Motherhood is a front row seat to watching our precious children grow, learn, and change. I am completely and utterly privileged to have this line of sight to watching everything my child does. I know their facial expressions, and their mannerisms, I can comfort them like no one else, and I have the first hand perspective of seeing their precious personalities develop.
I am beyond thankful that this front row seat I have in my children’s lives won’t change as they approach school age. (or pre-school age.)
We have a three year old boy and a one year old boy at home. Being so young, I have chosen not to begin any formal schooling right now. (I’ve been told by a few people I need to read ‘Better Late Than Early…’) But, we have already made the decision to pursue homeschooling our children.
So what does our pursuit of homeschooling look like right now you may ask?
For the Kids:
1. Reading. We read. We read and read and read. I’m learning lots about rich literature for children and the value it can bring to them. It stimulates them to think. They learn vocabulary I’d never think to teach them. It gives them an imagination and creativity. They are able to put themselves in someones else’s shoes and learn from them.
Some of our favorites right now are: The Complete Anthology of Curious George, The World of Winnie the Pooh, the Beatrix Potter Series, any stories by Virginia Lee Burton, and stories from the Childcraft Library. (We just purchased the entire set.)
2. Hiking and Trail Walking. ‘An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing.’ -Charlotte Mason. Being outside is one of the best ways for us to observe the detail in God’s creation, observe the change of seasons, and allow the boys to take an interest of their own in birds, trees, grasses, and flowers.
3. Habit & Character Training. This is as simple as using repetition in the daily tasks of life. We gently add structure to our days to give Case the opportunity to always put his shoes away and hang up his coat. We use these little years to teach him to be alert and observant of those around him. Whoever cooked dinner for the evening went through a good deal of time and work. Teaching him to say thank you to whoever that person happens to be that night is an easy way to build character.
4. Handicraft & Hobbies. My three year old never seems to have trouble filling his time during the days, but I have seen this change as kids grow older. We do our best to encourage him to have interests. These will keep his hands busy. Drawing, painting, wood working, leather craft, music. Especially as we raise boys, we will do our best to steer them toward hobbies and handicrafts that take them away from screens.
5. Music. Since Peter and I share a love for music and the study of it, it is fairly natural in our family to have music playing. Many nights we sing hymns together as a family around the piano. Case has watched me teach many piano lessons, and as a result, he has started to ask if he can have one too. We do our best to expose him to music with texture, depth, and excellence.
1. Reading. Since we are currently pursuing Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education, we have decided we should begin reading through her six volumes of work. I am also currently reading ‘For the Children’s Sake.’ And, I have been encouraged to read ‘For the Family’s Sake‘ and ‘When Children Love to Learn.’
2. Attending Meetings. I knew nothing about homeschooling two years ago, and I was intimidated to try stepping into a group of experienced moms. Despite some awkwardness for me at the start, I have continued attending a monthly meeting and book club of sorts to expose me to others’ perspectives on learning and homeschooling.
3. Asking Intentional Questions. Even though Peter and I have narrowed down the path we want to take right now, we continue to ask other admirable families how and why they decided to take the educational path they did for their children- whether homeschooling, public, or private schools. Asking questions and learning has been really good for us.
4. One Liners. I have learned the best and most gracious way for me to handle homeschooling conversations is to be as short and concise as possible when I describe the philosophy we are pursuing (or why we are pursuing homeschooling in general). If a friend wants to understand more, they can ask, and I am more than happy to talk about something I am growing more and more passionate about. I have learned, though, that not everyone is interested in learning about homeschooling (no matter how excited I am) or the vast array of philosophies and methods used, and it’s best to remain somewhat quiet unless asked for our homeschooling story.
5. Community. Finding a community of moms who are pursuing the same philosophy of education for their children has been an indescribable blessing. Since Charlotte Mason’s philosophies encompass more than just education but all of life, I have found so much commonality with these few other families. Meeting with other moms and kids is, of course, an enjoyable time, but it’s becoming more than that. It’s a time for us to talk about what we are learning, we can take a genuine interest in each others’ children, and we can offer insight and concern for the hard times that come with homeschooling.
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