The Caskey Family

One Way to Homeschool
December 23, 2010, 2:17 pm
Filed under: children, homeschool

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Every mommy experiences pressure, and with every decision with our children, it gets more complicated.  How we solve or answer certain questions with our family will not be the same way you answer your family’s questions.  That is one of the beauties of being a family!

One mom asked me some questions about how we decide what to do with homeschooling our children, and a long book of an conversation followed.  I share it here so I don’t have to rewrite this.  If you are not interested in homeschooling. . .skip it, it is TOO LONG for those not interested!!

Wish I had all the answers!! I don’t, but I do have some ideas. First of all, Jeremy and I have talked extensively about what we want out of homeschooling. In a sense we have set priorities and goals.  Perhaps this will encourage you to nail some things down specifically with your husband even though you all know each other really well!   Doing this has helped us to rule out a lot of options and opinions. For example, when people say things like, “I want them to get into a good college. . .” we know that perhaps this isn’t the homeschool opinion we will take too seriously. We can get good ideas and always learn SOMETHING, but we keep their goals in mind in considering how much weight we will give to their opinions or ideas.

Here are a few of our goals:

1. We want them to love to read
2. We want them to know how to read phonetically (by sounding out)
3. We want them to have a balanced education covering all the basic subjects they would be getting in school
4. We want them to learn discipline (how to sit and work, how to follow directions and work in a group)
5. We want them to learn the Word of God
6. We want them to eventually know HOW to learn on their own (and work independently)
7. We want them to be on track with “regular” school children in all subjects
8. We want them to learn history along with church history and in chronological order
9. We want them to be exposed to good art and music

There are others, but these are the basics, from what I can remember. You and your husband would obviously have different goals and priorities. . .you are a different family and have different variables going on than we do.

Out of this flows some priorities:

1. Read aloud A LOT – always more than we are doing!! (we can always improve!!)
2. We focus on reading, writing and arithmetic at this young age, and maintain a strong emphasis on that throughout. This means that I will not buy a curriculum that someone says has weak math, but has an amazing science curriculum. This also rules out unit studies for me because they tend to mash everything together. When I look at a curriculum I look for strong reading, writing and arithmetic. History is a bonus as well as other subjects.
3. We try to have school 180 days out of the year at least, just like regular school,
4. I use grade standards to measure if my children are on track and to plan my year goals
5. We mix history and Bible together, and though Daddy does most of our Bible teaching, I add to it during school.
6. I try to challenge Elijah to do some work on his own if he can. As he gets older he will do much more on his own. This frees me up to school the other ones and teaches him to work on his own if he ever goes into school, This also frees me up to spend the time I need to giving him one-on-one instruction in history, Bible, math, etc.

The options available out there are overwhelming to the young (and old!) teacher and mom.  By setting goals and priorities, I can make the smaller decisions without hassling Jeremy with all the details, and if I work out a plan, when I get to the end of it and share it with Jeremy, it is more likely to be what we both want for our family if we have laid out what our goals and priorities will be.

REMEMBER, this is ONE way, not THE way – so smile, do lots of window-shopping, ask God to give you wisdom, and enjoy the journey, our children are growing up fast!!