To begin our story, I must begin at the beginning. My husband and I met while in the Coast Guard. It was an insanely quick dating period (3 months) and a dreadfully long engagement (1-1/2 years to be exact). We had our son almost 3 years later, and our daughter a little over two years following. Now being from a publicly educated home that is what my intentions were from the beginning, however I can tell you that God had a differing plan from my own, a good and perfect one! While our son was a toddler I became friends with many homeschoolers with older children. I often wondered what that entailed and when they got their “break” during the day, after all when the children go off to school, that is when the mother gets her break!
As we raised our son, I continued to feel a tug at my heart to consider homeschooling. It was a long stretch in my mind, and still the Lord placed many people in my life as a homeschooling example or rather an influential aid. As he grew to be one, and then two… and then we had our daughter, I began more and more picking my friends brains about what their schedule was, what sort of things should I be teaching him, and when should I officially begin our journey? My husband and I sat down one night and talked about the positives and negatives of homeschooling. We prayed about it and the Lord answered our prayers by an overwhelming comfort and leading to homeschooling. So that is how we began!
Now many questions were stirring in my head… what curriculum do we use? Do we have to buy desks for our children? What time of day should we do it? Do you have summer break or go all throughout the year? Are my children going to be weird from homeschooling? Are they going to be socially stunted?? Those of course were all fears of mine and the Lord continued to provide people who I respected to set an example, provide their take on a schedule, and most important I was able to ask the hard and awkward questions about being adequately socialized, without seeming judgmental.
What we ultimately came up with is this…
First— Examine my family and how it best runs and that is the time you do your homeschooling. For us it is a little after we wake up and get going. I am not the person that skips out of bed fully dressed. I MUST have my coffee in peace and tranquility, and then I can brush my teeth (they already have a hard enough time paying attention to the story) haha and so we are ready to start our lessons.
Second— Do my homework on which styles best suit ME, and I say ME because if I chose the best style that fits my children and I am continually fighting against it, my children are going to sense the struggle I am having and therefore not enjoy their lessons either! I did some quizzes over the internet and found a few that best fit our beliefs, then our teaching style and then our home structure. I then read the styles aloud to my husband and THEIR “mission statement” so to speak, and then we ‘to an extent’ decided on the teachings of Charlotte Mason! I say to an extent because I don’t want to be so set that if something from say, the Classical education, appeals to us we would reject it simply because it is not classified under the Charlotte Mason way… this is after all OUR home!
Third— We did buy desks for the children… but that is solely because they were vintage looking and CHEAP! They actually hardly use them, but we like the look of them. We actually do our drawing at the table, literature reading is done outside in the playhouse, on Mommy and Daddy’s bed, or the couch. Math is done amidst the pretend play restaurant in our daughter’s room, on the floor counting and sorting money, and perhaps even while we are driving and counting a certain numbers of objects. I really like this freedom and that is partially why we chose Charlotte Mason and not a workbook sort of curriculum.
Fourth— And lastly… We decided that this is what the Lord was leading us to do and we would do our best to have the children interact with other children, adults at the grocery, and elders at church. To tell you the truth that was a BIG obstacle when we first decided to homeschool, and now I RARELY think about it!!! My children are very outgoing and have been known to invite the baggers at the grocer over for dinner! haha Because they are at home with me… they come in contact with the librarian, the check out lady at the grocer, the postman, our many neighbors, children from Sunday school, teenagers from youth group…. and many others! They in fact have an advantage I believe because they are being taught by my husband and I on how to properly interact with every kind of individual they see, and not being taught by their peers on how to gawk or even sheepishly run off. Even to the extent when we come across a handicapped person, we teach them that perhaps that is the way God made them and we should not stare, or make that individual feel inferior to ourselves, but rather love them more than ourselves and hold the door for them. Not typically a trait that they would do on their own. I am simply speaking on our own behalf and understand that parents do have to work and can teach their children while they are at home with them.
So in-conclusion, God has brought us to the point of homeschooing for now, but if the time comes that we should need to put the children in school… then we will prayerfully seek a school. We have extensively searched for the best method for our family and have chosen to go with the Charlotte Mason method. I hope to use this blog to record things that we are doing with our family and periodically print them off to store in a notebook to hopefully give to someone who was once in my shoes and as completely lost as I once was. I am a novice at this, but am so excited about what is to come and deliberately have to take it one year at a time… otherwise I would be unequivocally scared off by the looming years of middle school and so on!