After years (yes, years) of thinking about whether or not to homeschool, we took the plunge in 2012.  We have a school room in the basement of our new house, which is a little different for us compared to our original first floor school room.  The design was changed when we moved in 2015 to better meet our needs though, and it’s really working for us!  We rarely have a typical school day these days, but all of the important lessons are well covered.  We also have a nice amount of relaxing, playing, and reading time in the process.  I know there is much debate over education here in the U.S. and I truly believe that there is not one correct way to teach children.  I think there are so many awesome alternatives for families, including public school.  That’s one of the beautiful freedoms in the great USA.  Homeschooling is not for everyone, just as public school or private school is not for everyone.  I am ok with that and respect every family’s decision to educate their children in the manner they feel best.  The key is that families are free to choose education for their children.  For multiple different reasons, we feel that homeschool is the best decision for our family.  I do not know if it will always be the best decision, but it is working well for now.

1 (1)There are many reasons for our education decision, but a few that are most important are:

  1. A Biblical worldview education where God is the center and is always glorified.
  2. Giving the children an overall Biblical worldview of all studies, while also allowing them to draw their own conclusions and ask questions in a safe environment.
  3. Being an integral and active part of our children’s education.
  4. The choice to decide what we learn and how to do it.
  5. The ability to give extra individual help when needed, without time constraints and the worry of performing for standardized tests.
  6. The flexibility of scheduling and being able to let the children pursue their interests without over-scheduling them.
  7. The flexibility of taking family vacations or time off during the “school year.”
  8. A less expensive alternative to Christian private school education while still giving them a family-centered learning environment.
  9. The ability to be together as much as possible and give the children time to read together, explore together, create together, imagine together, play together, and build sibling friendships that will last a lifetime!

We have adopted a Classical model of education for our homeschool.  At its very core, a classical education pursues truth, goodness, and beauty.  Liberal arts and studying from the classics are a priority.  The Classical model divides learning into three stages: the grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stages.  The three stages roughly correlate with the elementary, middle, and high school years.  The Bible actually refers to these three stages as knowledge, understanding, and wisdom: “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Proverbs 24:3-4

In the grammar stage, memorization of facts is the main focus.  In the dialectic stage, questioning information and facts, reasoning, and logic are emphasized.  And in the rhetoric stage, communication skills are refined.  We have formed and attend a local classically-minded community as the basis of our homeschool.  It is a tutoring program but resembles a Christian co-op, where we employ Claritas Classical Academy’s memory work.

During our community time together, the children are introduced to new memory work, participate in science experiments, music theory/appreciation studies, and art elements projects.  They also study the foundations of language arts.  The new memory work covers all major subjects including Timeline, History, Geography, English Grammar, Math, Scripture, Latin, Science, and Hymn.  Students deliver short presentations to their classes each week, to help them learn research and public speaking skills.  We also participate in some field trips together throughout the year.

I use the weekly memory work to build our history and science studies.  For those subjects, I choose the same reading material for all the children, but give assignments appropriate for their learning levels.  We are doing age/skill-appropriate math and language arts studies, as well as other extra-curriculars, like Mandarin Chinese, Tae Kwon Do, and music lessons.  I love that our memory work gives me a basis for our curriculum, but I am still able to teach what is relevant for our family.  It also gives us a nice outline and helps to keep me on track throughout the school year!

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