Ages of children: One 11 year old girl
Number of years homeschooling: 2
Curricula: We have an eclectic curriculum style but I love Charlotte Mason’s teachings and we incorporate picture study, nature study, composer study, dictation/copy work, and written/oral narration from really great literature, new and old. We love Story of the World for a history backbone, pulling “living books” from the time period we’re studying. We also use Math-U-See for math, and Easy Grammar for all the rules.
I grew up in public school as most people I know did. My daughter went to public school until 2nd grade. My husband and I both worked. A typical day was get up, get ready, get out, get home, get dinner, get bed and do it again the next day. It’s a way of life that allowed no wiggle room, no time for good books or play with each other and even less time to teach the things a mom wants to teach her daughter. I hated it and felt powerless to change it. We could not afford a private school education and our situation was one where I needed to keep working. Then God intervened.
Two summers ago, I was able to quit my job (a 2/3 reduction in pay), and stay home with my daughter for the first time since she was a newborn. The freedom and the time spent with her was so intoxicating that we resolved to continue schooling at home despite tight purse strings. Part-time home-based work sounds ideal and helped pay the bills but it also took away from our time together. I personally could not work in my field and home school; I’ve spent too many years trading my family for a “fulfilling career”. God has other plans.
Today, as I’ve sifted through the lies I’ve built up over the years about what is important, our school day is more about spending time learning in all aspects, beginning with God’s Word, than about academic excellence.
We start the day at 7:30AM. Dogs, dishes, rooms cleaned, floors swept, stuff put away. A fresh clean slate. This works best for us, allowing me to give my full attention to teaching. At 9:00 we eat breakfast and have Bible study, practicing table manners along the way. Some days start sooner than others. 😉 We cover the basics like math and language arts everyday, working in art, science, history, health, geography, etc. at least once a week. Field trips, free play, volunteering and time with friends round out our days.
The biggest challenge for me as a homeschooling mom is to keep everything in balance without trying to shovel academic material to meet an arbitrary standard. Time with family and friends is never wasted, especially for an only child. Every member of our family takes part in teaching her about life. Dad teaches her about sportsmanship and models a Godly husband. Grandparents are a goldmine of family, even American history. Friends offer exercise for her imagination and multiple opportunities for laughter.
The last two years are among the fullest, most amazing years of our family’s life. They are also the most challenging. I would not trade the time we’ve spent together or the experiences we’ve shared for any amount of money. Just seeing that statement in black and white helps me resolve to stick with it. God does the rest.