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I received a few sweet emails from mamas asking about our homeschool, so I thought I’d write a bit more on it for all who are interested.

Ahhh, Homeschool.  As with anything worthwhile, it is a lot of work.  It requires a lot of sacrifice.  It causes a lot of second-guessing.  It can be incredibly tough, but also incredibly rewarding.  I have a love/hate relationship with Homeschooling.

I’ll write later on about our path to Homeschooling, but for now I’ll just answer a few specific questions:

What curriculum do you follow?

I believe that curriculum should be chosen only after you come up with the goals you have for your homeschool.  Begin with the end in mind.  What do you hope to accomplish? WHY are you homeschooling?  Because of my specific goals for my children, I have chosen to take a Classical/Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling.  You can read more about the Charlotte Mason approach here.  There are free curriculum guides at Ambleside Online and Tanglewood.  We use a combination of these two curricula as well as some other things on the side.  “A Well-Trained Mind”  is an excellent must-read book on Classical Education that can be found here.

Will you ever put your kids in school?

I think it is incredibly important to parent on a case-by-case basis, looking at what is best for the child in question and the family as a whole.   I’ll never say “never” to school.  Circumstances change and every child is different.

What about High School?

I’m not interested in my kids having the “High School Experience.”  Missing out on all of that doesn’t bother me in the least.  That being said, we have a few excellent programs near by at the local colleges/universities where students can complete a few years of College while in high school on the government’s dime.  I’ll obviously take into account the personality of each of my children before deciding on this in the future, but I’m interested in those programs.  My younger sister will have her undergrad completely paid for under one of these programs while she lives at home with my parents as a high school student.

What is the Hardest part of being a homeschool Mom?

This is going to be different for every one.  For me, it is never getting a break.  My friends with children in school get these lovely stretches of time in the mornings where they can decide what to do with their time…work out, clean house, sit and read  a book, etc.  This never happens for me.  I love spending time with my kids, but parenting and homeschooling and housekeeping and everything run together in this giant circle of daily-ness.  That is part of the appeal, but it is also part of the sacrifice.  I also never have a clean house ;-).

What is the best part of being a homeschool Mom?

Being there for those moments when your kids “get it.”  I always say, “I didn’t want to miss out on their first steps.  Why would I want to miss out on anything else?”  I also love how learning never stops in our house.  The things we cover in our lessons are often discussed for the rest of the day as we work and play together.  I love how, if something is not working, I can come at it from another direction.  I can tailor the mode of teaching for each individual to the way they learn the best.

Do you ever worry…?

Of course.  I’m a mom.  Mom’s worry!  When I have those down moments, I often look up “what your child should know” at certain ages.  I am usually comforted in that either my kids are right on where they should be, or ahead in some areas.  I also know that I can’t screw this up: If my kid is meant to be an engineer or a mechanic, or an artist – he will be.

I’ll write more on this later on.  If you have any additional questions, please ask!

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On this, the first day of the worst month of the year, when the chaos and cabin fever reached a new level while I was (un)successfully attempting to prepare for tomorrow’s co-op (which I did not procrastinate on, oh no, not me…), we stumbled upon buried treasure.  You see, someone was neglecting their children (wouldn’t know anything about that…) with the electronic babysitter all.day. and it was no longer working.  Worse, said person was feeling just a tad bit guilty that “homeschool” today meant “leave mama alone, she’s working.”  Then I remembered something.  Something I forgot I had.  Something I had put away for a “rainy (do tears count?) day” when the kids were old enough not to mess with it.  Well, they may not be old enough yet, but I was desperate.  I rushed down to the basement, nearly capsized a colossal mountain of boxes and then finally found it, blew the dust off the box and carried it upstairs.  I turned off the TV, took both girls by the hand and sat them down on the carpet.  And then I set this up:

Complete with about 25-30 books and records.  Do you remember these?  I had the cassette tape version when I was growing up.  My Mother in law gifted this to us a few years ago and we had tried it once with our oldest…he had messed with the record player too much so I put it away.

Nostalgia hit me as soon as we opened the box.  I remembered rainy days, laying on my stomach and pouring over a book, dutifully turning the page “…when you hear the chimes ring, like this *chime*.”

I so enjoy reliving my childhood through them.

(ignore the blurry feet, they were furiously kicking)

Something tells me that this February might not be so bad.  If things do start to go south, I’ll just whip out our buried treasure.

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