The benefits of home education for the kids are many; individualized instruction, less peer distractions (although there are three teens so it's not compltely eliminated), personalized lesson plans, less time doing school, increased time for volunteer work, increased time for money making ventures, no dreaded late nights for busy-work projects, etc.
The benefits for Mom are less obvious. Afterall, I had eight solid hours of alone time prior to our home education adventure. I do sleep in about an hour longer since the kiddos came home and I no longer write huge checks for; tuition, nasty (according to some but not all of the kids) lunches, book fees, sports programs, etc., but for the most part I've added a great load to my house management responsibilities.
This leads me to the greatest benefit of home education for this Mom. Are you thinking I might say "endless time with my precious sweethearts"? No, that's not it. We really seek to find ways for all of us to have the alone time that keeps us sain. "No more driving fifty miles and an hour-and-a half a day?" Nope, that's not it, but oh-my goodness the gas savings is HUGE and I love that I'm not seen as a permanent part of my van any longer.
No, a huge benefit of having the kids home is that they are motivated and hard workers. Some more than others, but really they are all pretty awesome! Valerie, for example, does not look like a hard worker. On the contrary, she sometimes can look impossible to motivate, but that girl does ALL and I mean ALL of our family's laundry. This is how she gives back for not wanting anything to do with outside work. Do you know how much laundry a family of six (and sometimes seven) can generate? A LOT! Before starting this post I walked into the utility room to help her fold a load and was smacked in the face with the reality that I hadn't folded a load of laundry in a long time. Two weeks or more!
Kari & Kevin keep the outside going. They do all of the grass, weeding, help Dad with pool work, etc. On top of that, our hard working Kari works inside the house every single day. She is ALWAYS working hard. Someday this beautiful girl is going to make an amazing wife, mother and she will run a top notch clean home.
Very proud of these kiddos and all that they are to our family. They are far more than the work that they do, but oh, how grateful we are for the work that they do.
God, thank you for leading us to bring the kids home and we ask that you continue to give us the wisdom and strength to grow them into the beautiful men and women of God that you desire them to be.
I love you, Sweet Kiddos!
Thank you for all of your help ~ it does not go unnoticed and is deeply appreciated!
What is true for each of our kids?
1. He is an auditory learner. Big time. Material delivered in any other way will not get in. (And I say that with confidence after years of working with him.)
2. He is bright and does not want any (and I mean ANY) unnecessary work.
3. Kev' has a mechanical/logical/engineering brain.
4. He is an early to bed/early to rise kinda' guy. Always.
5. He likes to be alone for at least 30-45 minutes in the morning before anyone else wakes. It is the only alone time he craves all day. (Ju is an early riser and can sometimes mess up his plan.)
6. Would do all school work through discussion if possible.
7. Writing by pen & paper is painful to Kevin. However, he has learned to write and express himself through Word.
1. Kari is a visual learner.
2. She needs to physically move often.
3. She is extremely extrovert and needs to leave the house at least every other day, but every day would be best.
4. She is a hard worker that loves to serve her family through acts of service.
5. She loves children and the elderly and desires to serve them.
6. Kari needs academics to be clear and uncomplicated.
7. Kari is a fluent reader and likes to read out loud.
8. Kari likes happy stories and struggles with the pain associated with deep/difficult material.
9. Friends are very important and for very good reasons.
10. She recognizes and appreciates the benefits of homeschooling and it's my job to ensure that her extrovert personality is stimulated outside of our house.
11. Kari has the ability to sell an idea/thought/herself to anyone. She could be an evangelist if God so directs this part of her, because He sure gave her that skill.
1. Visual learner
2. Quick to understand concepts
3. Auditory work is somewhat annoying to her.
4. Easy to educate
5. Likes to do busy work through worksheets (I even bought her Abeka grammar to add to her curriculum so that she could do worksheets. :)
6. Likes to memorize poems, Bible verses, & language helpers.
1. Prefers to work independently
3. Visual learner
4. Prefers question/answer sheets over discussion
5. Would avoid most human contact/social situations if she could.
6. HUGE READER but prefers to read teen things over interesting history novels (Sonlight type literature.)
7. She just said that she would rather go to her room and answer the discussion questions on paper rather than sit in the living room and talk about what we just read. Thankfully, she does desire to sit with us while we read ~ that's a plus! :)
Update on last post: Summer school...letting go for a few weeks.
They need a break; even if I don't. They were in school for nine months and I wasn't. It makes sense.
Recently I've been reading and found this blog post and this long conversation on the Well Trained Mind forums (WTMF.) Interesting reads that make sense to me. During most of the reads I heard this question in my head: Isn't this all very intuititve? Maybe it's my age that makes this more intuitive for me. I remember myself as a younger mom/wife. NOTHING was intuititve. Well, almost nothing anyway.
Over the years I have figured out who I am and I function within that knowledge. I'm not interested in pleasing anyone but God and Scott and I'm quite sure that God is disappointed often. Scott, well, he's just too good to be true and loves me in spite of who I am.
With that said, what I'm about to write might make one think that I lack confidence in teaching my children when, in fact, for me, I don't purpose that I can teach math the same way someone who has taught for years and who holds a degree as a mathmetician can. Period. Now, when we get around to biology, human biology, etc., everyone should get out of my way because I am ON IT!
Math ~ I want a math curriculum with a teacher on a DVD. I know that if I have to spend time reading and figuring the lesson out on my own and then teach it, it won't get done. Except perhaps Algebra. For me, doing Algebra is like eating chocolate. So.Much.Fun!
Language ~ My strength is not grammar (understatement!) or writing and, therefore, I need to outsource some of my language teaching. Not all, but some. One of the problems that I have is that I will use far too many words to try and teach something and will lose my kids. Someone who is good at teaching a subject matter will use minimal words to make their point in a clear and concise manner. I, on the other hand, would add ten words for every one needed. This is part of who I am that must be recognized and addressed. It serves me well for subects that are discussed, but not math and the like.
Science ~ Friendly and with a conversational style is a must! Also, I will never try to teach Geology. EVER! I have to find value in a topic in order to teach it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I do not care a rip about geology. Take a college course if you want it kids.
History ~ LOVE it, but I know that I must teach it in the way that I wish I had been taught. Tell me the stories of what happened. PLEASE! I don't feel inclinced to have a "teacher" (DVD or outsourced teacher) help me with this because I believe that the information is all there in great books and documentaries.
Also, unschooling or being too relaxed does NOT work for me. Because I know myself, I am aware that if we are too relaxed nothing will get done! PERIOD. My kids would leave here completely uneducated. I know that some dear friends think I'm being over the top by worrying about checkboxes, but the truth is that if I don't check off boxes then we will watch Good Luck, Charlie! for four years. I don't say that as a joke ~ we really would.
Reading thoughts from the ladies on WTMF makes me know that it's just as unnatural for those Moms to use a pre-designed curriculum/plan as it is for me to reinvent the wheel. Designing their own is what works for their family just as much as what I do works for our family.
With all of that said, I do struggle somewhat in knowing how to meet individual learning styles in our home. For the most part I think I do okay. We have many of our texts (science/history/some read alouds) on CD so that Kevin can have them read to him because he is a HUGE auditory learner. In addition, I buy those same books for Kari & Valerie so that they can follow along in the book as the CD plays because they need to see it.
The other side of their learning styles has to do with my love for discussion; science, literature, and history are all read and discussed while snuggled up in the living room. Science is tested but the others are not. This works for three out of four of us. Valerie would probably prefer to be given the text and then sent to her room to read and complete questions related to the material. She doesn't necessarily ask for this but I know her. It is my job to balance her need to go and do everything alone in her room with her need to engage with other life forms. :) On the other hand, she learns well when writing everything out and not so much through discussion. Hmmmm......
I'm going to have Valerie sit with me to discuss what works and what doesn't and see what she says about all of this.
That brings up another point. I love that we brought the kids home 4th quarter of last school year. It has given us a heads up on what works, what doesn't and what we all like and don't like. It has primed us for beginning next year. I write about it here so that I can sort it all out and develop what works for us. I am not of the opinion that I am over thinking, but rather, analyzing in order to make things work as well as possible for our family.
Oh, and one more thing. I feel that I must say this "out loud" so that I can deal with my feelings about it. When I hear people talk about not bringing "school" home, I cringe inside. In some respect I know what they're saying; I get it, but in other respects I really don't. Because our goal is to:
1. Give our kids a strong academic foundation so that:
a. They have the skills that they need to be successful in collge.
b. They have the skills that they need to go out and serve God well in their community.
We don't see how that can be accomplished without hard work. Besides, what if they decide NOT to go to college? (They have that option - although I never talk about it being an option.) If they choose not to go to college then this is it and I want to provide them with a quality high school education. So, for us high school looks like a really cool & relaxed "school". You will never find me outside digging in the creek bed with them (EVER!) but you will find me curled up on the couch with them reading really great books and talking about really interesting topics.
Part II from Valerie & I up next.