Saturday, March 31, 2012

Homeschooling 2012-2013

We have finally made the decision to not re-enroll Elaina at her school next year. A lot of factors contributed to our decision and none were based solely on the school itself. It's actually a precious school and part of me is really sad to say goodbye. I might talk later about our reasons. Ultimately we have to do what is best for our family and after much debate we will be having our own Preschool (Zoƫ; still a little young but she is SMART and ornery and needs some structure), Kindergarten (Abigail) and Second-grade (Elaina) right at home.

I've already begun transforming our parlor, dining room and foyer to accommodate our schooling needs. These are the three rooms to the front of our home where the most sunshine comes in and we have everything we need between the rooms. One day, if we ever move, I'd love to have an actual classroom!

So far I've been stocking up on binders, notebooks, pencils and have been building up our collection of blocks and manipulatives and puzzles. I've also found an amazing website called where I can find freebies or pay a small fee for lesson plans created by teachers. I've downloaded and printed off several and have them laminated and filed into a file box I created.

We're going to a curriculum sale on Friday to see if we can find the curricula we're interested in. Here is what we're hoping to use unless something else catches our eyes:

Science - Apologia (girls voted and want to do Anatomy first)
History - Mystery of History (friend let us borrow this so we already have it)
Reading/Grammar - Explode the Code
Handwriting - Still undecided but did find Elaina a cursive notebook
Math - MathUSee or Saxon

You can see we're still up in the air. While we will do curriculum-based learning I find that balance is so very important so we'll also be doing a lot of day trips, joining a homeschooling group, doing a lot of exploration and play. There will be times school feels very Montessori-ish and other times it may feel very Classical. Right now I am just open to see how we all do and what is best for us.

I love the versatility in homeschooling. Our class is small and I know my children better than anyone so I can help meet their needs. Work hours are much shorter which frees up a ton of time for kiddos to be kids. I don't have to worry about where my kids are or what they're doing or what exactly is being taught or about unnecessary peer pressure. They can help build their own atmosphere of learning without distraction of peer influence and still gain friends through field trips and taking classes (like dance).

I was worried about the social aspect and of course I don't want to put my kids in a bubble, so don't misunderstand me. I ended up stumbling upon a couple of great articles that actually made me a lot more open-minded to homeschooling and the myth that children are socialized in school. I'll probably write my own post on the topic in the future, once we've gotten our toes wet. Visit HERE and HERE.

I realize not everyone agrees on this particular subject, or many subjects I have written about here, but this is what will be best for us. Elaina has struggled since starting school two years ago physically and emotionally and even spiritually. She is beyond excited to start homeschool. We definitely let her talk with us about it and how she felt about it. She is all on board.

And me? Before enrolling Elaina at her school I was kind of doing a homeschool. I know it's not easy and it is a lot of work (if you unschool I don't think it's as much work but for how we're *planning on doing our school it will be work). And I've struggled and fought God on this subject because it interrupts MY plans. But I'm to a place where I'm willing and ready to lay aside the desires of my heart for a season in order to make sure my daughters (and son!) are brought up in the way they should go so they will not easily depart from it. I'm ready. I'm ready!


The Mommy said...

First of all, YAY! I'm so proud and excited for you! We LOVE it and cannot imagine doing anything else. We are starting The Mystery of History this year (in the next few weeks) and did lots of Explode the Code before Maggie felt like it was to easy. Now, I have some thrown into her work and she loves it just for fun. Maggie did well with Saxon Math for first grade, but she gets anxious and insecure about her abilities. I decided to repeat first grade math and try Horizons to give her more math, but in a different way. It's so nice to be able to follow her needs...and interests too. She loves spelling and writing and anything involving art. Binders are a BIG love of mine! I sort of do the workbox method, but group it into a binder where Maggie has her daily work so that she knows what's expected. Can't wait to follow along on this new adventure! (And btw, in the past I had read both of those posts about socialization.

Kaysha said...

Congrats on the decision. I hope it works for your family!

Vixbil said...

Wow Joy what an awesome decision, I cannot wait to read more about it

Kaye said...

Congrats on the decision! Of course, I've seen all the talk on FB, so I knew what you were up to, but I'm proud of you for taking the leap and doing what is best for your family.

Kristen said...

I'm so interested to read about your homeschooling! My husband was homeschooled (and he's pretty fabulous if I do say so myself!). Years ago, I would have NEVER thought about it at all, but as I've gotten older, I've seriously considered it. Obviously it's difficult to know what we'll do until we actually have children, but it's awesome to have some good examples in the meantime.

Erin MacPherson said...

Hi Joy! Thanks for dropping by my blog. Looks like you've really thought through this home school thing and while I can't give any advice, I so respect the effort you've put into it. I can tell your kids are so fortunate to learn from a mom who cares. And, I truly believe that the key to success in schooling isn't where you go or who your kids are with, but that you're listening to God and doing what's right for your kids. Yours will be GREAT.