Sep 23, 2010

School Days

This is the post on where I explain my thoughts on homeschooling Hunter this year. This is not a judgement call on whether people should or should not homeschool. To each his own. This is why I am homeschooling this child, this year.

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. ~John W. Gardner

The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live. ~Mortimer Adler
You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford
Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it. ~William Haley

We are in full swing around here with homeschool. Hunter is loving it and he is working hard (though as you can see by the picture below, printing is not his favorite).
I am loving it too. It gives me the chance to be creative with learning, and to draw out more in Hunter than he would ever get in a classroom. He has an insatiable curiosity and is so full of questions and thoughts as we are learning. It's so fun to be able to work with him one on one. This was his spelling list last week. Obviously we are working on short "i" blends. These are magnetic letters and he's sticking them to my cookie sheet. Yes, the sheet is clean. It just happens to be about 15 years old and doesn't get any cleaner than that. Yes, I am airing the condition of my cooking pans for all to see. No shame here.
Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire. ~William Butler Yeats

One of Tone's big questions for me when we were considering homeschooling is if I thought that I would be too easy on Hunter because he was getting one on one instruction from his mother. You know, his education would be spoon fed and Mommy does half of it. While I suppose many homeschoolers run their schooling like this, I prefer to do the opposite. Actually, Hunter probably works harder because he is homeschooled. He doesn't get away with anything, and he is forced to do it right the first time. Plus, there is a lot of dialogue. Since he is the only one answering the questions, he can't "hide in the back of the classroom" so to speak. But don't feel too sorry for him. He gets his work done in the fraction of the time that he would in a classroom, and he is soaking up all the attention. Actually, he is blooming.

As Rikki Tikki Tavi says in the book by Rudyard Kilping, "Run and find out!" That's what I make Hunter do. I expect a deeper level of understanding and comprehension and thought because one-on-one, I can. Hunter did really well in school last year, but I noticed some things that I would like to improve upon and develop should I have the chance. Also school was overwhelming for him last year and it was only half day. I didn't think he would do that well from 8:30 to 3:00 every day plus homework...in only first grade. It seemed unnecessary and silly to stress him out that much when I could do a better job in a fraction of the time. However, I think his teacher did a fantastic job last year, and I would do kindergarten there again if I was to rethink it.
Our favorite part of the day is Bible. We open with it every morning, and the questions he has and the thought processes he goes through would astound some adults. It's a precious time. I absolutely love the Bible curriculum we are using. I grew up on it, and it was also my favorite part of the homeschooling day. It also was very sound. It grounded me in something deep and meaningful which was a good anchor as I got older. I want the same for my children which is a major reason I am homeschooling.

I am using Bob Jones Bible Curriculum. Yes, it is old fashioned, but yes it is also fantastic. It includes the Westminster Catechism and hymns, but since God Word hasn't changed for thousands of years, the message is the same. God's love is a theme that runs throughout, and it gives a deep overview of the Bible. I memorized those hymns and catechism. When I got the teacher's manual in the mail, I flipped to the catechism. I was curious how much I remembered from my childhood. Though I didn't remember the rote answers word for word, I did remember the content. The content has been a guide that has followed me throughout my life. I know what the Bible says on most topics and can defend my faith. When I got to Bible college there were no surprises in my theology classes thanks to this curriculum, and the theology courses were very challenging for most students and breeze for me. I wasn't sure if Hunter would like the hymns, but he loves them and sings them throughout the day. By the way, I don't want Hunter to know the catechism as a legalistic type of ritual, but rather I want him to know the content as an anchor for living. Therefore, I am do not ask him to know the answer by rote, but in his own words.

The other book I highly recommend is the "Jesus Storybook Bible". The tag line is "every story whispers His name" and it is beautifully told and illustrated. I have found myself choked with tears while reading to my children as the simple truths hit home for me again and again. It avoids the legalism and moralism that are so prevalent in children's literature, but rather communicates the gospel to children in all the fullness of God's love and plan for them so very clearly and profoundly.

Ainsley sits next to the table or next to me while we school and quietly plays. She is listening the whole time as well and often pipes up when I don't even think she is paying attention. She is learning simple letters and numbers as well for some preschool.
She shockingly approved of one of the outfits I picked out for her. Whoa! She looks so adorable in her little cardigan and capris with cherries on them. How cute for fall! See. Being the person I am, you knew some sort of clothes fashion had to work it's way into this post, right? I made this little felt cherry clip to match, but since she preferred a headband, I just hot glued it to a white one she already had.
In totally unrelated news, I was working in the yard yesterday, and that's where I got the flower pictures from up above. Tessa needed to see me to be happy, so she got sat in her bouncer in the dirt next to me. Look at that little chunker. She is gaining some mighty thighs.
I went to Costco for diapers. Tessa was in between a size 2 and 3 and Ainsley is in between a size 3 and 4. So I bought one box of size 3. It totally works for both of them (Ainsley still needs a diaper at night). So...this is one easy way to streamline my life and save money. Costco diapers rock by the way. They fit better than Huggies and are cheaper (at least in my experience).
It's so sad when your 3 year old can wear the same diapers as your 3 month old.

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