UPDATE: As of fall 2016, we have stepped away from homeschooling and enrolled in our local public school system. It has been a much needed transition for our family with our challenges surrounding the birth of our preemie in July of 2014. I am still very much in love with the idea of homeschooling, but I have always believed that there are no hard and fast rules about whether or not to homeschool our children. Every family is different. Every year is different! And every child is different! I hope the following article gives you encouragement in Christ whether you choose to homeschool or not. –Laurie
We are currently on the 28th week of our first year of homeschool. Preschool and Kindergarten to be exact (with a slightly high-maintenance 11-month-old crawling around). While this makes me much less than an expert on the subject, I wanted to share about our days because it has been largely thanks to other moms sharing about their days that I had the confidence to do this in the first place.
The biggest thing I have learned on our journey thus far is that I needed to shift my idea of family and what it means to be together– all. the. time. The truth is, I always imagined my kids starting school, and me going back to work. I like working. No, I love working. Working on our business… doing freelance advertising and design… flipping furniture… making stuff 😉
I also thought about the freedom that would come between the hours of 8am-3pm and I longed for them.
“Christianity is not neutral. Neither is Christian home education. There is always a cost to accepting the cross, whether it is in your career, marriage, lifestyle, family, or your homeschool. If you decide to keep or bring your children home, you will have to make some sacrifices– there will be a cost. However, the temporal and eternal benefits in your family’s life will be worth the scarifies you will make.” –Clay Clarkson
I might just be the only mom I know who secretly envied the working moms. You know, the moms who showered in the morning, drank coffee in their cars on their peaceful commute to work, and talked to other adults. Work? Well ya, I guess they do that too!
Although my selfishness often got the best of me, I knew that God had given me a family to take care of, and blessed us with the drive to make it possible for me to stay home. It would have been easy for us to say “we can’t afford to be a single-income family”. But by God’s Grace, we made the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. The dream home– on hold. The vacations– on hold. The financial security that comes from having two incomes– on hold. In making the decision to trust God, He has provided in miraculous ways. Our franchise is one of them.
The book that largely inspired my change of heart about being at home was, Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. This book, in my opinion, is a complete how-to, why-to, and what-to, homeschooling guide. That’s why I’ve scattered a few of their quotes throughout this post 😉
Because of this book, I stopped worrying about what to teach, what curriculum to buy, how much time we had, how many distractions we had, and I began work on my heart with the intent of working on their hearts as well.
“It has often been said that there is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person that can be filled only by God. However, we believe there is also a home-shaped vacuum in the heart of every child that can be filled only by a biblical, Godly home… Since the ideal of a Godly home and family was part of God’s original creation before the Fall and an expression of his creative nature, we believe it is etched in every child’s heart… If a child finds that kind of home, the vacuum will be filled and they will be more likely to find contentment and fulfillment that will shape the rest of their lives; if they do not find it, they will be more likely to seek to fill that vacuum with substitutes and counterfeits, and that futile search will shape the rest of their restless lives.” – Clay Clarkson
As with any decision, the decision to homeschool should not be made out of fear, guilt, or peer pressure. It should come from the heart.
What Do Our Days Look Like?
Here’s what we shoot for: Desk work from (10am-12pm) while baby sister is napping. This includes letter sounds, reading, and beginning math. We largely rely on this and this curriculum that I have printed and made into binders for learning letter sounds and numbers (mostly for my 4-year-old). And beginning readers for my 5-year-old, mostly the Bob Books Sets, and beginning math using workbooks (we like Kumon workbooks) and manipulatives such as, an abacus, counters (beads and bottle caps), flashcards, and the like.
Pinterest has also been an excellent resource for free printables and fun activities!
For the rest of the day we plan play dates, play with our toys, play outside, play, play, and play! We also read our books that we have here at home, read library books, and read Bible stories (mainly from our Jesus Storybook Bible).
It’s not always perfect. There is a lot of drama and messes sprinkled in throughout the day. We hardly ever do everything we set out to do, but we do it (or don’t do it) together. And together is what is helping grow ALL of us.
“Christian home education is the ultimate designer education, not only because it can be tailored to fit any child’s needs, but even more because it bears the imprimatur of God, the original Designer. It draws its identity, through, not from some extrapolated biblical design for education but rather from the clear biblical teaching that God’s design for the home and family is foundational to all learning and education. Before there was any other instituted order on the earth, God designed family… It is clear from Scripture that education is at the very heart of His design for the family: The training and instruction of children is laid in the lap of the family, placed in the hands of parents.” – Clay Clarkson
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