Monday, August 23, 2010

What I Know About Homeschooling, Part 3

As I said before, I only know about what we have tried and done in our homeschool through the years.  I am a huge fan of A Beka books.  I have all of the readers in our library.  I even enjoy looking at and reading the history and literature books.  But, as most homeschoolers do, we have tried other curriculums through the years.  We tried Alpha Omega and School of Tomorrow a couple of years.  I like the way they are more condensed, but we ended up going right back to A Beka.  That is what worked and works for us.  I make no bones about it, I had rather socialize in high school than be at home each night studying (like I should have been), so therefore, I didn't take the harder subjects that would have required me to study more.  I am not proud of that, but it is a fact in my life.  I panicked when Noelle was going into the ninth grade.  Algebra, Biology, and Chemistry scared the life out of me!  We even tried going back to the Christian school that year, but decided that there really is no place like home.  We ordered A Beka videos for her from then on and we had no more problems.   The videos are wonderful!   We have never had a 'school room'.   Noelle did her school in her room.  She had a TV and VCR in there and would watch the videos each day in the privacy of her own room.   Some days, I'd hear her laughing while watching a video, maybe the teacher said something funny that day.  The videos were just like being in a class room, except the teacher and students couldn't see or hear her.  We also like the idea of  being able to rewind if a second or third explanation were needed.

Cale began using DVDs in the eleventh grade.  He has a little set up in his room now where he does his school work.  The DVDs take alot of work off of the parent.  I do check his work and listen to him recite his Bible verses, but that's about it.  I get much more done during the day than I did when he was in first through tenth grade.  

That is what has worked for us through the years.   Just because we love A Beka does not mean that using a different curriculum is bad;  once again, find what works for you and your children. 

Now, I want to comment about the much heard S word!  SOCIALIZATION!   When we first began homeschooling, we knew that God was leading us in the endeavor, so I reckon we assumed that the whole world would be so happy for us!  NOT!  I would be so excited when someone ask about the children.  The first year or two of homeschooling can be very intimidating and a bit frightening to the parents.  I mean, we are talking our children's education here!  Questions come to our mind like: "What if I don't do it right?,  What if I fail my child?,  What if they grow up to be dumb as a box of rocks???"  And I am sorry to say that sometimes our friends and family can multiply those questions and make us question our calling.  Right after we began homeschooling, a dear lady asked if I was working or what; and when I told her (just beaming!) that I was at home teaching my children, she grabbed my arm and looked me straight in the face and said, "Oh Liesa!  What about when they get into the real world?  They won't know how to act.  You can't shelter them like that."  Needless to say, I was speechless for a few seconds.  Remember, I am a people pleaser.  I replied, "Well, as you know, we are not like most people anyway, and this is what we feel we should do."  That happened again the same year at the Christmas parade.  I could tell by the look on another dear ladies face and by the sound in her voice that she felt so sorry for my children.    Did those ladies reactions affect me?  You're mighty right, they did!  Tore me up!  I went home in tears questioning my ability to teach my children.  On one side of my mind, the pro side, I'd think:  I really feel like this is God's will for Noelle and Cale.  I want to raise Godly children...I want to raise my children myself...The con side of my brain would say, "Liesa, you don't know the first thing about algebra or chemistry.  Your children will be so dumb and it will be all your fault!"  Oh, how I'd struggle.  After much prayer and a good talk with Scot, I'd plant both feet back on the ground and go at my 'calling' more determined than ever.   You see, I came to the conclusion that Scot and I will answer for the way we raise our children.  We will answer to God, not to our friends and family.  And our friends and family won't answer to us for how they raise their children, so therefore, we have no other choice but to obey God in our home.   

I often kid around and say that if our children were any more sociable, we might as well sell our house and buy a motor home.   Through the years, our children have always been active in church activities, sports, and other past times.  Both children love babies, younger children, old people and all in between.  They are patient and kind, especially to younger children and older people.  Both are very considerate, mannerable, hard workers, very interested in other's, and believe it or not, both children have and practice alot of common sense at home and outside of the home.  Scot and I have many other children other than the two that are our own because we have always welcomed our children's friends into our home for wonderful times of fellowship. 

Here are some synonyms of Social:  genial, amusing, entertaining, companionable, pleasurable, civil, polite, polished, mannerly, pleasure seeking, hospitable, pleasant.     According to Webster, my children get an A+ in socialization! 

As for the education part of it; I do not keep up with grades in the way we did in school.  I check their work and ask questions to see if they 'get' it!  Did they understand?  Did they learn?  If not, I call for a 'do-over'.  Noelle and Cale try hard to understand their lessons and do their work correctly the first time, that way, it saves them time in the long run.  We kid around and say that they have a 'mean' teacher, but quite honestly, it's pretty simple.  The rules have been set before them many years ago, they know what we expect, the rules are the same each day, so therefore, we reap wonderful results each year. 

Noelle graduated in 2007.  She is now a full time certified teller at a very nice reputable bank.  She has been taking banking classes on line for the past two years and plans to continue doing so for as long as she can.  All of her co-workers seem to love her and enjoy working with her.  I hear alot of good remarks from many of her customers too.

Cale will graduate next Spring.  He is not sure what he will do after graduation.  I panicked when Noelle didn't know, but I am a bit more calm this time around.  I don't see Cale sitting inside behind a desk or anything, but I know he is a very hard worker and a determined young man who can accomplish anything he sets his mind at.  The most important thing I know is that God has his hand on Cale and Cale has a genuine desire to be in God's will and to be pleasing in His sight. 

I will comment a little about our schedule....I plan our school year according to what is going on in our lives.  For instance, most years, we would begin school the first week of August.  That gave us some extra 'play' days as we call it just in case something came up during the year we had to take off for.  Last year though, we were in the process of buying a house in August and was not for sure when we would be moving, so we didn't begin school until after Labor Day.  Yes, we were in school up until the first of June which had never happened before, but that is what worked for us during that time in our lives.    We do not have a set starting time each day.  Cale aims for 8 to 8:30.  We don't have a set time to do a particular subject.  He just works until he's finished with everything.  He works homework in his daily schedule which makes for free nights!

And the most popular question that has been asked, "Do you do school in your pj's?"  They didn't every day, but yes, it happens from time to time.  My children have never been allowed to sit around the house dirty and unkempt, so they know to be presentable and clean, but other than that, we are at home, and home is the most comfortable place to be! 

I know I have not covered everything about homeschooling, but I thought it would be neat to make a few points about what little I do know and about a few things that have worked for us during this wonderful journey and season of our lives.  Has every day been easy?  Goodness no!  Am I confident in what I've done?  No, I never have confidence in me, but I do have confidence in God.  And with that, I can say, All is well, and all will be well.

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.  ~Deuteronomy 6: 5-9


Kathey, David, and Josh said...

You have covered it. Honor the Lord. That means with your children too, and ya'll along with several other families have been an example to others including us on homeschooling in our area. Thank you!

Anita said...

I have enjoyed your homeschooling posts. It is always interesting to hear how other families learn at home. I think you would find our homeschool extremely chaotic. I think I have one or two who would like to go to their rooms to do their school work, but with 6 children at home and only 3 bedrooms there aren't enough bedrooms to go around. School goes on in the midst of busyness!

Julie McAfee said...

Love all your homeschooling posts. I guess you are now what we call an expert on homeschooling. Keep up the good work, and really do we want our kids to socialize with the "real world?" I have seen the real world and don't want my kids to be part of it.

Diana said...

Great post!!

Christin said...

Another great post! When we finally start homeschooling (possibly next year for preschool!), we also plan to use mostly A Beka. In my teaching experience, I found it to be the best out there.

I really get upset when people assume that homeschoolers are not "socialized." What does that even mean? Proper socialization really isn't hanging out with the same group of people, the same age every day. My husband was homeschooled K-12, is very social and successful. He went to college on a full scholarship and is now pursuing his MSA. We will likely send our children to Circle Christian School, which is the homeschool group under the umbrella of a private school that my husband attended.