Thursday, May 1, 2008

Are You Free?

We started homeschooling over 15 years ago. We had taken our oldest (my step-daughter), out of the government school system half way through her 4th grade year. That first semester was a miserable time, not because of her, but because of ME! I remember making her sit at a desk and drilling her on EVERYTHING, EVERY question had to be answered on EVERY page. It was awful! We both cried so much. That summer I was a nervous wreck because I was going to have to teach our next child how to read, I was so overwhelmed and scared. Jeff’s confidence in me and constant encouragement got me trough many nights of worrying. God, by His mercy, slowly led me to the right materials to teach Joshua how to read. I was so blown away that *I* could actually teach him something so important.

Over those first years we struggled with curriculum choices and schedules. Because we had four children I needed to make the best of my time and we fell in love with unit studies. We have relaxed so much that now ‘doing school’ is enjoyable and so much more relevant. We only have one child left at home that is ‘doing school’. She has a certain amount of book work that has to be done each week, but the majority of her lessons are learned in real life. We have a couple of home industries, she goes to help her dad with his work a lot and we are very involved in our community. I have no doubt that she learns more as we go about our day and ask questions, than she would if we just did book work. When I see that she has an interest in something I make sure we pursue that topic in other forms.

Our third child, Olivia, is graduating this month, although she really does not like to call it a graduation, because as she sees it, her life will not be changing any, she will continue to do the things she is doing. She is a serious reader and loves to learn. She will take classes that interest her, look for ways to minister to other people and pursue some home industries.

Olivia has stared a home business making bath products. She is learning so much, marketing, packaging, quality control, money management, costumer satisfaction, deadlines, web design, venues, and so on! There is a difference between learning ABOUT something in a book and then actually doing it!

This is the e-book she was inspired by:
Home educating our children has been one of the most important decisions we have made as parents and learning how to relax and embrace learning has been just as important. I wish I could get those first years back when I was so uptight and making all of us miserable, but I can’t. If I could give any advice to new home educators it would be to quit looking at the flawed government school system and start enjoying the learning process. There are countless opportunities every day right before us, we just need to be free enough to seize them.

Teaching our children to read, write and do math is very important, but so is equipping our children with the skills to be well rounded adults. They NEED more than book knowledge. They need to know how to do things with their hands and they need to know how to engage people of all ages. As parents let’s make sure that we are free enough to give our children life skills, along with the academics to make them useful for God’s kingdom!

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