Sunday, March 22, 2009

homeschooling thoughts

The more I study homeschooling and learn about it, the more comfortable I am with it. I started out thinking about it because I didn't want my children in public schools. We actually live in a community that has really good public schools and that would be a decent option for my kids if homeschooling doesn't work out. But we'll be moving away from here at least once before we move back, and I don't want to put my kids in and out of schools that may or may not be good. I want to insure stability in their education. And I know that I can provide a good education for them.

I have a friend who is really really smart. She worked for NASA, got a degree in some sort of engineering, and she was unschooled until she was ten (I think that is the age) She didn't know how to read until that point because she wasn't interested in it! Yet despite a very unconventional education, she is one of the smartest people I know. She is one of the many many success stories I've seen with homeschooling, and I'm confident that we'll be able to do this in our home too.

However I'm not sure I'm ready to jump into unschooling. I think that I would fail my children if I didn't have a curriculum. I think about that a lot actually, but I just don't think I could do it.

So the more I look into homeschooling, and the more I get to know my oldest child, the more I lean toward Charlotte Mason as a model for our home, with some Classical education thrown in for good measure. Charlotte Mason especially is very focused on nature, spending lots of time outside, and lots of books. Young children are encouraged to spend all day outside if possible! And it is amazing how much learning there really is to be done from nature.

It is also very book intensive! Lots of reading. The bee and Huck both love to be read to. In fact I bet we spend about an hour every single day reading out loud!

I'm loving this phase of pre-school where it is so focused on nature and books. There are no flash cards, no spelling, no quizzes, nothing that I've heard other children go through at this age! But she knows all her colors, she knows how to spell about ten words, knows how to count to forty, knows so much! Just from observing the world around us!


Anonymous said...

I call what we do "Relaxed Classical" or "Classical Unschooling". We LOVE Charlotte Mason :)

You'll figure out just what your kids need. Don't worry. Have fun researching and planning. And enjoy the kids -- they grow up so quickly!

katdish said...

Mad props to you for considering the home schooling route. I am a horrible teacher. Fortunately, we live in a top notch school district (with the taxes to prove it). There are some things that I have had to clarify with my kids about secular versus Christian world view, but because they have been in church their whole lives, they make the connection pretty quickly.

Billy Coffey said...

My wife and I have been trying to find a way for her to stay home and homeschool our two children. That's a hard thing to do given the way the economy is now, but we're still hopeful.

My wife is a fourth-grade teacher in our small town's elementary school, but even here you can see things that were never around, much less considered, when I was a child.

Many times, I think that the homeschooled children are our country's last best hope.

fandkhoffman said...

Have you read anything by Raymond Moore? Perhaps "Better Late Than Early". Sounds like your engineer friend had an ideal upbringing and perhaps parents that read the Moore's books.

The whole "unschooling" thing has worked well for us so far. We are slowly moving into the Robinson Curriculum now. And we have used various curriculum but the casual has worked the best.

Best of luck to you in your endeavors!