Thursday, August 12, 2010

Encouraging words for your new Homeschool year! #1

I got this from a great blog called Palms of His hands. This and the next post have been very encouraging for me. It has helped me feel more excited about a new year that I am blessed to teach and enjoy my children!

Looking back on 14 years of homeschooling I’m glad I….

Made a list of reasons why I home school. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God was calling us to this task when our oldest was about to begin second grade. However, I knew there would be days I’d question the sanity of obedience and would be glad for those reminders that first year. I was right.

Read aloud, a lot! I read aloud to all three children from the time they were tiny until….well, I haven’t really stopped. Books are gateways to other places, times, and ideas. Traveling there with your children is one of life’s greatest joys and a way to painlessly learn about all sorts of things. Many of our “adventures” were read by Cassie as I sewed and Candace colored or played with her cat.

Tried different curriculum's. There are a plethora of curriculum choices and educational ideas out there. While the choices can be overwhelming, they are also freeing. One child likes textbooks and workbooks. Another likes researching interesting topics. One likes Saxon Math while another despises it. The beauty of home education is finding what fits each child and you. The possibilities are endless.

Discovered notebooking and copywork. This will also go under the “I wish I had…” section. I wish I had discovered notebooking and copywork sooner, but Cindy Rushton, the notebook queen, was a young homeschool mom herself at the time I was beginning, so it wasn’t available when I first started. (Actually, I didn’t even have internet that first year!) But I eventually did discover these concepts and found them to be effective and stress relieving. These are especially great techniques for those early years. (Check out

Realized all kids don’t have to be able to read by age 5. Everyone has their own gifts, talents, and abilities. Just because they haven’t mastered certain skills by certain ages doesn’t mean they won’t. I figure it’s ok if a 20 year old can only read at an 18 year old level.

Found a support group. This was vital to my survival. There were a few years in our life journey when we weren’t involved with other like-minded educators. It was tough! Even after 14 years I need the encouragement, friendship, and new ideas a homeschool support group gives.

Let the tadpoles take over our inflatable swimming pool. We had baby frogs everywhere that summer! I just don’t believe a traditional classroom could match the excitement and learning that came from checking on hundreds of tadpoles and watching their development every day for weeks

Realized somethings are more important than “Book Learning”. Some of those things include adventures with grandparents, nature walks, taking pictures of butterflies and tadpoles, helping those in need, getting along with siblings, balancing a checkbook, holding down a job, and helping around the house.

Let Kyle bounce a ball while spelling words and Candace learn phonics while swinging. In other words, I’m glad I realized that learning doesn’t have to take place in a desk in a school room. A public school teacher can’t allow 25 students to bounce each letter of their words, but you can.

Let the kids keep caterpillars of all kinds and watched them hatch out.

Let Candace help me in the kitchen. In the very, very beginning she wasn’t much “help”. But she was a good companion and is now great in the kitchen. We have lots of fun and she’s learned a lot about real-life math.

Stuck with it and didn’t give up. It has been trying and difficult at times. We’ve had years when we accomplished much and years when we barely scraped by. There have been days I felt desperate for “me” time and now there are days I tear up at the thought of not doing this anymore. But I’ve never, never, never regretted this decision to not only teach, but nurture my children and rediscover the wonders of life and nature with them.

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