Our homeschooling journey began twelve years ago when my oldest son, Cory was of kindergarten age. My husband and I had close friends who homeschooled their children, and we liked what we saw.
Their kids seemed to enjoy being with their parents and each other. They were smart, intelligent, and fun to be around. We decided we wanted kids like that and began looking into homeschooling in earnest.
My biggest reservation was, “Can I do it?” In addition to my son who I would homeschool first, I had two younger kids, a budding writing career, and I volunteered at my local church. Yet as I began looking at curriculum, I grew excited about spending quality time with my kids and building a lifetime of learning together. (“Together” being the key word!)
Growing up, the only times my brother and I were together was after school—when we didn’t have anyone else to play with. We rarely interacted, and when we did it wasn’t a pretty sight!
Another main reason my husband and I decided to homeschool was because of our faith. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (NIV).
John and I felt that learning to love God was even more important than academic success. So this became one of our main focuses—spending time reading Bible stories together, memorizing Scripture verses, and including a Bible Curriculum as a core subject when our children grew older.
Another aspect I enjoy about homeschooling is the ability to tailor my children’s education to their unique needs. There have been times in our educational journey that it was necessary to take learning slow with one of my kids. Other times, I had trouble keeping up with them as they raced through the books as fast as I can find them.
Now that they are older, two of my children enjoy doing their homework on the computer, having interactive lessons and getting immediate feedback. Then there’s my other child who would rather read out-loud to me from a good book.
I’ve purchased numerous curriculums over the years, trying everything from classical literature, traditional workbooks, and unit studies (instructor-designed thematic studies). There’s always something new to try, which keeps our routine fresh and fun. I use our library system, checking out both fiction and non-fiction books to keep up with inquisitive minds.
Of course, parents can attempt to plan the perfect schedule and pick the best curriculum, but what it all comes down to is how the children learn.
In our homeschool we’ve adopted a natural style of learning, which involves learning with and without books. Our “official” school day begins around 9:00 a.m. and ends around 2:00 p.m., but throughout the day we also enjoy cooking together, playing board games, reading in the evenings, and attending each others sporting events.
One wonderful thing about homeschooling in our county is that there are numerous activities for my kids to get involved in. They’ve been a part of homeschool choir, swimming lessons, and basketball. They’ve also taken private classes such as dance, voice lessons, piano, and guitar. In addition, there are numerous classes offered through the local Christian school, including art, acting, writing, and science labs.