Educating a child’s mind is the ultimate goal in developing a lifetime love for learning by means of experiences. Education is not merely grasping concepts forced into the brain to dissipate shortly after the information has been regurgitated through quick ways of testing.
Our home education journey was a choice we originally made so we could continue pursuing our “Eclectic/Charlotte Mason” style of parenting. With a more relaxed approach to education that includes our world view convictions, and tailoring specific subjects to each child, our homeschooling venture has had many opportunities to pinpoint areas of success and weakness. Yet through each hardship we have learned to endure, persevere, and pursue deep character development found only in our family unit.
I personally never expected to make it past a few years of homeschooling with my first child. Yet, here I am six years later with the responsibility of currently educating a fifth grader, a second grader, a kindergartener, and a baby who naps intermittently.
Our consistent, structured routine “most days” happens from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. We have a lunch break around noon, followed by a “brainbreak,” which consists of outside time or free play, and then we complete our day with any unfinished subjects, unanswered or problematic questions, and hopefully end by 3:00 p.m.
On Wednesdays, we have chosen to participate in a co-op, which provides our extracurricular classes, such as art/crafts, physical education, Pinterest for kids, wacky science, interactive story-time, presidents, and the United States. Co-op also provides our social interaction with age-appropriate peers.
Fridays are “free” days consisting of music lessons for mastering the guitar and piano. This day is also utilized for local field trips around the state of Virginia, or for library time to replenish our supply of reading material. Our extras include: participation in American Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA, swimming lessons, competitive swimming, and baseball.
Our weeks are very full indeed, so intentionally planning downtime is a must, as well as time for recharging and just enjoying life!
My Eclectic/Charlotte Mason style for home education is why I piece together our core curriculum each year.
I enjoy choosing a broad range of curriculum styles, which vary in color, form, expectations, standards, and manipulatives—all from vendors that have our core belief system of faith and creationist worldview.
Here is an overview of our curriculum (K-5th grade):
- A Reason for Handwriting K-6th Grade
- All About Spelling by Marie Rippel (Levels 1-7)
- Kumon Workbooks (Cutting, Mazes, Uppercase Letters, Lowercase Letters, Alphabet Games, Numbers 1-30, Simple Addition)
- Singapore Math (1st through 5th grade)
- Building Thinking Skills by The Critical Thinking Company
- Elementary Geography & Cultures by Master Books
- Science Starters by Master Books
- Big Book of History & Earth/Sky by Master Books
- Elementary Zoology by Master Books
- Biographies of The Revolution & Timeline of The Revolution by Master Books
- Editor in Chief by The Critical Thinking Company
- Geography Practice by Evan-Moor
- Total Language Plus Literature Inspired Language Arts
- Hidden Pictures by Highlights Magazine
- Draw Then Write by Evan-Moor
- Cat And Dog Theology
My philosophy of education is simple—to apply the knowledge learned in books with an experiential encounter. This is a real hands-on approach, applying knowledge to an experience.
I have found that my children, when presented with real-life situations, have a more enriching learning experience.
When they are able to apply, problem-solve, and critically think through what they are reading or actively engaging in, it stimulates all areas of learning, and incorporates each of their learning styles.
The primary focus of home educating for our family currently stems from our faith-based worldview, as well as nurturing their influences with Christ-centered educational books, extracurricular reading, activities, and relationships.
My husband—who is also hands-on with some subjects—and I feel strongly that we are to equip and prepare the next generation for living an intentional life for Jesus Christ in regards to one’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
By limiting as many worldly distractions as possible, we are able to really focus on what matters. Character development becomes something our family works on almost daily, as well as learning to focus on the strengths of the child, while cultivating growth in their weak areas.
Of course there are many days when home education is a struggle; attitudes are negative, everyone seems easily distracted, and the day is just not as productive as I would have hoped. Yet, for all of the hard work, money, time, and resources I have given to educating my children, I have been able to witness the success of watching them learn how to read for the first time, understand the basics of mathematics, delve into history books that fascinate their minds, create art masterpieces that challenge them beyond their limitations, and see the excitement of their facial expressions that seem to say, “I really enjoy learning”—for this I am grateful, and it was worth it! Enjoy the journey!
Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.
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