I figure I may as well make an official announcement, so I can start sharing more about this new world my family is uncovering, and how excited we are to be starting on this journey.
After much thought, prayer, and family consideration.. We have jumped into the world of homeschooling!
I have a few PAGES of the way our journey has unfolded already written out, and I will definitely be sharing more of it, but for now, here is what we have been up to:
I spent the spring and summer readying our year, excitedly anticipating the beginning of this very new journey. I have been reading everything I can on different methods, which has been so inspiring and uplifting. It has opened up a whole new world of possibilities to our family. This will actually be a big lifestyle change for us, but one that we are excited to be intentionally making.
It has actually reminded me a lot of my homebirthing journey, in that when I felt called to that, I really didn’t know anyone who had actually done the thing I was hoping to do. The case is similar here, in that I don’t have many friends or family that educates their children at home — at least I didn’t until several weeks ago. This is a totally uncharted territory for our family, and I am gathering inspiration wherever I can (Lord bless you, internet friends!) and even going way old school and digging up home educating evidence from our pioneer ancestry, old books, and in other areas of history, which has been again, just so inspiring. It hasn’t been uncommon for me to tear up as I read bits and pieces I feel are leading me step-by-step on this journey.
This has lit such a fire in my heart, and in the heart of my children. Even in these brand brand new days of trying to figure this all out, I am feeling feelings I’ve never quite felt before. I know this is right for us right now, and I know we are headed to a really sweet chapter of our story.
So to catch y’all up to speed (and for you new homeschooling mamas I HOPE ARE OUT THERE WITH ME! I’ll chat about the methods and curriculum we have felt lead to this year. I am learning that I lean in the ways of what would be called an eclectic homeschooling mama, which is so fitting *sarcastic eye roll*. I’m just an eclectic kind of gal, and can never seem to fit myself (or my parenting style, apparently) into one certain box.
Charlotte Mason: For years actually, I have studied the Charlotte Mason method of educating, and creating an atmosphere of gentleness, learning, and beauty in my home. (Sooo many pearls of wisdom in THIS BOOK , even for the non-homeschooling mama) I never thought I’d actually be homeschooling, but now I’m grateful for the familiarity I have with her beautiful way of teaching children.
This has been a natural flow for my children, because I have tried to use the practices of habit-training, sibling peace, and nature appreciation the Mason method teaches, in our home along side their schooling. I am looking forward to cultivating more of this in our home, and having more hours to do so without having such a chunk of our time together used up by having the girls in public school.
So, I am really pulling inspiration from this method in an overall atmosphere, even though I’m not sticking very closely to any sort of Mason curriculum this year (like ambleside, but I do use it as a guide rather). I have also stuck to, and will continue to stick to her reading list as our reading inspiration. Our favorites like Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and the Little House series have all been on her list over the years, and have truly enriched my children’s childhood (and my motherhood, really!). Both of my big girls have read most of these books on their own after we read them aloud because they loved them so much.
We will be nature journaling, and reading living books (any book that “comes alive” for a reader about any certain subject) to cover subjects like history, science, and I’m sure many others.
The Good and The Beautiful: Pretty much as soon as my mind was made up about homeschooling, The Good and The Beautiful curriculum kept popping up in conversations I was having with other seasoned homeschooling mamas. It kept popping up in a way that pulled my heart, and I recognized this as the spirit leading me to a certain area, which is another thing you’ll hear homeschooling mamas tell you: the spirit will guide you, trust your intuition.
As soon as I looked into it, I could tell it was a good fit for me. It requires very little planning (open and go), while layering in bible, art appreciation, geography, handwriting and more into their language arts program. Words like “rich curriculum” and “truly good and beautiful” kept bubbling up around it, and now that we’ve ordered our books, I can clearly see what they mean. It is so lovely to see my girls practicing their sweet cursive writing with phrases like, “God created the flowers, animals, and trees.” and just things that are good, and lovely, and true filling up these precious minds.
For starting, it’s making me feel such a pressure off to have the year’s language arts already planned, prepped, and ready.
We are so new to this curriculum, so again, I’ll share more as my experience unfolds, but so far I basically just have an overflowing heart over the goodness that is in the books we are learning from this year. We will also be pulling from The Good and The Beautiful book list, which has been helpful in terms of reading placement, an overview of each book, and knowing the standards of which they choose the literature.
We will be doing our Language Arts (which layers in aforementioned subjects), I also ordered their handwriting and typing programs, per the request of my girls, and they have been enjoying them so far. Stella has especially taken to the handwriting, as she’s learning cursive for the first time (officially, she’s picked up most of it already on her own).
MATH: the math program we are dabbling with right now is Teaching Textbooks. So far, my girls are loving it. It’s an online curriculum, which is a really good fit for Harlo, and I really love it because it’s super thorough and requires almost nothing from me. This math starts at year 3, which both my girls are at or above. Grae will start kindergarten next year, and we’ll be able to utilize The Good and The Beautiful math program that started with Kindergarten this (2018) year. (That’s further in the future than I am actually planning for right now though… we are very year-by-year type people.)
I am really taking the advice of the moms who have walked this path before me, and that is keeping it super simple our first year. In fact, my favorite advice I got was, “Start with the basics – reading, writing and arithmetic, and other than that, just educate the heart.”
Well, that is exactly what I intend to do this year.
Y’all, I am just SO EXCITED. Mainly about the level of intention this new way of life requires. I mean every last subject is prayed over, thought through, and packed with goodness. There are no sterile textbooks here, no rigid scheduling, no cold, classrooms stuffed with different personalities, levels, and styles of learning. Just learning at home, together, the way we’ve always done since the minute they were born. This feels so authentic to me, and my parenting, and our family. It feels less like starting something, and more like continuing something. It feels like I have found my place here.
So if homeschooling is not your jam, hey! I get it. Feel free to skip over these schooling posts, OR have a look at a life completely different than your own. (Even when I wasn’t homeschooling, I loved following homeschooling blogs and instagram accounts.)
If you are a homeschooling mama (new or otherwise!), please introduce yourself!! I neeeed some homeschooling friends! I have become such a believer in community, and everything I’ve seen of this homeschooling community so far is so warm and welcoming.
I plan on sharing a lot more about how we got here, and how our story will unfold from here, but is there any questions in particular you have for me on this subject? I’d love to add it together in a big post for anyone interested!