First Day of School!

So, I’m a little late in getting this posted but we had our first day of school a few weeks ago!  Below is our first day of school pictures and a summary of what each is working on.

We start each day with bible and character time where we are all curled up on the couch or chairs and read the bible and discuss various Godly characteristics.  We usually sing a song or two as well and finish up with each of us praying.

Natasha started 6th grade and is growing into a quite a young lady.  She is studying swimming creatures with Apologia Science, The Mystery of History – Creation to the Resurrection, math with RightStart Math, Geography with Expedition Earth, typing (when I was in school it was called typing; I guess now a days it’s called keyboarding!) Spelling with Spell to Write and Read and reading lots of other great books.  She takes weekly piano lessons with the wonderful Miss Rebecca and weekly Spanish class with a group of close friends.

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Mikayla started 4th grade and continues to amaze us with her incredible imagination.  She is also studying swimming creatures with Apologia Science, The Mystery of History – Creation to the Resurrection, math with RightStart Math, Geography with Expedition Earth, typing and lots of reading.  Mikayla also takes weekly piano lessons with Miss Rebecca and the same Spanish class with Natasha.

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Alex is starting 1st grade but is still finishing up some Kindergarten studies.  I’m not big at pushing academics to 4 and 5 year olds so I’m ok with where she is at.  She will be studying the same science and history as her older sisters as well as her own level of RightStart Math.  She still likes to do the letter of the week activities that Jonathan works on although she doesn’t need them as she knows her letters and all the sounds they make.  She continues her weekly speech therapy sessions and has shown incredible progress over the last 2 years.  She and I spend lots of time cuddled up on the couch reading together.  She takes weekly piano lessons with Miss Tori.

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Jonathan is in Prek and absolutely LOVES doing school with his older sisters.  He has lots of fun games, puzzles, crafts and activities to do as he learns letter names and sounds.  He also has fun math activities along with shapes and patterning.

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Katherine isn’t in school yet but isn’t she cute???  And can you believe she is already 6 months old?  We just started giving her mashed up avocados mixed with a little of her milk once a day and she loves it.

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I absolutely love homeschooling.  I can’t even imagine dropping my kids off at a building each day and let others get the experience of watching their eyes light up when they learn something new.

Gaylene

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Mom, I like testing!

Today was our last day of school for the 2013 – 2014 school year.  This is actually the first year we have taken an official summer break.  Don’t get me wrong; our kids get a ton of breaks throughout the year.  However, in years past we just kept on going through summer.

We are taking 3 weeks off (I know… hardly a break!)  I think if we take more then 3 weeks I will start to hear the “I’m bored” complaint and that makes for a grumpy mama!  We won’t start back in full force until mid August but we will pick back up with reading, math and science in mid July.

This week I administered the annual CAT to Pooh and Belle.  This was Pooh’s 3rd year testing but Belle’s first.  To my surprise Belle really liked taking the test and they both wanted to make sure they could do the text again next year.  Wow!  I hated those tests every year!  The great thing about homeschooling is we can take the tests in our pj’s, or go outside, or change the order to fit our fancy.

So, now we officially have a 6th grader, a 4th grader and a 1st grader.  I am so blessed to have my kids at home with me where they are building strong relationships with each other instead of sending them off to be with who knows who for 6+ hours every day.  I thank God for putting homeschooling on my heart the fall of 2008 and not letting me ignore Him!

Pooh our 6th grader!

Pooh our 6th grader!

Belle our 4th grader.  The two of us rode our bikes to Good Times for some mommy/daughter time.

Belle our 4th grader. The two of us rode our bikes to Good Times for some mommy/daughter time.

Alex our 1st grader.

Alex our 1st grader.

Jonathan is 3.5 and is working on letters and numbers.  He loves doing school with sisters.

JT is 3.5 and is working on letters and numbers. He loves doing school with sisters.

Katherine being loved up on my her big sister.

Katherine being loved up on by her big sister.

The Girls!

The Girls!

The Wilson Kids

The Wilson Kids

 

Why We Homeschool

I’m often asked why we homeschool and there are so many reasons I thought it would be helpful to get our thoughts on paper… so to speak.   (Disclaimer: Everyone has their own reasons for deciding how their children are taught.  These are OUR reasons for homeschooling.)

1.  God.  This is the number one reason: I am called.  Our oldest went to public school kindergarten and every single day I dropped her off at 7:30 and picked her up at 3:25.  They kept her ‘busy’ the entire day.  Although she had a good experience and had a wonderful teacher I just felt God telling me “I didn’t bless you with these children for them to spend their entire day with someone else.”  t tried to deny it at first, but I believe the bible lays it out plainly for me.

Ephesians 6:4 states: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Deut. 4:9 says “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

But the verse that the Lord used to convict us the most is Deut. 6:5-7.  It say “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

I wondered how am I to teach my children when we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up if they are gone all day long? How can I hide God’s word in their heart if they are away from me for more hours then they are with me? How can I truly impress upon their hearts if I only see them in the evening for a few hours?

2 Cor 10:5 says “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” How can I make sure they learn to bring every thought captive to Christ if they are spending 80% of their day with someone else?  Someone who, most likely, does not hold the same beliefs or even if they did would not be allowed to discuss it in the public school setting.

Isaiah 38:19 “The living, the living–they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness.”

Luke 6:40 states “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Which teacher do I want them to be like?

And finally, Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” I really had no idea what homeschooling looked like but I realized that I do not answer to this world, but to Christ.

Again… how can have this kind of impact on my children if they are away from me all day.

2. Opportunity: The opportunities for spiritual, character, academic, social, and family time when homeschooling are a gift from the Lord! I truly believe the traditional American family is disintegrating. It’s too easy to get caught up in the business of this world, running from one activity to the next, playing with the latest technology or whatever takes up our time. Homeschooling affords our family the precious commodity of time. Time spent together, and frankly that’s really what our kids want from us, our time.  I sometimes feel that if my kids were in school I could get so much done!. Then I am reminded how quickly time passes, and how few years we have our children with us before they move on to their own lives. If the average person lives say 85 years, then the 18 years our kids spend with us is less than 1/4 of their lives. I don’t want to look back and think I didn’t spend enough time with them, and 3 hours a day just isn’t enough time.

3. Academically speaking homeschoolers typically rate 37 percentage points higher than public school students. The average homeschool 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average (Rudner study). At home, I can teach each child according to their personal learning style.  I can switch curriculums if a particular one is not working. I can go at the right pace for each child, have one-on-one (not one-on-twenty) teaching.

4.  Our Goals: We asked ourselves what kind of adults we wanted our children to become.   In Luke 2:52 it says “And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and men.”

  • We want them to learn to trust in the Word of God, to have it hidden in their heart.
  • We want them to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope they have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Pet 3:15)
  • We want to train them in the way they should go, so it may go well with them.
  • We want them to be healthy, confident, and to know they are beautifully and wonderfully made.
  • We want them to keep their childlike faith, and we want them to be a light in this world.
  • We want them to have good manners, to be compassionate, to be respectful, and to be humble in spirit.

Those are some big expectations for any teacher, and, honestly, I don’t think our public school system is capable of meeting those expectations.  In all honesty, I’m not sure I can do it either, but I’d rather trust God to work through us than leave it up to a stranger.

 5.  Innocence.  We can protect their innocence a tad longer. We don’t have to deal with peer pressure, my kids haven’t watched Harry Potter (no, I don’t think Harry Potter is evil but some images and themes would frighten my 10 year old so why go down that path yet?  There is plenty of time for them to see this kind of stuff) and they still love watching Veggie Tales. They don’t wear suggestive clothing or makeup just because that’s what they do in public school.  They don’t look down on their younger siblings because they aren’t cool anymore.

But more than this, we can protect their sexual innocence longer.  I came across a news story recently that just shocked me.  The link to the article is here but basically a very explicit poster was hung up in an 8th grade sex education classroom titled How Do People Express Their Sexual Feelings and I couldn’t believe what I read.  Some of the things listed were innocent enough although I don’t think telling someone ‘I like you’ has to necessarily be related to sex.  However, many of the acts listed were shocking.

I realize that it’s been almost 30 years since I was in 8th grade and society has changed but I had never even heard of a few of these in 8th grade and I was not raised in a Christian home.  And yes, I do understand that many 13 year olds these days are sexually active but does that make it right?  What happened to parents raising their children to honor God’s plan for sex in marriage and not leaving it up to the public school system and peers of their children to teach them a secular worldview of sex.

In our circle of friends and support system we see parents protecting the innocence of their children, not just throwing up their hands saying ‘well I guess it’s just the way it is.’  They aren’t making sex taboo or anything to be ashamed of.  Rather it’s a gift from God given to those in marriage.  Our society has turned it into nothing more then an act that can occur without any emotion or commitment whatsoever.

We are teaching our children that FAMILY is the foundation, if you will, of society and that family starts with a husband and wife and them sharing in the joy of intimacy.

6.  Socialization.  Well… I think I covered this in my last post!  The LAST place I want my children to be socialized is in the public school system.

Well thanks for sticking with me through this long post.  I’m sure there are other reasons but these encompass the reasons that are most apparent to us.

Gaylene