Friday, August 24, 2012

Why Do You Homeschool?

"Why do you homeschool?"  Ask that at a park day or parent's meeting and you'll get a wide range of answers.

I have two purposes in home schooling. I strive to teach my children righteousness, instructing them in Scripture so they know it inside and out.  That way, if they hear a falsehood, even dressed up really pretty as if it was Biblical, they will spot it immediately and not be deceived.  I desire that they walk with the Lord all of their days and bear much fruit in their lives.

Secondly, I want to teach them how to learn.  That's the purpose of our academic studies.  It doesn't really matter if they commit Boudiccia' story to heart. It doesn't matter if they know every element on the periodic table.  It's doesn't even matter if they can multiply four digits of numbers by four more.  When  they are adults and need to know something new, I want them to know how to go out and get that information. We'll never be able to teach every fact and figure.  Did your years at school give you all the knowledge you needed for your entire lifetime?  Of course not. But you learned what you needed to know at the time you needed to know it.  If you learned how to learn, that process was automatic and you did it with ease.  If you didn't, you probably struggled more when faced with new responsibilities.

Don't get weighed down with the details of education.  Look ahead and see that bright future of watching your child succeed with the skills you have instilled in him or her, not the facts!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Essentials by Greg Laurie

We do a lot of Scripture study in our family.  We attend Calvary Chapel and go through the Bible book by book, verse by verse with our church family.  We have read through the Bible aloud at home.  We've also read through Catherine Vos' great story Bible.

My Lambies are old enough to do some real thoughtful Bible application now, so we are adding other interesting books to our Bible study. On their own, they're reading classic devotional books, like More Than A Carpenter and A Year With C. S. Lewis.  They're reading apologetic books like Know What You Believe and Know Why You Believe. We spent half of last school year and the first couple of weeks of this year reading Essentials by Greg Laurie.  We've enjoyed it very much and had many great discussions sparked from its pages.  I highly recommend adding this book to your family's library!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Classics Offer!

I was made aware of an incredible deal on classic books.  Yesterday's Classics, who I have ordered from several times, has made 225 of their titles available in Kindle or EPUB form for only $49.95!  This is an outstanding chance to expand your home library for pennines per book.  I am not getting a commission or any credits for passing along the link. I just want each and every homeschooling family to have the chance to take advantage of Yesterday's Classics generous offer!  Click over and buy before Tuesday, August 28th!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chinese Cultural Center Visit

The other day we went to the Chinese Cultural Center for the first time.  We drive past it often, but had never stopped by before. We learned about the real lives of Confucius and Buddha during Mystery of History last year and I thought this would be a nice complement to that study. Here are the kids, squinting into the sun because if they faced the other way, the pictures was all washed out.
These two garments were on display. The white one looked older than the black one and was exquisitely embroidered.  The darker one looked machine sewn to me.
 Here's a close up of the stitching on the white garment.
 There was lots of art on display, too.
 This drum was crying out to be pounded, or so my little boys thought.  They controlled themselves very well, though, so I allowed them to thump their fingers on it softly before we left.
 This statue was outside, baking in the sun,  The plaque was entirely in Chinese, so we didn't know who was depicted.  I suspect it was Confucius, though.
Something that would have made it better would have been for a guide to have been there. The only other person we saw was a Spanish speaking housekeeper. I asked her if there was an attendant, but she said she was the only person there. It was a fun little field trip regardless, and I am glad that we finally made the time to stop by.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back-to-School Interviews

I have posted how I plan our school year before, and even once before that, but have never posted about our Back-to-School interview.  Today I will remedy that.

For the last few years, I have created a Back-to-School interview for my children.  I print it off and give each child a copy to complete.  Children who can not yet read or write get to do it orally with me.  I ask things like, "Which book you enjoy most last year?", "What would you most want to learn about this year?", "What did you least enjoy last year?" and "What do you need to practice more this year?".  There are usually 8-10 different questions of this sort.

After giving them a day to complete it, I call them to me one by one, privately, and discuss their interviews.  I find out what they didn't like about a particular book or subject; what their specific, personal interest is for the term or the year; and specifically what they think they need to work on more.  We pull books from the shelves according to their interests and later I begin working on their term work forms. I really enjoy our time talking together and getting some insight into their feelings about school.

I often craft a course specifically for a child's interest or need discussed in the interview.  For example, last year for my 10th grader, I made a Health and Nutrition course.  I chose three books for her to read and wrote down the specific requirements for her to earn her credit.  I will write out the specifics in a future post.  I made two copies of that page, one for me and one for her.  She was required to complete all the points before the end of the school year.  It helped teach her responsibility of time management and how to budget her work load throughout the Term.

For another example, one of my daughters loves to cook.  She has mastered making most of our normal meals and wants more challenge.  Therefore, this school year, she'll be doing a "World Cuisines" course. I haven't planned the entire study yet, but consists of an overview about a culture (Japanese, for example), a history of their geography and natural food sources (which greatly affect their traditional foods),  their 'stereotypical' dishes and if they are realistic or not, specific vocabulary relating to their cuisine (wok, chopsticks, etc) and choosing a few of their dishes to prepare and serve.

Our back-to-school interview makes this kind of planning easier because I can really get to know what they would like to learn about in depth.  It makes school so much more worthwhile than simply doing Math, Science and History blah-blah-blah.  To have a real personal interest to explore makes a world of difference!