Putting together this post became such an important task for me. I certainly thought that I would have had my first home schooling post done long before Thanksgiving. The journey has been such a monumental undertaking, such a whirlwind of trial and error, such a mish mosh of ideas and suggestions and finally such an unbelievable blessing that finding all the words has proven to be quite daunting.
I have truly tried to put together all of my thoughts and ideas in as logical and coherent a manner as possible. I’m sure there will be those days when I am ready to pull my hair out, when herbal tea and Mozart just don’t seem to do the trick when my anxiety and self-doubt will tell me it’s time to pick up those Lancaster Catholic enrollment forms and throw in the towel. I will be able come back to this post to remind myself why I took on the task of home schooling my 9th grade daughter, why this time and effort between mother and daughter is so vital.
Unfortunately my decision to home school my freshman daughter, Katie, was a last minute one. Last minute decisions are, at times, blessings and then at other times they just push you deeper into uncertainty. As our summer progressed I became more and more aware of Katie’s reluctance; her fear of facing her high school years in our local public school. Her anxieties and depression became nearly insurmountable as we came into August. We tossed around options such as private school and cyber school. But we had tried both of these options with less than favorable results.
I will try not to get on a soapbox here but my feelings regarding todays culture and childrens education are strong and resolute. I question how one teacher (who may or may not have their whole heart in education) can be sure that 15 – 20 students are absorbing and understanding their lessons. I question how students are to learn and understand how to write a gramatically correct sentence when a computer will correct their grammar for them. I question how young ladies are to learn the skills needed to take care of their homes and their families when the related values and morals are no longer deemed high priority. I question how and why standardized tests can make or break a future. I could go on and on here. The more I pondered these things the surer I was that home school was the answer for Katie and I.
I thank God everyday that the circumstances of my life and my husbands allow me the time to home school. My decision to home school and my research began in the last two weeks of August. My research continued into the first weeks of home school and indeed still continues today even after the end of the first marking period.
Disciple – One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.<
Early on in my research I came across many blog posts and articles discussing home schooling as discipleship. Looking at my day with Katie in this light has given me an inner peace. I feel as though I’m following God’s plan for me as a mother and as a woman. For as many times as I have strayed from God’s plan in my life this is a sure revolution for me! From this understanding springs a self-confidence that had previously been lacking. As I sit with her and instruct her in a lesson from beginning to end and I see her grasp the concept and hear her repeat it back to me I feel an overwhelming sense of pride in her and satisfaction with myself. I’ve done it!I’ve passed on something of use to the younger generation!
I have finally come to a definite decision regarding curriculum. After a marking period of trial and error we have settled on The Charlotte Mason way of home schooling.
As I study more and more of the tutorials and lesson plans on Ambleside Online I fall more and more in love with this approach to learning and teaching. Resources abound and I feel as though I just can’t soak it up fast enough! Things like living books and scripture memory and copywork and dictation… these are the perfect way for Katie to learn. This is how she learns and comprehends. The approach seems to have been tailor made for her learning style. It’s a joy and a blessing!
We can begin our day in the Word of the Lord. We can include a traditional home economics class. We can have tea and study poetry in the afternoon. We can learn from a book like Ourselves by Charlotte Mason. Katie has all the one-on-one time she needs. She is absorbing and she is comprehending using her own smarts rather than having a computer do the work for her.
It has taken me a marking period to fall into a groove and feel confident and sure in my home school endeavor but I am in the groove now. The next four years have the potential to be the most important in my life and in the life of my daughter. I feel fortunate. I feel blessed. I feel hopeful and I feel confident. As I share more about myself and our home school journey you will likely begin to envision how significant these feelings are!
And here is my precious girl!