Spring has sprung! Wafts of pollen on the breeze that make me sneeze and dream of…curriculum? Yep. Curriculum. Lovely books and fun smelling pencils and manipulatives and science kits and crafts and cookbooks… Huh? Wha? Oh, sorry, forgot where I was for a moment as I dreamed about the crackling sound that the binding of a new book has or the smell of a freshly inked teacher’s manual or rows of office supplies lined up like little toy soldiers or the thrill of a perfectly created spreadsheet with infinite little checkboxes…Huh? Oh yeah, sorry, again.
I am entering my seventh, yes seventh, year of homeschooling. Never would I have imagined that I would eschew (love that word! so fun to say! so fun to type! so fun to chase the children around the house during chore time, yelling, “Eschew Febreeze! Make it truly clean and sweet-smelling!) more traditional modes of education for my children. I am so thankful this opportunity fell from heaven for us. As long as the Lord’s hand is still in it, each year you will find us more than likely cuddled up somewhere with a great book on anything and everything.
I asked the Hubs for his opinion on switching back to Sonlight. I’ve enjoyed our year with Learning Adventures: A World of Adventure, but I miss all the great books from Sonlight. Sure, we’ve supplemented a bunch this year, but it just wasn’t quite the same. Like the Sonlight peeps say in their ads, I could spend a bunch of time pulling all this stuff together myself, but…why? Why would I do that when someone has already done it for me? Work smarter, not harder, right? 😉 Anyway, back to the Hubs–he was impressed with the books that the kids will read. A bit envious in fact. I love that I get to read all these great books right along with the kids.
My years in homeschoolingland have shown me where I can veer off the Sonlit path a bit too, so I am not buying the entire kit and caboodle. Not only that, but I’m seriously toying with the idea of year-round school. I think I am nuts (feel free to think so as well), especially given the fact that we will be moving this summer–probably a significant move–but I’ve never been one to do anything in a small way, so I’m fairly undaunted by that fact. (And, of course, this is still in the planning, aka dreaming phase. Reality check on aisle 5 will be posted probably sometime in late August. Stay tuned.)
This week is achievement testing week. I’m keeping my sanity, mostly, and the kids haven’t cried, yet. I’m calling it a success–no matter what the scores are. If they get finished testing early, I’m declaring a Reading Week Student Choice. Yes, of course, I have an ulterior motive–I get to work on my schedule for the next school year and create spreadsheets with cute little color coded check boxes that coordinate with sweet-smelling Smencil colored pencils that can be used with new art books and craft projects, history reports, and scientific research on the effects of colored coded spreadsheets and the happiness they bring to office-supply loving homeschooling mamas……..Oops, I’m doing it again.
I hope to post not only our schedule this week, but also our rationale for using each particular curriculum. I just completed one of the most eye-opening courses in all of my time as a graduate/post-graduate student on Curriculum Theory. I highly recommend reading Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective by George R. Knight. It was one of our assigned texts for this course, and it is a book that I know I will reference again and again. As a Christian educators, it is crucial that we understand the motives behind many of the modern educational practices out there. ls that math curriculum based on a philosophy that believes that people should be trained/conditioned like animals? Is that the best method for a child of God? It is surprising how many anti-Christian philosophies lurk in our “Christian” curriculum. Of course, many of these philosophies merge and transform within the body of the curriculum, making extremely difficult to spot. Once you know what to look for, the heart of each will be revealed. You can and should always ask God for wisdom who will give it freely as you pray over what to teach your children (James 1:5). I, for one, don’t believe we should throw the ole baby out with the bath water–we can use many forms of curriculum, but again, we must understand where it came from and where it is going. (This another plug for Sonlight–I like the way they use curriculum from many sources, but they ask and answer these very questions, helping parents to keep a Christian perspective.)
We homeschool in such wonderful times! There are so many wonderful, solid choices as far as curriculum goes. Where homeschoolers of a generation ago had difficulty finding curriculum, we will have difficulty discerning which curriculum to use that allows us to move our families along a Godly path.
Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore, get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7