Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Homeschooling with Proverbs 2:6-10 in mind

'Tis the season to start planning for next year. Right about now Homeschool Mamas across the nation are thinking about what worked last year and what is going to get kicked to the curb. We are considering a couple of changes but after being washed around by the waves of curriculum for years we are not making many changes. As I read Teri Maxwell's managers of their schools I realized I did not have to be on a curriculum roller coaster.

" For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,  for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. "  Proverbs 2:6-10

As I read through the Maxwell book I began to realize that by constantly switching curriculum I was not demonstrating a heart sold out to God. I was acting as if I was going to find a perfect curriculum that would impart wisdom and knowledge on my children. I was fighting God for control instead of humbly recognizing that the Lord gives wisdom. My responsibility is train them up in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.  Thus, I stepped off the roller coaster of revolving curriculum and recognizing that contentment was at the heart of my struggle. That the devil had found a place to breed discontentment into our lives and school!

Although, we used very different curriculum then we have used in the past this year has been truly a blessing. The children have completed more work and I feel they have really enjoyed their homeschool experience this year more then any other year. The Lord has been generous scooping out an abundance of knowledge into their little minds. He's been gracious bring to my attention things that didn't work and why. I hope to other Mama's out there to step off of the roller coaster back onto the straight path because as the believe the Bible and joyfully accept that God grants wisdom and understanding not us, not Mama. We are simply training our arrows to have an impact on the society around them, to be lights in the darkness. Much of their 'book learning' will be forgotten but they will remember  how we taught them, loved them and how we guided them through their homeschool. Was their homeschool  a joyful  journey on their way to Christian adulthood or was it a time they are happy is done because Mama was much less then joyful. because she was so stressed  out? I would encourage you to walk in the path of our Lord Jesus as he exhorts us to:
"Rejoice always,  pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

So as we consider our homeschool for next year I will keep in mind that "If Mama ain't happy ain't no one happy!" and our curriculum will reflect my desire to be a Mama who glorifies the Lord in word and truth.

So one to the change for us on the horizon is our Spelling program.We have an autistic child that has been struggling with Building Spelling Skills. Now let me be clear I think BSS is a great spelling program and my other child did very well with it. The problem for the older child is that autistic children do not learn language through usage. She doesn't know what most of the words mean so she is just learning to spell gibberish as far as she is concerned. Having her look up every word was too time consuming and she was only completing a Unit every 2 weeks. Right now it looks like we are switching her to Accelerated Christian Education's Word Building which will teach her the words meaning as well as how to spell the words. As we are considering adding a couple other ACE Curriculum to our homeschool next year so (hopefully) Wayne and I will attend a hotel meeting so we can preview the curriculum and discuss it.
We are going to be using a lot of Christian Light again this year because this is wonderful Christian program that is easily administered by Mama.  

So if you find yourself in our position to here are some things I've found to be important:

Know your curriculum requirements (here are our guidelines, your guidelines will probably vary :) ) and I would suggest you write them down and perhaps keep them in your planner:
  1. Christian World View
  2. No Humanism. Humanism is a world view which excludes our Lord Jesus Christ. There are many very well written humanistic homeschool texts that fail to acknowledge God as the creator.
  3. Easily Administered (graded & planned) by Mama.
  4. Children are able to complete all or most of it independently with periodic assistance from Mama (such as projects & science experiments) This does not hold true for kindergarten curriculum which is done entirely with Mama. First graders till need a good bit of attention too!
Reasons not to switch curriculum:
  1. Friends. I have found many folks switch from one curriculum to another because their friends are in love with it. Just because your friends are doing something doesn't mean it will work well for your family. If the curriculum you are using is working well I would strongly urge you to consider why you want to switch? Because it could be a matter of contentment.
  2. Unpopular: You've picked a curriculum that is unpopular and very few people us it and when you mention it to your friends they have a negative reaction. But it works really well for your family and you have been happy with it.  ACE is an unpopular curriculum in many homeschool circles but it is a solid Christian program that uses the Mastery approach and teaches incrementally. This is a good match for our Classical Eclectic Homeschool. Textbooks are also unpopular but if they work in your household keep going!
Lord willing we will be able to show you a little more of how we plan for our homeschool . 

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