Posted tagged ‘children’

Looking Forward

May 2, 2015

I’ve known since I was in high school that I planned to homeschool my children someday.  I probably assumed it even earlier, but I think the decision was conscious and concrete in middle or high school.  My own experience of homeschooling was so wonderful that I had no intentions of letting my kids miss out on what I had.

That intention has never wavered.  It was an important question I asked Sir K before I got engaged, especially because he was not homeschooled.  He responded that I myself was a good argument for the lifestyle, and he has supported my desire from the start.  I’m very much looking forward to the day when I begin teaching my own children, while at the same time I am still a bit intimidated by the enormity of the task.

I probably have a head start of a lot of moms who weren’t homeschooled themselves, and quite a few of those who were.  That head start comes from being the daughter of a homeschool mentor.  My mom has helped numerous other moms get started, whether they were starting at the beginning or pulling kids out of school systems.  I also got to see a lot of the inner working of her eclectic system (although we incorporated from some of the more well known prepackaged curriculum, my mother did all her own planning).  As the eldest, I was trusted to check my younger siblings’ work when there was an answer key, and in high school she even let me check some of my own work.  Not like I was going to cheat by then, I really wanted to know the answers!

Mom also included me in the process of choosing curriculum for myself and my siblings.  Letting me help choose my own materials meant that when I had a strong negative reaction to one history textbook’s confusing page layout, she was able to look for other options before the school year began and not wait till the second week when I was suffering through my lessons.  Part of helping children learn is being able to choose curriculum that suits their individual learning styles, and I got exposure to that early on.

Even with all this background, however, I still sometimes think “how on earth am I going to get started!”  What I remember of homeschooling is mostly the last five or six years of it, not the first.  Teaching a child while also keeping track of smaller children sounds like fun of the exhausting kind.  On the other hand, I know from experience how wonderful homeschooling was, and I would never think of quitting, especially not before I’ve begun.  I know that when the time comes in a few years, I will rise to the occasion, just like I did when facing what seemed like tough problems or subjects in my schoolwork.  I’m not always going to swim well, but I know I have a support system that won’t let me sink.

Those few years are going to go by faster than I can keep track.  You see, I can already number them.  Five years from now, I will be making kindergarten plans.  Yes, Sir K and I are expecting our first this Fall.  While various members of both families are exhibiting characteristic excitement or enthusiasm, Sir K and I are already praying for parental wisdom, and I am thinking of the sweet days to come when I can gather my nestlings on the couch for reading time.  You see, as I’ve said many times and probably written at least once or twice, homeschooling is not an educational choice for me.  Homeschooling is a lifestyle, and it’s the best one I know.

We Laughed Too

August 21, 2013

. . . I remember the moms of one or two kids, eyes like saucers as we passed them in the grocery store, asking one of two questions: 1 Are they all yours? 2 How do you do it? And Mom laughed. . . .

Phylicia’s post sounded some echos from my own past, so go have a read!

I remember those days, when my own mother would be shopping in the grocery store or the mall, five little munchkins trailing behind.  “Are they all yours” was a common question, at least until people were more distracted by “are they twins?”  The answer to both questions was yes, so at least that was easy…

My siblings and I span ten years from oldest (me) to youngest.  I know that helped a little, since some of us were able to be a significant amount of help when the last two came along.  I know I can’t fully appreciate all the work that went into raising five children, at least not yet, but I know that it was worth it!

We laughed too.  Some days it was little more than a smile, but we laughed.  We sang, we played games, we read books, and we laughed.

Phylicia is right, there is a joy and a peace that transcend circumstances, whether there are five kids, six kids, two kids, or none.  We can encourage it, or we can smother it, so look for the ways that God is blessing your family and point them out.  Rejoice in the family you’ve been given.

And build for the future.  Your future home, your children’s future homes, your future home in heaven.  Rejoice, for the Lord is come.

Perceptions

July 17, 2012

“When I first met you guys, I thought you [my parents] must be strict because all your kids were standing so quietly.”  –approximate quote from a friend of my mother’s

Yep, we found out months later that a lady at church had at first thought my parents were strict. Just because all five of us were so well-behaved! So, quiet children equals strict parents?

I would have understood better if she had thought we were intimidating.  My family numbers seven, which can be intimidating all by itself, and then we are all tall – the twins are growing like weeds, but discounting them, five of us between 5’8″ and 6’2″ could appear intimidating to an outsider.

But strict?

We never had a list of rules in my house, and we didn’t have a chore schedule (although we all did help out with tasks like laundry and dishes), but what we did have was relationship and respect.  When Mom asked us to do something, we generally did it willingly because we wanted to help her.  When she told us not to do something, she usually explained why, and we followed her guidelines because we understood (to whatever extent we were then capable of) that she had our best interests in mind.  And no, we wouldn’t have used those words at the time!

One of the first things I remember about going to church as a young girl was being quiet.  While we weren’t told that children were to be seen and not heard, we did understand that when grown-ups were talking, we should be quiet.  For sermon time, Mom usually brought crayons or pencils and paper for us, and we busied ourselves quietly.

It helps that for the most part, all five of us got quiet genes from my engineer father.  We aren’t driven to make ourselves the center of attention, and we are perfectly comfortable with being quiet for minutes on end if necessary.  For some kids, this seems to be a harder concept, although a perfectly reasonable one to learn.

Why should quiet, respectful children (of any age) indicate to someone that the parents are strict?  I suppose this shouldn’t puzzle me, having observed other families, some of which have boisterous children and some of which do not.  The number of rules parents have and the way parents enforce them (or don’t) varies widely from family to family.  But it does make me wonder what other perceptions my family has raised in people’s minds, and whether we are living up to them or living them down!

Homeschooling: The Good, The Bad, and The Next Generation

April 24, 2010

My mother asked my siblings and me some questions recently about our homeschooling experience.  She wanted to know whether we had enjoyed homeschooling, and what were our favorite and least favorite parts of it.  And she wanted to know whether we would homeschool our own children.

I loved my homeschooling experience, as you can guess if you’ve been following the blog or have read the archives.  I had lots of freedom within the system.  For instance, my mother would give us a sheet each week listing all the assignments we had to do for the week in each subject.  From there, I could pretty much choose which assignments I wanted to do each day, so long as I got it all done in the week’s time.

What did I enjoy most about homeschooling?  Well, that might be a tough call between having lots of free time after schoolwork was done and spending so much time with my mother and siblings.  In my free time, I’ve pursued many hobbies, such as sketching, crochet, guitar, writing stories, and painting.  Some of these and my other hobbies I first learned as part of school, whether for art, practical arts, or music, but I took them further even after I’d finished the assignments.

I also got to spend a lot of time with my family.  As you may have guessed (or did I already tell you), we’re a tightly knit bunch.  My sister and I loved to play together, acting out stories with our dolls and stuffed animal.  I played many different games with 3G, some indoors, some outdoors.  I like to spend time with the twins, especially now that I’m giving them singing lessons.  I spent many a happy hour talking with my mother as we prepared meals, worked in the garden, or shopped for craft supplies (or many other things).  In the evenings, my father would read aloud to us, usually a history or literature book Mom chose that complemented our studies in those areas.  Later, Dad taught me to play guitar, and we currently do some volunteering together once a month.

What was my least favorite part of homeschooling?  That’s a tougher one that the favorite part.  I don’t think I came up with anything when she asked the question, and I still cannot think of anything now.  There were parts of homeschooling that I didn’t enjoy, but they were parts that would have been the same in public or private school too.

The last question was about whether or not we would homeschool our children someday.  I cannot say with 100% certainty that I will, but it will take some convincing from the Lord to show me that he wants me to send my children to school.  I cannot fathom putting my children on a bus and letting a school educate them.  I believe that I’ll be better qualified to teach my own children than any teacher, merely because I’ll know my children better than any set of teachers could ever know them.  For this reason if for no other, I would homeschool my children.

The fact is, though, that I have plenty of reasons to want to homeschool.  Chief among them is the desire to train up my children in the way they should go.  The public school system no longer acknowledges God.  Trying to counter the teachings of public school in what little time I would have my children with me would be tough.

Private schools may not undermine the foundation which I am trying to build for my children, but they still have other issues, such as too much peer influence, too many authority figures, and too little time spent with family and mature adults.  In addition, private schools tend to be fairly expensive; I know homeschooling can be done for considerably less.

Will I homeschool in precisely the same way that my mother did?  Probably not.  For one thing, I’m not the same kind of person nor the same kind of teacher that my mother is.  My strong subjects are quite different, and my methodology is different.  I would be able to use different types of curriculum sometimes than what she used.  For another thing, I will not have the same kids she taught.  Homeschooling is best when tailored to the child, so I will choose methods and materials for each subject that are best suited for each child.

The children of the homeschooling pioneers are just reaching an age where their children are old enough to start homeschooling.  I think it will be interesting to note the way homeschooling changes as more and more second generation homeschools begin to influence the way homeschooling is carried out and the way it is viewed.

I can’t wait to be a part of that!


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