Friday, March 16, 2012

How We Homeschool

It's interesting that all of us that contribute here at Cherish the Call that have school age children homeschool them. I really didn't plan it that way, but in reality any mother serious about her calling is responsible for training her children, isn't she? Whether we delegate it out to teachers or do it all ourselves this is imperative with little (and no-so-little) ones!

I love it that we do it in such a variety of ways. Those of us who are released from the mandates of a school system enjoy employing our creativity to get the job done without destroying our children's love of learning.

Joanna doesn't have to put much effort into her homeschooling efforts yet. In fact, she has another 5 years to decide on educational options. Right now, schooling for her little one consists of Daddy reading books to her belly! :-)

If any of us are experts (which no intelligent homeschooling mother claims to be!), Judy is. She homeschools in one of the states with the most stringent laws while she has blended parenting 7 and homeschooling 5 children into her day for quite a few years (my memory refuses to cooperate on the exact number!). She blogs often about it on her excellent blog.

Tonya uses an online program for her 2 (out of 4) school age children while juggling the responsibilities of a parsonage as well. We started on our journey at the same time, so we try to encourage each other now and then.

Jessica tells how they homeschool in interesting detail here.

There is so much to say about homeschooling since we all embrace it as a lifestyle. However, I'll mention just structure and curriculum. Jessica aptly covered that in her blog post, so I'll just mention the other three of us.

While Tonya has to be fairly structured in order to fit the recorded lessons in on their proper days, Judy and I are "on our own" for lesson plans and schedules. Judy has the added responsibility of a baby that still wakes up at night. I was so encouraged by her approach, because I have done it this way myself many days, then felt guilty because it wasn't the proper way to do school:

The one area in which we are NOT structured is a starting time for our school day. Due to the fact that Kendra is usually up 6 or more times each night, I try to catch a little extra sleep in the mornings, and therefore allow the kids to sleep till they are ready to get up. My oldest is 16 and tends to sleep till 9:30 or so, but he is growing rapidly, and I'm okay with that. (Side note: He now wears a men's size medium shirt, and size 11.5 shoes, and is nearly 6 ft tall!) Our nurse practitioner says that our schedule is actually ideal for teens, whose body clocks naturally tend to be set to go to bed later and get up later. The younger ones often set their alarms for 6:30 or 7:00, and get up and get most of their work done before I'm even remotely coherent, LOL.The staggered schedule is great for our family, since I can help the younger ones get finished up before lunch, and they can go wear off their excess energy outside. Then, my late morning/early afternoon is free to help the older ones with their more challenging coursework (one of my older kids needs me to read much of his texts to him).
 I try to do something with the little ones while Jessica practices piano and Jeffery does independent work. Then, Jessica (4th grade) does independent work while I work with Jeffery (1st grade) and I focus on Jessica when he is all done. This may happen early or it may happen late. Just depends on the balls I have to juggle that day. :-)

Tonya and I both use the Bob Jones curriculum. As I mentioned, she uses the curriculum company's online teachers. I teach the material myself. I supplement it with my own Bible curriculum, P.E. at a local gym and piano lessons once my kids get in 2nd grade and vocal music with my little ones. If I remember correctly, she does violin lessons and possibly piano and choir with her school age children. (She was too busy schooling to take time to comment on this one!)

Judy has more of an eclectic approach like Jessica:

My 2nd and 5th graders love ACE, since they can work on their own and get on with their interests without too much waiting on Mom. However, I score ALL work in order to keep tabs on what they are learning, and to make sure they are understanding their PACEs. The other 3 are in grades 7, 8, and 10. They have some PACEs, some textbooks of various styles, and some reading-based subjects (PA history, primarily). I pick and choose each subject on an individual basis, based on their preferences, strengths, and weaknesses; each year may be different from the year before it, and 8th grade for Brandon was totally different than 8th grade is for Devin this year. Just another reason why I love homeschooling!
Is everything always perfect? Nah! This is how many more days than we'd like turn out:

Or maybe that's just me? :-)


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