We ventured into the world of home education this year with my 5 year old. We chose a faith based Kindergarten curriculum, one which came highly recommended by some very trusted friends. Thursday we will have our “official” last day of school and as I look back at the last 9 months I’m amazed at all the clichés that are really true. Along with watching my oldest son blossom into a lover of reading, math, maps and science, I’ve noticed my own character growth in areas too.
10 Things I Learned from my First Year in Home Education:
1. You REALLY can’t compare your child to other children: Truthfully, this may always be a struggle for me. I’m competitive. But reality is I want to home school so my children can advance as they learn more quickly if they are ready AND slow down a little if needed. There were days where if I heard one other mom talk to me about how well their 5 year old was reading I thought I might die, but alas, I now have a 5 year old that reads too. IT’S NOT A COMPETITION…or so I will repeat over and over if need be. 😉
2. What appear to be weaknesses at first, may quickly become strengths: There were days where I just assumed my son was not going to be a good reader. He quickly picked up anything math or science oriented and struggled to learn to sound out words. I had resolved in my mind to not be disappointed when he didn’t become an avid reader. It just wasn’t his strength, but now at the end of the year he proclaims, “I love reading.” and “Can I read that again.” and I remind myself, he is learning.
3. Sometimes its more convenient to move the “classroom”: We have a home school room. We are so blessed by the space, the desks, maps and large table we can all sit around, but some days we home school upstairs at the kitchen table. Sometimes we just sit other places in the house. There are many other tiny bodies to tend to and we just have to educate everywhere.
4. Spending “extra” time to do fun projects is always worth the time: We’ve sewed stuffed turtles, made pies, made bird feeders out of toilet paper rolls and many other fun projects. I always found the ones that took a little extra time and effort had the better return.
5. Children find value in learning new skills: Educating my children is not just about reading and math. This year my James (5) has been baking, cooking, sewing, hammering and planting his little heart out. He loves his hands on education and takes pride in every new achievement.
6. Nature is an amazing teacher: Some days you just want to scream. Those are the days we take it outside and let God through His amazing creation teach us. We study plants, bugs, birds, fruit, the food chain, and photosynthesis. The kids look at animal prints, try to find rabbit holes and discover the names of trees. My hope is as they age, we will get to go deeper and deeper into science through the great outdoors.
7. God and the Bible can be incorporated into any lesson: I’m amazed at how literature, science, and history can so easily all come back to moral absolutes. The children has such profound questions and it is a joy to see them search for God in everything.
8. Flexibility makes school more enjoyable: When dad comes home in the morning on school days we take time to be as a family. When we are going to go out of town we work school in around it. If someone needs a meal or a ride, we take the time to meet their needs. The focus always needs to be availability to God and flexibility is key.
9. Field trips make wonderful learning experiences: This year we decided to take the kids to Sea World to study the arctic animals. We went to a wildlife museum and zoo with family while we were on vacation. There is no substitute for these wonderful trips and since we have opportunity to take them often we will.
10. This journey of home education is a marathon, not a sprint: The goal is a well rounded education with a focus on character and purpose. These are not goals to be accomplished overnight. This is going to be a slow and steady process for us and I’m in it for the long haul, even though I can tell already there will be moments when I think I can’t go on, we will finish strong and well.
What have learned from educating your children at home? We’d love to learn from your lessons!!!
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