Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Schooling choices

I'm so thankful for the freedom to still choose in our country how we educate our children.  I pray these freedoms still remain for our boys!  
The home school catalogues are beginning to come in the mail, getting me thinking and praying about next year's school year.  Next year Jordan will be a senior, making this our 13th year of schooling!  Wow, has time flown.  I remember when we were first married and knew a little child would be joining our family, we began discussing how we were going to educate him.  Mark was really opposed to the idea of home schooling especially since he'd be teaching in a school.  After a short time of teaching, he was all for us home schooling.  Not that the school he was teaching in had anything "wrong" but he saw the flaws with class room settings.  (One child gets the lesson and has to wait for the others to "get it" and many other reasons).  So this began the long process of picking out the curriculum that we thought "best" for us.  
I guess the reasons for home schooling and philosophy of learning will influence your choice.  I've never been a quick learner and growing up, had the types of text books with the word I had to learn in bold print.  So I began cramming those words into my brain and tried to pass the tests that way.  I knew I didn't want that type of education for the boys!  I call that BORING text book learning :)    I just got cheap-o letter and number books for Jordan (and whatever my Mom passed on from schooling my sister Ruthie).  Then once Jordan learned to read, I began using Rod and Staff for his reading and math.  I tried another reading when Hunter came time to school.  For the rest after Hunter, we went back to Rod and Staff (I asked Jordan and Brendan what curriculum  they liked best and they said they learned the MOST Bible from their Rod and Staff readers so I figured that is what I needed to go back to, they both read well and are so knowledgeable in their Bible). I switched Hunter back to Rod and Staff too :)   
We now use Rod and Staff for beginning reading, spelling and phonics.  Horizons math for the elementary grades, Keys to Math for the older boys, Bob Jones  English, Alpha and Omega science and history, Explode the Code for added reading and other books supplemented in for the older grades.  This is what has worked for our family.  I have  never been a huge fan of sitting the boys in front of a video of a classroom and calling it homeschooling.  I guess that goes back to your philosophy of schooling,, example: are you home schooling because there is no Christian school available?   Mark had to monitor a video class and it drove him nuts watching the kids in his room watching the video and the ones who were getting it, sitting there wasting time while the others tried to get  it.  There's NO personal interaction either.  I love knowing that the boys reading is from ME teaching them, not a Mrs So-in-so from some video!   Now for older education, a few videos may be ok but I just haven't had a need for it yet (thank the Lord).    This, of course, is all my opinion and each family has to decide before the Lord what is best for them with their philosophy of education.  We've always tried to praise character over achievement.  Some things are just plain learning that has to be done (times tables, neat penmanship,  nouns, pronouns, etc) but with home schooling, we can work their schooling around their bend in life's interests.  I'm so thankful for this freedom we enjoy right now in our country! Christians, keep praying that it stays that way!

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