Tuesday, February 2, 2010
A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO HOME EDUCATION ... PART TWO
Part two ...
It should not be the child's decision where they go and what they do – parents are responsible for their children and should prayerfully and lovingly make the decisions. This is not what the world teaches, and it took me some time to become comfortable with that truth. I hear many mothers who would like to try home eduation for various reasons (some of them to do with negative social issues their child is facing day after day when out of the home) say “But he/she really loves going to kindy and playing with all her friends.” (or preschool or school). Teaching our children to make decisions is a vital part of learning, but they should not be making major decisions about where they spend their days, and who will be influencing their thoughts and attitudes.
Another lie I believed was that our boys needed to learn to deal with other children by themselves. I realise now that is definitely not the case.
So from the start I knew that we would homeschool, somehow. My husband had a few reservations as he knew nothing about home education, but he knew me well enough, and was confident of the relationship we both had with our boys to know that we could continue with what we had been doing. I had to ensure that I informed my husband of things I learned, and how the boys were doing, as we believe the husband is responsible to God for the whole family.
So what DID we do during the early years? We read a lot, took walks together, went to the library, the park, the playground, lots of puzzles, games, making huts, collecting boxes and cans and making things, moving furniture to make cozy reading areas, memorizing scripture and poetry, simple maths games, learning letters and a tiny bit of handwriting practice from time to time, collecting things – acorns, feathers, shells, stones, gardening ... spending lots and lots of time together.
We have five children now (2 years up to 16 years old) and a baby due in a few months.
As each child has approached their sixth birthday (the legal age in New Zealand for enrolment in a registered school) we have applied for, and been granted an exemption from schooling by the Ministry of Education. This gives us official permission to educate our own children.
At this stage of the journey we still play a lot, read a whole lot, learn household and life skills together, do art, talk about a lot of issues. Over the years we have added a few text books that the older boys work through, foreign languages, more handwriting, notetaking, dictation, writing letters to people, Greek and Latin, oral spelling and a few other bits. These studies have come quite naturally, and from resources that the Lord has lead us to.
We work a lot on attitudes, character qualities, relationships, the pursuit of wisdom vs knowledge, household and life skills. We believe that when these children grow up they will have the ability to add to and learn new skills - but their own character qualities, attitudes, relationship/life skills are the ones that will make their lives healthier and better for those around them.
Over time I've had my doubts about whether we were doing “enough”, but with prayer, discussions with my husband and advice from more experienced home educating mothers I have been reassured that we are doing fine. Yes, there will be gaps in their learning – but the important thing is that these children love to learn, they know HOW to learn. We are not filling their minds with facts and figures so they can pass a test.
. . .
watch out for part 3 coming soon!