Sunday, June 6, 2010

Getting Ready to Begin Our Homeschool Journey

Who knew when we made the decision to Homeschool, that so many other decisions lay ahead of us? Probably the most important one being which curriculum to use. After talking with other homeschool moms and friends & family of homeschool moms, the choices just keep getting more abundant. And after reading several books on the subject, my eyes are opened to all the various "styles" of homeschooling. Most of them, I can buy into...but the one that sends my teacher-radar into a tailspin is "Unschooling" - the idea that children will learn when they are ready to learn. I would say that this is more "Home From School" than Homeschooling...and not a style that you will not find in the Jansen Christian Academy! :)

I recently called one of my Avon downline members who has been homeschooling for several years and got her answering machine. I loved how she designated her school & work times by identifying herself as the Director of the Collinsworth Christian Academy and noting the school hours, as well as Avon hours. Collinsworth, as you may imagine, is their last name. And so, I borrowed her idea and made it my own...thus we'll be the Jansen Christian Academy!

Christopher seems as excited as I am about our homeschooling journey! Just days after graduating from Kindergarten, he requested to start 1st Grade! Needless to say, both the parent and the teacher in me were thrilled! I had already planned to work on Reading and Math with him through the that's what we did. One thing I've noticed already is Christopher's new-found love of reading. From the time he was old enough to hold a book, he has loved looking at books. Sometimes so much so, that someone who didn't know better would be sure he was reading! He would look at each page for an appropriate amount of time and then turn the page and repeat the process! But, as he began Kindergarten, that love quickly faded. Getting him to do his reading homework was like pulling teeth. It wasn't that he wasn't able to read the words on the page...he just had no desire to do so! When he did read something, his comprehension was amazing - so I knew there wasn't a problem there. However, with our new homeschool focus on books he's interested in reading, the reader in him has finally emerged! We went to the library a few days ago and he had more interest in reading books from the Easy Reader section than looking through the DVDs...a completely new experience!

I've been looking at several different curriculums, narrowing down my choices. As with all choices, I had to weigh the positive and the negative against what would be best for Christopher. Right now, though we haven't yet made a final decision, I'm leaning toward the Sunlight Curriculum. For one thing, everything is included that we'll need - manipulatives, science experiments, and all! Another thing I like is that the history (which is the core to the curriculum) is based on literature that I get to read aloud to Christopher. One of the things I enjoyed most about teaching was Read Aloud time. I loved reading chapter books to my students and getting into the story with them. Christopher has loved being read to since he was an infant, and requests that one of us read to him each night before he can go to sleep. We have now started reading chapter books at bedtime - a chapter a night. I have several Illustrated Classics that I had in my classroom library...right now, we're reading Oliver Twist at Christopher's request!

We are all very excited about our homeschool journey and look forward to all we will learn together in the process! :)


Gary and Christine said...

as far as homeschooling schools of thought: may i recommend "the well-trained mind" as a resource? i know people who've used it and have brilliant, well-balanced kids. i've tried the approach/philosophies, but in a school setting for 2 years now and have really seen progress (NOTHING like what i saw at bce)...just an idea. praying for you and really excited for you on this journey. how fun!?

Amanda said...

I have also looked at Sonlight AND Well Trained Mind and I think you could use a happy conglomeration of both. I see in WTM that you have to do a little more work and spend less money. With Sonlight, you do less work and spend more money. With you working from home like one of my homeschooling friends who uses Sonlight, it may be the easier of the choices! But WTM has some good ideas and lists of books to use that can always be used in conjuction with Sonlight! We are already collecting books on the Sonlight and the WTM lists, no matter what we decide to use. A kid just can't have too many books.