Friday, 25 June 2010

Finding my homeschool groove


I am taking a break from writing my story on 'Overcoming Depression' that I started. I will return to it, but I realised that visiting the 'winter' of my life, even through memories was mentally exhausting, and has taken it's toll on me. I do believe that there is a need for me to share my story. As I searched the Internet in my despair I found no stories of hope. I only found stories of doom. I especially want to share my story for Christian women who may, as I did, be condemning themselves for being depressed in the first place and may not know how to reach out to Him from a place of self-condemnation.

But for now, I want to share what else is on my heart - finding my homeschooling groove. I am coming up to my 2nd anniversary in my homeschooling journey. I only believe that now I am starting to understand the direction that God would have me take in homeschooling.  It has not been an easy journey, but one that I have grown closer to my King through and grown within myself through Him. But, 2 years after beginning my homeschooling journey, I have now found my 'groove'.

When I was first introduced to the world of homeschooling it was like stepping into another culture. Homeschoolers had their own lingo,and the culture is rich and diverse as any culture is. Homeschoolers are a passionate group of people with strong opinions and like to think outside the box. But like any culture, has sub-cultures who all have their own ideas. I felt so bewildered. Who is right? Which path do I take? Which method suits my family? My research left me with more questions than answers. That is when I had to step out and try different things to see if they worked for our family. I had to do a lot of 'trial and error' experiments to see what was the best way to function as a homeschooling family.

It wasn't just the curriculum that I had to make choices on. I had to choose how my time would be best spent. I had to choose how to I would schedule (and how stringent or loose to make the schedule) 'school' into the day. I had to choose how I would best manage my house. I had to choose to say 'no' to activities that would interfere with what my husband and I wanted to achieve as a family. I had to choose not to compare myself with what other families were doing. I had to choose to rely on Him or I would never make it!

I have learned so much from making mistakes, stepping out in faith when I thought I had heard Him - only to feel like my heart had been ripped out, and I had made a mistake. But that's OK. The lessons have been my teacher, and through the experience, I have learned things I could have never have learned from any book. I have learned that I want this for my children too. I want to allow them to make mistakes, in the safety on our home, and to learn from the experience. I don't want an artificial environment that cocoons them from all the world's evils. I aim to find a balance of protecting my children, while still allowing them to be hurt and make mistakes - just like the Lord does for me.

So what type of homeschooler am I? Hmmm. That is a hard one to answer and it may even change over the years. But for now, I am calling myself eclectic. We do a little bit of learning through workbooks, a little bit of learning through reading Living Books, and a lot of natural learning.What does a typical day look like for us? Well, there isn't one. Everyday we do our 'read-alouds' but other than that, everyday is different. I am so much more relaxed in the journey as I trust in Him, and trust in the process of natural learning.

But I will let you know what curriculum we use:

Bible - Egermeier's Bible Story Book and Jesus Storybook Bible and NIrV bible (bible for Early Readers)
Maths - Singapore Maths Workbook
Phonics - Explode the Code Workbook
Copywork & Narration - Writing with Ease Workbook
History, Social Studies, Geography - Sonlight Core Package 
English Literature - Sonlight Core Package
Readers - Sonlight Readers
Science - Wonderland of Nature & plan to do God's Design when we have finished WON.

Besides the workbooks which are age-relevant for each child, we do every subject together. The workbooks are the only 'formal' schooling we do. Art is obviously 'hands-on'. Everything else are 'read-alouds' that I read to the children. I am very happy with the Sonlight selection of books. I do add my own books from time to time. We are almost finished 'The Chronicles of Narnia' which the boys and I have really loved. I am thinking of venturing into Note booking when the boys are a bit older. But for now I'm happy with minimal 'formal' schooling and am concentrating nurturing a love for learning.

I am amazed at how much my boys learn through natural learning. For example - Courageous Boy Warrior, at the age of 5,  has learned basic maths through our 'token system' that we implemented a few months ago. He can count how many tokens he has, and can calculate how many tokens he needs to reach his desired target. In his maths workbooks, he is still learning about shapes and  has not formally learned addition and subtraction yet. And then there was our little visitor that the boys displayed their knowledge learned form our 'read-alouds'. When we went to a local playgroup when fire fighters were visiting, Leader Boy Warrior was able to recall from one of our 'read-alouds' that we had read, "Dolphin Adventures",  in incredible detail about how the air tanks that the fire fighters were showing us worked. I have learned to be a more relaxed homeschool mum and trust in the process. After all, homechooling is a journey and there is no right or wrong way to do it. It is different for each family. But I am glad that I have finally found my homeschool groove!

Still taking lessons from the King,




21 comments:

  1. You GO girl!!! You're a super homeschool mum!! Always have been!!

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  2. Tracey, you were the one that ever so patiently encouraged me that I will find my homeschool groove. Thank you for all your encouragement over the past 2 years. You are one in a million. You really are!xo

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  3. I love your new look....
    as for the homeschooling, I will wait till I have a bit more experience before I comment. It seems so odd to me that I can manage classes of 19-22 students, in pre-k through 12th grades, and the thought of homeschooling my one and only child scares me at times. We humans are silly creatures aren't we?
    ~Me

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  4. That's so cool that you've worked out exactly where you fit in the homeschool style - that is ... you're own style.
    But you've got me thinking again after our last conversation!!

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  5. Congratulations on your anniversary. I do find you go through seasons where you need to grow and change and then there are season where things run really smoothly. Sometimes it is hard not to judge our homeschooling by what others are doing, yet listening to God is so important. Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job!

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  6. You are such a groover! I have personally seen that journey and watched you flourish! There is soooo much more in you xx

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  7. That is fantastic! May your groove continue [smile].

    ~Luke

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  8. I enjoyed visiting your site and reading your blogs. I like how you said you have to find your own homeschool groove. We all are unique and individual and so are our children, this is something I have to keep to reminding myself, and do what we think is best. I look forward to visiting your site soon. Thank you.

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  9. I think you found your "homeschool grove" because you chose to rely on Him! Kudos to you!

    As for your taking a break from your series on overcoming depression - wise move. I agree that your story should be told and God will use it to help and bless others, but if things were looking more grim than hopeful, I think God must have been prompting you to take a break and be fed with His joy again! It took me quite a while to come to the place where I could write "A Life Saved" (June 8 blog entry). I tried many times, but sadness whould overwhelm me, even though I was through the valley. But, when God showed me the right time to share, it flowed effortlessly and my spirits remained bright and hopeful. Does that make sense?

    I have really been enjoying getting to know you through your blog and your comments on mine. I'm praying for you and your homeschooling adventures!

    Living for Him, Joan

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  10. Hey! Once again, your house sounds like mine. We're just about to make ourselves official (since my son is only 5-1/2 I haven't needed to put us on paper yet) but what you're doing now seems very much like what is coming together for us. I just got a peek at Singapore Math last month at a curriculum chat and thought it might have potential for my boy. Mostly, we read ALOT. I want to take your egg paint ideas too.

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  11. Hey Laurie, the egg tempera paint idea is from the art book int this post. Click on the title to have a look.

    We have so much in common my dear friend. I didn't make it official until my eldest was 6 years old. We love Singapore Maths. (Tracey put me onto it.)

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  12. Great post, Jo! I love your new look!

    Finding our groove can be difficult, especially if we spend too much time listening to too many people!

    I am glad you have found yours and your home school journey is a joyful one!

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  13. That sounds like a great groove! Everyone has one and it all looks different. Love it!

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  14. ""The lessons have been my teacher, and through the experience, I have learned things I could have never have learned from any book.""

    Amen to that. And you never stop learning either. I was just thinking the past few days over my own homeschooling journey. It has been difficult - but branching out into a new thing is never easy - but I have never regretted our homeschooling decision. I have learned so much - reliance on God being the biggest. I have been homeschooling now for 8 years - it has flown by so fast, and I am still learning. Enjoy the journey.

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  15. Thanks for visiting me! What a beautiful place you have here, and such a lovely family. I knew that you were my kind of gal when I read your "fun facts". I, too, am a roach-a-phobic. Thankfully, I have only been terrorized by them in the comfort of my own home, though!

    We are in our 7th year of homeschooling with Sonlight, and we have enjoyed it so much. It's great that you have found your groove!

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  16. I'm so glad you shared this. I hope to homeschool our son and even at his young age I try to be intentional about incorporating some learning into our days. (..Sometimes I'm better at that than others..)

    Homeschooling seems like such a big job and there is so much to choose from. I'm glad you've found your groove with God's help. That's wonderful! Relying on him is the only way to go! :)

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  17. P.S. I also loved what you said about allowng your boys to make mistakes. I so desire for our home to be a safe place for my husband and I and our son to try and fail. It is so important to feel that freedom and know that we will be loved and encouraged even in our failings.

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  18. Thanks for writing that post I'm just new to home schooling only two terms and I am very much caught up in the fear that other people are doing it better than me.

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  19. I'm in the grove as well. Homeschooling and loving it. By the way, I love the new look of your blog. I'm thinking of updating mine as well.

    Hugs from this momma,
    Sarah

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo