Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Year Of Home Education

I am in my18th year of home educating my children. 

We usually start in early August so that we can take advantage of taking time off during the school year, and by August the kids are usually ready to get back to some kind of structure.  This year the girls did some math over the break so that they would not lose their momentum...neither one likes math very much.

When we started to home educate Tim was okay with it, if I wanted to do it.  Several years into to it, we both decided that this was something we were in for the long haul. We saw the blessing of being able to disciple our kids as well as teach them.  I have taught all 6 of my children to read, and have opened up the world for them through it.

Reading forms the basis of the way we educate.  We read history together and discuss it.  We do projects like maps, make clothing, food, use writing instruments of the time period we are studying.  Our history often is the basis of writing assignments.  Language arts and history are perfect companions as every time period had its poets, its historians, its biographers.

We listen to music and learn about instruments and composers, these people also fall into history.  The kids also get the opportunity to learn to play an instrument.

Science is generally a topic they are interested in.  Last year it was astronomy, this year it is marine life.

I teach all my children together though they are in 2nd, 5th, and 8th grade this coming year.  Each child gets an ability appropriate assignment, sometimes we do projects together.

This is a gentle way to learn, to use my friend Karen Andreola's phrase.  It was her book on the Charlotte Mason method that so encouraged me and showed me a better way to educate my children.

You can purchase this book from Christianbook Distributors.  Her books, "A Pocketful of Pinecones," and "Lessons From Blackberry Inn" follow a fictionalized story of a family in the 1930's teaching their children at home and following Charlotte Mason's writings.  These two books can also be found at CBD.

Another author, Sally Clarkson, has also been a great encourager to me.  She really emphasizes the discipleship of our children and this high calling we have as mothers.  She has written many books and along with husband Clay wrote "Educating the Wholehearted Child."

I do not believe that there is only one right way to home educate your children.  However, I do believe that it should be done mostly from home (that seems obvious but surprisingly many do not do this) and that it does not have to be stressful!  I have talked with dear women who were trying to replicate public education in their homes.  Dear friends, please don't do this!  Home education is more like tutoring of long ago, nearly one on one with the teacher the student does not need nearly the time that it takes in school, and also they do not need busy work, for "seat time."  I have also seen parents by full curriculums for many children in different grades.  That means that in a normal school day, that Momma is going to do 4 to 5 sciences, language arts, histories, maths...Math is the one thing that our children do individually as they are all in vastly different places.  Home education is also best done by one or more of the parents who know the children and their learning style, well.

I have found our way of educating our children to not be something that is going to burn me or them out...

This year we will study:

3rd, 5th and 8th grade math.
American History
Marine life 
Reading, lots of reading
A writing curriculum
Physical education - In addition to horseback riding, Lindsay is going to teach them a course on archery.

I get excited every year to begin.  I love reading aloud to them, enjoying both academic subjects as well as biographies and fiction.  Right now I am reading "A Year Down Yonder," by Richard Peck.  We are enjoying this book a great deal.

Home education is a way of life for us now.  It has shaped us and lead us in directions that we never thought it would.  We are thankful and pray that this RIGHT will continue, so that our children can teach their children, and then our grandchildren can teach our great-grandchildren.

 What a wonderful blessing that is!


  1. God bless you! I especially liked your observation / admonition that home educating should NOT try to replicate public education. That is SO important.

  2. We loved "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder", too. Great books!

    Home education truly is a blessing-I never expected it to shape the culture of our family as it has but I'm so thankful for it!

    I, too, hope the right to homeschool is protected so we can watch our kids educate their children. It'd be sad if they had to miss out on the fun/character building (for Mom, especially!) that comes with it.

  3. I loved Karen's book! Stephanie has it now (along with all of the other books my Karen). :)

    We homescooled through the 11th grade but put Christopher in the community college for grade 12 for advanced math and science classes.

    It wouldn't have been necessary except the University has stringent requirements for admittance into their School of Science. As it is, he took an extra year the the community college to prepare but it paid off in scholarships.

    We used the whole books approach, too. Just this last week we drove past the park where Christopher and I spend hours and hours hiking for nature studies. It made me sad those days are gone.

  4. This is a great post about homeschooling! I have mentioned before of how I admire parents, who make the sacrifices and work so hard to home school their children. The one on one cannot be matched in public education not to mention that the children are being taught by someone who knows them so well! Your school room is beautifully organized.

    Your curriculum sounds exciting! Have fun!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings Sue

  5. It was a pleasure to read this piece. The way you describe your homeschooling is charming. I'm certain that many children could benefit from it IF a parent were committed enough to the concept. I know this, it certainly does take LESS time. Much of the school day is wasted on coming and going, lunch, recess, and seatwork.

  6. I am SO glad I came over today to thank you for commenting on my little hallway signs! I was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of starting school again this year. I have homeschooled my youngest son since birth and was feeling a little burned out. I feel better now. I think I tend to stress myself out trying to get it "just right", when all he really needs is for me to be patient, loving, kind and helpful. :) Hey, are you using apologia for Science? We used the Astronomy one a couple of years ago, and this year we're going to do the marine life one...just wondered if you were using the same. :) I have started using teaching textbooks and really enjoyed it last year. My son was in 5th grade and did the 7th grade one...I'm thinking we may repeat it this year just to make sure he "gets it". I figure he'll still be a year ahead. :)
    Thanks for your post on homeschooling...I feel better about starting our new year. :)

  7. It is so fun to see my book pictured. Thank you for telling your friends about it.
    Teaching 6 children how to read must be very satisfying. I know teaching our 3 was a rewarding experience for this teacher who likes knowing that they all still turn to books in their adult lives. Like you I wanted to be the one to open the world up to my children. It shows that you find this the delightful part of the work of home teaching.
    Karen A.

  8. Deanna, we are most definitely kindred spirits in the realm of homeschooling! I wish we were neighbors. Our kids (and we!) could have so much fun together. Your curriculum sounds a lot like ours.

    I have never been sorry that we followed this path.

  9. I LOVE your bookshelves full of books!!! I also love the idea of teaching science to all 3 of your children at 1 time! I need to try to implement that! I also love the Charlotte Mason Companion book...I need to get that out and re-read it to get me excited about starting back to our books :). My children are usually ready to start before I am!


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