An educated person is not someone who knows something, but someone who can explain what they know to others. Americans used to expect that the core knowledge they learned from their parents was to be passed on to the next generation. – Leigh Bortons, The Core
I wanted to write just a bit about our home-education journey. It’s something I don’t write on often for several reasons. But when people ask (and we’ve had many email or message ask us lately) I sure don’t mind sharing our experiences!
For starters, this is our 5th year home-schooling and our children are in grades 6 and 4. So needless to say, I sure don’t know everything there is to know or even come close to having it all figured out. But I can say that with every passing year, we are learning to find our own personal rhythm and it just feels more and more natural.
To be completely honest, there are a few reasons I don’t write on this topic often because,
- I never want to come across and one of “those” moms. You know the kind. The “homeschooling is the only way and if you’re doing anything different, you’re a bad mom and your children are going to grow up dumb” kind of mom. WRONG.
- Because homeschooling really isn’t the only way. I know this well…
- …in fact, some families just shouldn’t do it. Period. No really, I mean it! I don’t believe homeschooling is the best fit for every family and suggesting that it is, just sets families up for frustration and failure from the get go.
- There is more than one way to homeschool. This fact alone makes me reluctant to share our journey. Just because we do it one way, doesn’t mean that it should ever be another family’s way. And it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the way we will do it in the future.
Nonetheless, for a little on our family philosophy on home-education and an up close snapshot of what school at home looks like for us, we’d love to share our journey; what it is, what it is not, and the details of what we do.
First, I’ll start with…
What homeschooling ISN’T: (at least for us)
- Curriculum. I mean, curriculum is most certainly a part of it. But curriculum and book-work isn’t even close to the whole of home-education.
- It is NOT a reproduced, mini-version of traditional school.
- It’s not subject tests, grades, and report cards.
- It’s not dictated to us by programs, state or federal guidelines, curriculums, ect.
What homeschooling IS!:
- A healthy mixture of curriculum learning and real world/life experience!
- Establishing and filtering all subject learning through our faith based world-view, with God at the center of every single thing we study…even science!
Whew! Sometimes I forget how many places we’ve been and experiences we’ve had until I look back at the hundreds of pictures of our journey!
When it comes to education, I am learning to find the balance between curriculum learning, which is important, and real world experience learning, which is far more important.
On some days we spend long days, sitting at actual desks (or tables or couches) learning with books and (gasp!) actually using pencils.
Other days we head out to touch, see, and feel the things we learn about in books, or packing up our school work books and heading to a favorite spot to change up the scenery a bit so that our learning environment doesn’t get stale and boring.
- Homeschooling is finding the ways your children learn best, not the way a state or any other well-meaning mom says a child should learn.
- REAL life experience
- Learning character and life-skills
- Character training
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle
Because some have asked, here is the more technical break down of what we’re doing now for school. I say now, but it is subject to change at any point it’s no longer the best fit.
What WE do:
- At the center or the framework of our entire curriculum, we do Classical Conversations. We are thoroughly impressed with how deeply the kids learn with CC and most of all, they LOVE learning this way. Also, CC is our school community and our education accountability all in one. CC covers every subject except for Math and Reading. Any extra we might do in every subject already covered in CC, is just for extra learning!
- Math (Abeka) Non common-core, traditional arithmetic approach, which I love.
- Reading (Abeka Reading Comprehension skill sheets / living books from the library)
- Grammar & Writing (Classical Conversations’ Essentials of The English Language & Institute for Excellence in Writing (INTENSE but amazing!) Abeka Language A for Jackson & CC cursive handwriting)
- Geography (Classical Conversations) – Last year we learned to outline & label the basic world map & draw and label the entire continent of Africa. This year we are learning to do the same with the world and the entire country of Europe.
- History (Story Of The World) LOVE LOVE LOVE.
- Science (Classical Conversations / World of Science) – Also HIGHLY recommend Apologia Science as we’ve done a lot of it as well!
- Spelling (Spelling Plus)
- For extra subject teaching help & practice we LOVE KhanAcademy!
- Documentaries (you can learn ANYthing about anything from documentaries. We adore them.
That about covers the core subjects!
As you can tell, we take our education pretty dang seriously, as we should, but we do our best to have fun while we’re learning! A good education opens the world up to us as we learn who we are, why we are here, what we believe, what is true about the world around us, and that true education is ALL of life, not just limited to seven hours a day in a school room.
The whole world is our class room and at least for the time being, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, in a very condensed nut-shell, this is our family philosophy and method on home-education.
We sure don’t pretend to believe it should be everyone else’s. But at present it is just working for us, and if it ever stops working, we will evaluate what needs to change.
We hope that sharing our education journey helps other families who might be considering home-education and paints a well-rounded, general picture of what it can look like and how it most definitely works!
For the sole, true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is spent in vain. – Dorothy Sayers
Please feel free to comment below or email us with questions as we’d be so happy to help!