How Do We Homeschool?
Why do you homeschool?
My middle child, my oldest daughter had spent a year in preschool and did not fully embrace the whole concept of school. Then she spent a full year at all day kindergarten at the private school my son was attending. She cried almost daily and did not make one single friend the entire year. My heart broke for her everyday and I told my husband she needed to be at home with me as school was not the place for her. He did not agree with me and refused to even consider homeschooling at this point. I started homeschooling at mid-year through first grade for my amazing daughter who didn't quite fit in at a conventional school. I vetoed my husband and pulled my daughter from private school and brought her home with me and watched her blossom!
I have sent all my children to wonderful preschools. My son spent the most amount of time in private schools. He attended school for six years in a private school system before he decided to homeschool with his sisters. My little one spent one year in private preschool and has been homeschooled ever since. My children have never been sent to public school, but both my husband and I were educated in public schools.
So, I guess the deciding factor for me was my daughter was miserable at school. She cried everyday and it broke my heart to watch this. She didn't make friends and in fact the little girls in her class were quite horrid to her. A good friend of mine homeschooled her children adn she told me quite frankly, "you are homechooling and you don't even admit it". She was right, from the very beginning, I schooled my children because I didn't feel the private schools did enough, so I was always supplementing. She encouraged me to follow my heart (and my intuition) and just take a leap of faith.
It was the right decision then and still is for my daughters. The school we are a part of now is really unique and wonderful. We are in an amazing place, the core values are fantastic and I see the results in this school in the incredible students it is producing. When I had children, I never even considered homeschooling. But when it came time to make a decision as to what to do with my daughter, I knew it was the only option for her. Now, I can't imagine being away from my children all day long, all week long. I researched what was the best homeschool model for us and a classical education fits in perfectly with our family values.
While I don't love teaching at home, I love having my kids at home with me. It doesn't feel like that every single day, because some days are really hard and some day s are really great. But I am still learning after four years of homeschooling. I struggle because I want things to be easy and that is not always the case. Good things and the right decisions are sometimes hard and that is okay . . . but I forget this at times.
What is classical education?
Basically, it would take me too long to explain, so I will reference a better website. go here. I will have to say that as the years go by and I tell other families we are classically educating our children, I get more approval and understanding than I did in the beginning.
Classical education is not new. It has been around since the time of Martin Luther. Classical Education can be described as rigorous and systematic, separating children and their learning into three rigid categories, Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. The academy my two oldest attend focuses on “fostering love of the Lord, passion for learning, and strength of character in children". Additionally, they are creating critical thinkers who are logical, thoughtful, and articulate. This will be my children.
The core of Classical Education is the trivium, which simply put is a teaching model that seeks to tailor the curriculum subject matter to a child’s cognitive development. The trivium emphasizes concrete thinking and memorization of the facts of the subjects in grade school; analytical thinking and understanding of the subjects in middle school; and abstract thinking and articulation of the subjects in high school. Subjects unique to Classical Education which help accomplish the goals of the trivium are Grammar, the science of language usage; Logic, the science of right thinking; and Rhetoric, the science of verbal and written expression. Another hallmark to Classical Education is a rich exposure to great literature. We also study Omnibus in a four period cycle (each year we study a different era of Ominbus and recycle after four years). We also study Latin and the development of a Biblical worldview with Theology in its proper place as God is the foundation of ALL teaching.
How do we homeschool?
I'm at home with my children teaching them. My children attend academy 1 day a week, and are home the remainder of the week(except for my little one as the academy does not begin until grade 3). Each week we are emailed a syllabus. Each teacher specifies what we are to do for the week on the days we are home. I do not have to select all of the curriculum as it is done for me for the subjects they have at academy. No lesson planning for me for my two oldest, well, sort of. We do choose a handful of our own curriculum, like spelling, math, and grammar. But mostly, the school decides on all of our other subjects, which I personally love. The children attend classes on Monday and I follow up during the remainder of the week per the syllabus.
The classroom setting are traditional. They have six classes each Monday with six different teachers. This is not a co-op and these are real teachers. Real Teachers! the children attend school from 8:00 and to 3:45 pm. It is a long day of learning. There is no homework to bring home on Monday evenings either. We have our daily assignments and we work through them until the are completed.
Balance or Not?
This is a tough one. The first year was ever so easy and it was just my gal and me. First grade and all, super fun times we had. The next year I went from one to three and had a Kindergartner(who went to co-op), a 2nd grader (who didn't attend academy yet, but went to co-op)) and a 4th grader, (who did attend academy). My son was a first year homeschooler and thought staying at home meant all fun and games and it took him a good six months to adjust from private school to home school. Each year it gets easier and each year it gets harder.
Since I am a blogger and a contributing writer, I can work from home with them in the classroom. however, since I am in social media, I need to answer emails as they come int and that mean distractions come easily and often. I try my best to get up early, work for an hour and then give the children my full attention during homeschool time. I try to just check my email again at lunch and then at the end of the day.
The balance is hard and I always try to do better. Some days are better than others. The one issue I have is balancing work, homeschooling and being a mom. I still need to run the household, complete chores, cook, clean, laundry, shop and shuttle my three children to all their activities. Things fall by the wayside and they are usually the household chores. My home looks like bomb went off in it most days and it does get to me after a bit. I can only take a trashed house for so may days in a row. My husband is very busy with his job and does not have extra time to assist in homeschooling in any manner, so all the school related issues are 100% on me. That does get taxing at times as well.
Is it working?
This is also a tough one. I'm not sure. If you were to look at my children's standarized test results at the end of the school year, I know you would say . . . absolutely, yes, it is working. But, it is hard to homeschool. There, I said it. My son is trying to test my patience limits every single day and have tested himself right out of our classroom. This is the last year at home for him. He is such a disruption to my daughters that he can no longer remain at home with us. My son has SPD and is in need of a different atmosphere, and homeschooling is not the best fit for him. My daughters are loving homeschooling and thrive in this environment. My son does not. He will have to go back to a private school and I think it will be much better for him in some ways and not so great in other ways.