First page to get revamped on "Our Home School Experience"!
A bit of history of why we home school ~ when our boys, now 13 and 10, very young we knew a number of folks who had chosen to school their kids at home. There were many different reasons why these folks did, from a desire to be with kids more, to being called to home school, to not really liking the school building atmosphere. Although we knew enough families to ask a ton of questions of, we just were not ready to make that commitment. Both Kevin and I grew up going through public school and it was an okay place to start for us. I felt that we could always pull them out if it wasn't a good fit.
During kindergarten and first grade, we began seeing things that we just weren't to sure about. With the large class sizes, which hovered around 25, if you weren't a self lead kid or the hyper kid, you could easily fall through the cracks. We felt this was happening with our oldest, that it was time to begin that path, and thought the one to one ratio would be the best for him. Also weighing heavily on our hearts, was that every religion was celebrated, at various times through out the year, but Christian holidays were mention without any reference to God. They were presented more as Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. We wanted Christ to be a part of our school!
It was a very scary step to take and still is after almost 6 full years of schooling. A lot of questioning if we've selected the right curriculum, are the boys retaining enough information, and many other "what if's" along the way. Time and again, though, they amaze us at their desire to learn something new, to pick up a book to read, ask to go to the library, or recall something from awhile back. They have even asked to continue certain subjects year round to get ahead (or caught up)!
With the decision made to home educate, we needed to select one of the many ways to "declare" we were home schooling our child (and eventually children). For us, what made the best sense was to provide a copy of my high school diploma and to provide the composite score for Language Arts and Math at the end of the year. We are thankful that while working on all of our oldest learning glitches, we are able to test at home. Yes, they both will need to take tests given by others and we are working toward that. SATs, PSATs, and other college related tests are coming quickly.
Now, with that aspect taken care of, our choices in curriculum has become very mixed. There has been no one curriculum that has remained the same since we began. It has been a journey to find what meets the need of each child and helps THAT child learn the task at hand. Over the last six years we have found a few that our boys consistently ask for. These have been Five in a Row, Math U See, Mystery of History, and Spelling Workout. Each seems to be laid out in such a fashion that makes learning fun for them. They want to come back for more and they ask for more. Probably one of the greatest things I am trying to incorporate is the Charlotte Mason philosophy. Most simply put, "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life" (from Charlotte Mason website). We want our boys to see and know that learning is for a life time, that there are things we need to work at being good at, and that an education isn't just memorizing facts. It is our desire that they learn to ask well thought out questions, want to read for enjoyment and to learn, and to seek truth.