Hey, Y’all! I am always beyond thrilled to hear from you! Your questions, comments, and messages always brighten my day!
Lately I’ve had a few questions about our homeschooling journey, so I thought this would be a good time to share with you how our family came to homeschooling!
I attended public and private schools for Kindergarten through the 4th grade, but then my parents decided to enter the world of homeschooling. My brother and I started the 1st and 5th grade that fall at home, and our three younger siblings followed in line.
We spent our days learning the Greek alphabet, prepositions, Latin roots, algebra, dissecting frogs, multiplication tables, extensive memorization, and writing book reports all around our kitchen table. In the style of a one-room schoolhouse, my younger siblings learned many of the same things that I was learning.
The self-discipline and responsibility that I developed while learning at home has been incredibly valuable to me. My mom also cultivated the skill of writing in my life. I had daily writing assignments on many different subjects, and my love for words grew. I became a stickler for spelling and proper grammar, and I thirsted for as much knowledge as I could get my hands on!
I was able to get ahead in my studies and graduate from high school a year early, which paved the way for my dream of going to Russia to come true when I was only seventeen. I had studied the Russian language at home before I moved into a Moscow orphanage with other young adults who had also been educated at home, but immersion really is the best teacher! I went out into the city with several different teams of students. I taught English as a Second Language at another orphanage, took part of the prison ministry, taught character in schools, delivered food to widows, led service projects with Russian teenagers, went on Bible distributions in rural parts of Russia, and attended a wonderful church with my Beloved’s sister Amy!
I’m sure that I would have found my way to Russia even if I hadn’t been homeschooled, but this was the path that my life took – and I might not have met Amy (and her handsome brother!) if my parents hadn’t decided to keep us at home.
When I had Camden, I did what every mother does – I taught him the names of animals, colors, numbers, and letters of the alphabet. I read him stories, took him on walks where he discovered nature, and I started teaching him how to hold a crayon.
By being a regular mom, I discovered that I was homeschooling. Sure, he was tiny, but he was learning and I was teaching him. I loved being the one that helped him discover the world, and I did the very same thing when Aiden came into our lives. By the time Quinn was born almost three years later, I was doing preschool and kindergarten work with our older boys.
There wasn’t a specific moment where I sat down and decided – Okay, now I’m going to keep my kids at home. Homeschooling had become our lifestyle.
You see, each of the boys must start attending the local public school in the fourth grade. It was not my decision, but I have to make the best of this situation for my little ones. Last year was Camden’s first year to attend public school, and next year Aiden will go, too. In a few years, Quinn will join them.
Because the time I have with them is so limited, their education is incredibly important to me. I am devoting this time to making sure that I have given them a good foundation before they head to school. I have studied different approaches to homeschooling and learning methods, and settled on the Classical Method that has worked well for our family. Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Trained Mind is my favorite book on classical homeschooling and supplementing classroom education.
An emphasis on language arts, exposure to exciting stories from history, learning mathematical facts, and laying a foundation for studying more advanced sciences are all part of the Classical approach to homeschooling.
We have mummified a chicken, learned the names of the States and presidents to songs, built a ziggurat temple, erupted volcanoes, dropped eggs from balconies, written fairytales, built the Parthenon out of gingerbread, made solar systems, learned the phases of the moon with Oreos, built the Great Wall of China, diagrammed sentences, memorized poetry, and learned how to cook recipes from around the world.
We also supplement our school week with PE classes and by attending a homeschool co-op where our kids (and about 50 others) come together to go on field trips and learn together once a week in a classroom setting.
I was just looking back at the videos and photos I have taken over the last several years, and tears filled my eyes as memories flooded over me. I know that I don’t have much longer with our younger boys being taught at home, but I have treasured each and every minute with them. Homeschooling is hard… Being a mom is hard… but both have been more than worth it!
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Until next time,
In Her Shoes is a series written by readers to give us a glimpse into their lives - to see what...