homeschool from the heart

Homeschooling From the Heart Not Just a Curriculum

Blessed to Home-Educate

homeschool from the heart

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If you’re reading this, you likely are either considering homeschooling or are already deep in the trenches and looking for support or options.

Or, you just enjoy reading the ramblings of others who have a similar focus as you.

Whatever your reason, I pray this post brings something positive to your day.

There are others far more qualified to explain the deeper complexities of this lifestyle we’ve been called to, but I’m led to share what I have learned, so far, during my family’s homeschooling journey.

Not everyone chooses to walk this path, and that’s okay.

My family consider ourselves blessed to spend each day together learning, growing, and experiencing life (this includes the sibling bickering) the way generations of families did before the creation of government funded public school, and compulsory attendance.

In a world concerned with political correctness, progressive Christianity, and militant feminisim, I praise God every day that my children have the chance to avoid the indoctrination of modern ‘acceptance’.

From Public-schooling to Homeschooling

My family didn’t fall into this homeschool lifestyle by accident, but we also didn’t plan to keep our children home.

Seven years ago, my daughter was enrolled in first grade at the local public school.

For months I felt led to be more involved with children, and I admit, I assumed this meant I should be more active in the children’s ministry at church.

As with every decision in life, I turned to prayer.

The answer I received was not what I was expecting, or what I thought I wanted.

So, I argued with God.

After all, He must be mistaken.

I couldn’t imagine being home with my head-strong daughter all day, every day; and what did I know about teaching?

After several days of stubborn refusal on my part (my daughter obviously comes by her temperament naturally) I acquiesced to God.

I don’t regret that decision.

Homeschooling Philosophies or Boxed Curriculum Oh, My!

There are more curriculum choices and homeschooling philosophies than I personally know what to do with.

Homeschool from the heart

They’re great.

Or they’re not so great.

It really depends on each unique family and their learning styles, and I’m not going to recreate the wheel.

There are blogs upon blogs that discuss the differences–the pros and cons, of each philosophy or curriculum.

Jumping into the Deep End of the Pool

When we first removed our eldest from public school, I had no idea where to even begin.

The only things I knew were that God wanted us to follow this path, and the K-12 online program wasn’t for us.

That left a lot to wade through and consider.

In the last five years my daughter and I have used various methods for her education.

We’ve tried Charlotte Mason, Classical Conversations, My Father’s World, as well as a not so well-known curriculum (Accelerated Academics– also known as, A Squared).

Every year I’ve prayed about how best to educate my children; to raise them with a love of learning. Not to just teach them what a typical education would offer them, but expand their horizons.

I pray for the best ways to help teach my children how to learn.

God answers our prayers. He really, truly does.

So far, I’ve discovered that my children don’t learn the same way.

Some of this is age, but some of it is their own personal learning styles.

I also learned that I’m really not a fan of boxed curriculum. The anxiety they induce in me really isn’t helpful for anyone in my family.

Since neither of my children, currently of compulsory age (we live in Virginia, and sadly that age is far younger than I’m happy with–but that is a different post completely), care if they have a pre-designed curriculum or not, I have the freedom to kick that added stress to the curb.

Homeschool from the heart

My eldest son (6) loves worksheets and workbooks, but he also loves engaging stories about things he is interested in; he can build amazing creations with Legos, Lincoln Logs, or any of the several mechanically focused building materials he has. He practically taught himself to read, and though he isn’t a fast reader yet, he gets better every day.

Now, this is nothing like how my eldest daughter (11) learns.

She prefers reading great books and discussing them. She works well independently, and finishes the majority of her work without me. If I were to hand her a workbook, we would likely both end up on timeout.

Homeschooling From the Heart

What does it mean to homeschool from the heart?

Homeschool from the heart

For our family, that means there is a lot of prayerful thought and consideration for each child. It begins with deciding what we want (or need) to learn during the upcoming year.

This year I read through Plan Your Year, by fellow homeschooling Momma, Pam Barnhill, and that helped me to clarify my vision for our school. You can pick up your copy here.

Since we school year-round, we have quite a lot of freedom in our scheduling, and don’t worry about getting everything covered in 180-days.

We continually cover Bible (and as they get older a focus on Apologetics) Math, Latin, and Language Arts (literature and grammar–depending on the age). Based on the time of year, we also include Sciences, History (my eldest daughter’s favorite subject), Art, Geography, Writing, and Health.

Recently I’ve gone back to a lot of the principles Charlotte Mason taught, and have found a new love for the simple way of teaching and connecting with my children.

Homeschool from the heart

While I’m not truly what people would consider a Charlotte Mason educator, I love anything that tells me to share amazing books instead of boring textbooks. My inner bibliophile gets all giddy at the thought.

Another thing about homeschooling from the heart, is making sure you’re truly connecting with the heart of your children.

Each child is an individual, and even though they’re all part of the same family, they won’t always be like you.

My children are very active and social. They thrive being around people.

Since I’m quite introverted I make sure I pay attention to this aspect of their hearts too.

Church Activities and Co-Op

If left to my own devices I would likely never go further than the end of my drive-way. I have everything I need–or can have it delivered.

With four children–three of which love being around other people, I’m never left to my own devices.

I suppose this is for the best.

To insure my children get quality time with other kids of various ages, we participate in Awana every year. This one night a week is generally all I can handle outside Sunday mornings.

However, this is not enough for my brood.

Which leads us to this year, and Co-Op.

The last time I participated in anything Co-Op related, it was CC.

Turns out, that wasn’t really our thing.

My kiddos are definitely excited about joining Co-Op. They’ll be learning things I wouldn’t ordinarily teach them at home.

Like Debate.

Plus, there is that ‘socialization’ people outside of homeschool circles worry about.

How We Got Here

As you’ve already read, I spent five years trying to figure out which popular idea or curriculum was the right one. I read everything I could on the different styles and philosophies. I listened to people who swore this curriculum or that curriculum would be the answer for everything.

In short, I didn’t consider who my children are or who I am. I was looking for a one-size fits all way to educate young people who are not only separated by age and gender, but by interests and learning styles.

I didn’t consider how our lives really are.

That we don’t work well within the confines of grid schedules, and endless hours of busy work.

We have interests outside what are generally included in a boxed curriculum, and prefer more flexibility than is given in CC or even in Charlotte Mason.

Philosophies and curriculum are wonderful.

They really are, but they aren’t everything.

You can buy every new curriculum, or try every Co-Op. You can switch philosophies in mid year, or you can just wing it.

The most important thing to remember is that we’re teaching young people to learn.

To experience life.

We must teach the whole child.

Homeschool from the heart

Not just parts.

This means knowing their hearts, and knowing ours.

It means teaching manners and etiquette.

Teaching our children that hard work pays off, even if it isn’t in the way we expect. We won’t always get a trophy, and we don’t always need one.

To teach a child from the heart, we must do more than just parrot the newest craze.

We must learn to listen with a discerning heart.

To pray for wisdom so that we don’t fall into the trap of becoming like the world.

For more book recommendations check out this post.

Until next time,

wellofaith
Homeschooling From the Heart Not Just a Curriculum

Homeschool from the heart

Book Recommendations for July 2019: Sare’s Favorite Reads

Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry, and find meaning in life.”

Christopher Paolini, Eragon

Book Recommendations for Personal Development and Enrichment

This post contains affiliate links.

Who is ready for a few more book recommendations? If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out other book recommendations here.

The month of July found me diving deeper into personal development.

Recently my focus has been heavy into Apologetics and strengthening my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father, as well as how my family’s homeschooling journey fits into it.

The following four books helped me with difficult decisions, and answered questions that nagged at me.

I pray they will help you as well.

Book Recommendation Number 1

Mama Bear Apologetics Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies

It isn’t enough for our kids to hear us talk about the truth; they must understand how we are to live the truth.

Hillary Morgan Ferrer

I love the term “Mama Bear”.

It speaks to my heart as a Momma of four.

Since I’ve been looking for a better understanding of how to help my kids not only understand the cultural lies they’ll face in their lifetime, but how to help them embrace their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ–and I’m still so young in my own journey, I jumped at a chance to read a book aimed directly at this season of my life.

Sometimes social media really comes through– I first heard about this via IG, and pre-ordered it. Since that time I’ve also subscribed to their podcast and have learned so much.

Knowing I’m not alone in the struggles and worries has been a huge help for me too.

You’ll read about Linguistic Theft —“purposely hijacking words, changing their definitions, and then using those same words as tools of propaganda” as well as the various isms our society is obsessed with (Self-Helpism, Naturalism, Skepticism, Postmodernism, Moral Relativism, Emotionalism, Pluralism, Marxism, and Feminism)

Written by women passionate about Apologetics and raising children with strong relationships with Christ; I can’t recommend this book enough.

It’s definitely a book I’ll keep coming back to read time and again.

Book Recommendation Number 2

Jesus Unmasked: The Truth Will Shock You

Never forget, God is more interested in our holiness than He is in our happiness.

Todd Friel
July 2019 Book Recommendations

Don’t let Ken Ham’s endorsement of this book turn you off.

Todd Friel has a way with words, and a passion that jumps off the page.

Now, to be honest nothing in the book ‘shocked’ me, because I already know how awesome Jesus is.

However, as with Mama Bear, above, I acquired a deeper understanding of the truths written in the scriptures.

Reading Jesus Unmasked was similar to sitting down to a deep discussion with a good and knowledgeable friend.

One who knows exactly when to juxtapose humor with the seriousness of our salvation.

I found this book to be a super quick read, with chapters short enough to finish in between the needs of my kiddos.

Since I’m a tad weird about needing to finish a chapter before putting my book down, this is something I certainly appreciate in any book.

You can pick up your copy here.

Book Recommendation Number 3

Plan Your Year Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace

It didn’t take me long to realize I had missed a vital part of the planning process…My perfect plan ignored the most important factor of all: the people in front of me.

Pam Barnill
2019 July Book Recommendations

When it comes to homeschooling there are multiple ways to do it.

Two of my favorites are planning it, and winging it.

Now, if you’re interested in actually being a bit more prepared for the year ahead, I recommend NOT winging it.

However, I also get a twitch from too much planning.

Pam Barnhill has taken (most of) the anxiety out of preparing for the year(s) ahead with this book.

Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace has something for everyone in it.

The personal stories of what worked for other homeschool moms give wonderful insight; and though we’re all different, seeing what ideas worked and didn’t work for others, helps us focus on what is best for our own families.

Since reading this book, and following the steps that fit my personal teaching style, and how I envision my family’s homeschool experience, I’m more excited for this year than any other year in our homeschool journey so far.

You can purchase your copy here.

Book Recommendation Number 4

Mother Culture For a Happy Homeschool

We experience greater fulfillment as women and homemakers when we find and uncover the hidden artist within us.

Karen Andreola
Mother Culture July 2019 Book Recommendations

Anyone familiar with the Charlotte Mason philosophy has likely heard the term “Mother culture”.

In the first chapter of her book, Karen defines what she means by mother culture.

“Mother culture is the skillful art with which a mother looks after the ways of her household and herself. In her home she creates a culture all her own with a mingling of love and responsibility.”

Now, as a homeschooling, SAHM of four kiddos, I’m guilty of forgetting about myself in the hustle of every day life.

There have been times in the not so distant past when I discovered I hadn’t read a book for personal enjoyment in longer than I could remember.

It isn’t surprising to note during that same period of time I wasn’t doing anything else for my enjoyment either. Sure, I was working out each day, but that wasn’t as much for enjoyment as it was a necessity for me to move without pain.

My personal time with God wasn’t happening the way it should either.

Life was spiraling out of control.

This book, while not the definitive guide to refilling your personal cup, is an amazing resource when you start to forget you’re a person as well as a wife, mother, and teacher.

My own copy of this book is already filled with highlights of things I want to be able to flip back to quickly.

With beautiful illustrations and wonderful quotes, Mother Culture For a Happy Homeschool is a great way to begin refilling your cup so you can continue to pour into your family.

To purchase your own copy, click here.

I hope this has helped you add a few more books to your summer reading pile.

If you’re read any books you think I should read, I’m always interested in recommendations. After all, there are never too many books to be read.

Until next time,

wellofaith