Wednesday, March 23, 2011

School for 2

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."

     ~C.S. Lewis

Before we even had children, Jesse and I decided that we would homeschool.  It seemed to both of us that God had blessed us with the ability, the knowledge, the patience, the time, and hopefully the discipline that it would take to homeschool our children.  As Grace grew, I knew more and more that our decision was the right one for our family.  There were so many reasons for us to homeschool.  We wanted to have the freedom to teach our children through our worldview and with our values; which is something that a local public school of course could not offer.  We have at times thought about Christian school, but even if tuition cost were not an object (it is!) we would still choose homeschooling as our most desired method of education.  I can't imagine not having Grace with me throughout the day, and I can't imagine separating my girls for the entire school day.  This may sound to some like a desire to "baby" my girls, or to somehow control them.  That isn't it at all.  My reasons are so much more about this: Who knows my daughter better than I do?  Who will be able to teach her and love her at the same time?  Who can feel out her moods, know her motives, read her body language, anticipate her frustrations, and cater to her skills in the way that I can?

This is not to say that I have it all figured out, or that I am the homeschooling mother that I want to be.  The television is on too often, lessons are shortened due to a crying baby or a load of laundry, and the "structure" of our day is often lacking.  Grace and I started going through the alphabet using "Sing Spell Read and Write" more than a year ago.  We are still working on it, (we only have "Z" left to do) but we have of course done a lot of other fun and interesting lessons along the way.  My goal for kindergarten was to have Grace sounding out words and reading by the end of the year, and she is already exceeding my expectations in that arena!  Now Evie is more and more interested in joining in our lessons, which can be challenging, but also gives me the opportunity to work on things with Evie that I did with Grace when she was little.  (It is much easier to find time to teach your first child shapes, numbers, letters, etc.)  We love to all read together, draw pictures, learn letters, and play educational games.
Working on our Phonics Alphabet

Baby Evie joins in...even though she doesn't quite know her ABC's yet! 

These pictures were taken in the beginning of our school year in September.

Writing letters has been the hardest part of school for Grace (and me too!).  She is not naturally gifted with her fine motor skills, but she has come such a long way and has very nice handwriting now!

She cracks me up when she uses scissors-she opens and closes her mouth along with them!

Watching Gracie learn to read has been so amazing.  She is naturally gifted with reading, and she loves books!  At this time she is reading Level 2 readers with ease.  

Working on patterns, colors and shapes.  (Evie is also finding out the texture and taste of this foam block.  =P)

I think she's making a rainbow.

3-D art of the beach, our favorite place!

I am determined that when life really settles down and we are living back in our own home again, I will do three days of structured school with the big girls, in addition to our Thursday homeschooling co-op with our good friends.  For now we are taking homeschooling day by day, or maybe minute by minute!  I take heart in the fact that kids learn by watching, doing, and living, and that God in His grace gives me so many opportunities to teach my children.  I want my children to have a love of learning, and to strive towards excellence in all of their endeavors.  What are your thoughts about educating your children?  Have you given thought to homeschooling, private school, or public school?  If you do homeschool, what does a typical day look like for your family?  I would love to hear your wisdom!

PS- I feel like it's important to note that it took me about 3 1/2 hours to write this post because it was written in little snippets in between chunks of our homeschooling day!