Monday, September 8, 2008

first week of school

While other children were boarding the big yellow bus on their way to the classrooms, we started our lessons here at Sacred Heart Academy also. But it is troublesome, I admit, trying to answer questions about curriculum and such. As it is, there's not a nice tidy box we fit in with our homeschooling philosophies. We are life learners. Classical, Charlotte Mason influenced, unschoolers? Hmmm. And I'm not so arrogant as to pretend we have everything set in stone for the next 12 years. We're taking it a day at a time, a child at a time... and the more we read and the more we experience, the more fine tuning will be done to our home education goals.

Right now I can tell you that I'm heavily influenced by a couple thinkers for this period in our lives: John Holt and Charlotte Mason. Add to these names the more than a dozen other education and philosophy and homeschooling books I've read, and I'm beginning to get a pretty clear idea of what I want to accomplish here. Thankfully, Steve is behind me 100% on all of this and entrusts these 'curriculum' decisions to me. Ultimately the goal is clear:

  • I want to inspire in them a love of learning and the know-how to learn absolutely anything they want to learn. (Light a fire rather than fill a bucket concept here.)
  • I want to form their characters in a way that glorifies God and equips them with the proper understanding of who they are and who they are meant to be.
  • I want to give them the resources they need to accomplish that.
Everything else is gravy so long as we keep the ultimate goal in mind. Reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.... these all fall easily under the above umbrella when introduced to the children in the proper way.
So we aren't homeschooling because we think our academics will be superior (even though, they will be.)

We aren't homeschooling because we want to shelter them from bad influences (even though proper formation will occur more readily in a home environment).

We aren't homeschooling to be religious zealots (even though we'll get to avoid the artificial separation of God and other subjects).

We are homeschooling because it is more than an education at home idea... it is a lifestyle that we want to cultivate.

Seeing how Xavier is now six years old, we've gotten plenty of comments and questions about "What are you guys doing for school?" Or "Are you starting homeschooling with him this fall?"

Frankly, we've started homeschooling him since birth. Remember... it's a holistic lifestyle, not just an abrupt termination of fun and play for an introduction to desks and worksheets. So I don't really know how to answer those people. I'm not of the opinion that Kindergarteners need any kind of fancy curriculum. What he needs is a lot of books, large muscle movement, books, meaningful play, books, real life interactions with different people, books, meaningful work, books, casual nature observation, oh and books.

So THAT is my homeschooling plan for this year. Just this week at 'school' we accomplished a lot. I'm so thankful that we have the freedom to do these things:

We played on the foggy west beach, throwing rocks in the water.

  • We researched and made a big pinata for Xavier's birthday.

We baked and decorated a monster cake.

We went on a hike in the woods with Papa.

We're reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Farmer Boy."

  • We've been reading lots of picture books.

We went to the Open House at the Fire Department where the boys got to crawl in and out of the engines and fire boat, see a Jaws of Life demonstration, meet lots of great firefighters.

We played legos (always a serious subject).

We went to "K4J" kid's club at church.

And we're still on the hunt for a good piano instructor for Xavier.

So life is good. Tomorrow we'll do some copywork, go berry picking... and of course, read books.

1 comment:

Erin said...

Loved this post Ellie. Agree totally with all of your reflections....I really need to do a lot more reading and research on all the different choices out there becuase we TOTALLY want to homeschool as well!! You are an amazing family and those boys are so blessed!! Wish we lived closer and you could give me some guidance on this school journey ahead!