Friday, September 26, 2014

School: My Thoughts, Views and Our Story

Homeschooling isn't just about academics, it's a lifestyle. 
And it's what we've chosen for our kids. ~

When Joshua was five years old, I began exploring school options for him. A friend of ours had been homeschooling their son who was a year older than Joshua and really encouraged me to try it out. The thought of it was overwhelming and so we ended up sending him to kindergarten that fall. The year was rough on him. He was frequently bored and spent much time away from others because he'd be done sooner than the others and would become a distraction. The teacher was fresh out of college and this was her first year. I had no idea what to do either and having the mind-set of "finish what we began", he endured the 10 months of kindergarten. I knew I had to do something different for grade one so I did some research and the next year, he was registered for school at home. He flew through the grade one books that I bought and it quickly became clear that moving at his pace was the way to go.

In the meantime, Andrea was in the same kindergarten that Joshua was. Her time in the classroom was alright but she had her first taste of physical bullying at the young age of five. I wish I was bolder and braver then because I wouldn't have made her endure the year. Why nothing was done, I don't know. Even though that is in the past, some of those memories still rise up in her. She too began the homeschooling adventure when she was in grade one.

The year was pretty busy with a grade two, grade one and toddler hanging out but we did it. Lots of reading together, writing and staying on target with their Language Arts.

I have tried lots of different home education formats. From being 100% aligned with the curriculum guidelines to the opposite end of the spectrum, being traditional to a blended program where the kids went to school twice a week and I homeschooled the other three days. For three and a half years, the blended program worked really well. Arianna was in grade one, Andrea grade five and Joshua grade six. In February of 2011, Doug and I made the choice to take the kids out of the school system and begin full time homeschooling again.

Since 2011, the kids have stayed on target with their math and LA skills. For science we did units on astronomy and social looked at some government and Bible history. Last year was a little different as Joshua was preparing to transition into the local high school. He did aligned courses in math, LA and social and did very well. He didn't do the science course. Was he unprepared for what grade 10 had to offer? Probably. Will he succeed? Absolutely.

Andrea is currently in grade nine. She is doing an aligned math curriculum and her LA skills will come out as she writes essays and reports on the medieval history lessons that she's reading about. For science this year, both girls are doing Anatomy and Physiology together. Arianna is working on grade five level vocabulary, spelling, reading and writing and her social is learning about the geography of Canada. Andrea intends to continue and complete her education at home. I don't know what that looks like today... I'm not looking at next fall yet. I also know her character and work ethic and believe with all my heart that she will succeed in whatever she does. If she choses to change her mind, then that will be okay but for now, I'm sure that she will do her high school years in the dining room.

Homeschooling the kids was not a choice that Doug and I made lightly. We prayed about it often, and still do. Until we feel led otherwise, we believe that this is the best choice for our kids and our family.

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