Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why am I even homeschooling?

I've asked myself this question several times over the past few weeks. It's an easy question to answer on the surface. But if you think deeper, it's very hard to answer.

My immediate answer is this: I want a higher quality education for my kids. I want to individualize their education. I want to be able to give them a God-centered education not one dictated by the "state". 

But as I dig deeper, I find I'm struggling with this question. I'm feeling so unqualified to teach my kids. I'm feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of it all. What if I totally screw them up? What if I can't teach them what they need to know? Why am I even doing this? It would be so much easier to let the government school them.

Then I stop & take a deep breath & pray. I pray for guidance & knowledge. 

I am doing this because I love my kids. I want them to have the best education possible. I want them to not just do "school" to get through it. I want them to learn to love learning. I want them to want to explore the world. I want them to ask questions about everything. I don't want them study something just to get a grade. I want them to have the time to be kids. I want them to have time to use their imaginations & dream big dreams.

If my kids grow up & just follow the world, then I've failed. I want them to follow Jesus. I want them stand out from the crowd. I want to open their eyes to the world God created. To be in awe of creation & The Creator! I want them to know God's Word & be able to defend their faith. I want them to be able to pick out the Truth from the lies. This is the utmost reason for why I am homeschooling. In public school, I was taught that Evolution is fact & God is not important. I was fed lies that undermined my faith. I want to teach my kids what those lies are & why they are lies. By the time I finished my freshman year at college, I felt so hopeless & worthless. I had been fed the lies that I was an accident of nature, animals were more important than humans & there was no purpose to my being here. I don't want my kids to experience that. I want them to be able to see through the lies & see that God loves them & created them special & unique. I want them to know that God created them with a purpose!

I also want my kids to know how to study & learn on their own. I want them to know how to do research & question everything in life. I want them to do experiments. I want them to know how to analyze everything & compare everything to God's Word. I want them to know how to think & not just what to think! All my life I was taught to just accept what I was taught & not to question it. When things didn't align right in my head, like millions of years & creation, I was told not to question or "rock the boat". So rather than just telling my kids what's right & what's wrong, I want to study it with them. I want to show them why it's right or why it's wrong. I want to discuss things. I also want to be free to tell them "I don't know the answers, but lets find out together."

I'm also homeschooling because I like the freedom it gives us. Freedom to follow a schedule that fits our family. And getting up at 6am to send them away for 6-8 hours does not fit our family. Freedom to follow tangents & my kids' passions. If they want to study space, then we study space. If they want to know why we have rainbows, we can study that. If they want to know all about frogs, we can study that. Freedom to travel with Hubby & go on grand adventures. We've had opportunities to visit Washington DC, the ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and to see mountains and historic landmarks. We've been to small towns & big cities. We've gotten to visit lots of museums. Freedom to spend time with Grandparents who open the door to another generation's viewpoints. They've learned to garden & can. They've learned to cook & hunt. They've learned about the past. They've gotten to spend time with their Great Mamaw that wouldn't be possible if they were in school all the time.

Before I started writing this post, I was struggling with how to proceed with school this year. But I think I'm starting to get excited about all the possibilities that exist for learning. I have all next week to plan for our year of learning as David will be at camp & the girls at my in-laws for VBS. I was dreading the week, but know I'm excited to start laying out a loose plan of learning. 

So, why are you homeschooling??? I'd like to know!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

School?? What's that??

Every year, I come away from Homeschool convention fired up & ready to plan my next school year. This year, that didn't happen. I usually start school year in July. We crack open our math books and start slowly getting back into school work. This year, that hasn't happened. 

All my new curriculum is still sitting on my desk. I still haven't gotten our history book, Mystery of History 3. I know what curriculum we are using, but that's the extent of the planning I've done. I'm not sure why I'm so delayed this year. I'm praying that motivation & inspiration strikes me soon. I'm not planning on starting school until the end of August this year.

I've actually enjoyed not having to do "school" this summer. We've been doing lots of learning, but not normal academics. We've planted a garden. We've spent time at the grandparents. We've read library books. And we've played a lot. It's been nice. 

But as August is creeping closer, I'm finding myself panicking a little. I'm really praying for guidance. My oldest is easy to plan for as I've gotten her style down. The youngest is easy too as she loves workbooks! The boy is the hardest. He's hand-on, active learner. I'm finding myself at a loss as to how to make learning work for him. I have a feeling it's going to take a whole lot more planning than it ever has for the oldest.

I am such a workbook, self-motivated learner. Give me a book & a quiet place to work. I'll finish the whole semester's work in just a month. I love busy work. I want to be left alone to learn. My boy is so not that way. He needs to "do" things. He needs to have hands-on, interactive learning. That takes lots of planning & lots of work ahead of time. I think this is one of the reasons I haven't planned my semester out yet. I'm at a loss as to what activities to plan & what all I need to do.

I also have been doing a lot around the house & right now all my school stuff is just piled on my desk & floor in the loft. Old, new, used, unused. It's all just thrown together. I need to take the time to sort through it & organize it. I've realized I have lots of preschool stuff that I've not used. I no longer have preschoolers. I need to sort it, put it on the table then have my friends with preschoolers over so they can take what they need. Maybe I can work on that this week & next.

I really love homeschooling. I love seeing my kids learning. I love that they can learn & still have time to be kids. But this year I am really struggling. I'm not to the point of quitting, but I am having real procrastination issues. I'm tired...

Anyone have any advice? Anyone be there, done that? Anyone else feeling like me? Please pray for me. Pray I'll get out of this "slump" & have enthusiasm for school, wisdom for planning & energy to get it all done.