there that is just books. old books, hard to find books. Books! I love it!
Homeschooling is so much more about "teaching" your's about discipling them too. It's sooo worth it though. I love it!!

Sarah said...

Hey Gretch, just something to consider. All things labeled "Christian" aren't great (e.g. Denver Christian HS...but I digress). However my overall feeling about my own experience in Christian school is that it was the best thing my parents did for me. It gave me a grounding and a knowledge in my faith that I wouldnt have gotten anywhere else. And it builds quality friendships grounded in a common life view.