More or Less Homeschooling & Home-making Adventure

I am a work in progress. I am striving to be an encouraging wife, a fun and loving homeschool mother, to learn to homestead, organize, and adapt. I desire to see life more like Jesus and less like the world's view of what's important. I praise God that I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone! Cuz' I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Changes

So, it's been a long time since I posted. Life took over in the spring and I felt like I was drowning in a lake of good intentions and overwhelming expectations of myself and my children. I never did finish my planning and organizing projects. They are piled up and waiting to be continued. School didn't go like I had hoped. I love AO, Simply Charlotte Mason, & HUFI and the Charlotte Mason education, but I was finding that I was becoming too task oriented and my children were hating school.

To bring myself back to reality, I reminded myself of why we homeschool.

1. I want my children to be grounded in the Word of God and to see Him in every aspect of their life and the world.

2. I want my children to have a love of learning that will continue into their adult life.

3. I want them to be kids and enjoy their childhood, having time to play outside, explore, and enjoy adventurous times.

4. I want them to learn the truth rather than the watered down versions of truth and history that I see all around me.

After getting myself realigned with my purpose for homeschooling, I went to the big homeschool bookfair/conference in our state. Did it help me? NO, I was now worried about how close my oldest is to high school and how I did NOT feel he would be ready. Then college is around the corner. How can I get it all in and not ruin him and his future with my decisions for him. Oh, what a sad experience that was!! I kept coming back to the booth of My Father's World. I spoke to three different Mom's/reps for MFW. The last one I spoke with explained that she start MFW with her 7th grader and starting at Creation to the Greeks was not a problem at all, even with starting the history timeline over again in 9th grade. That was a huge concern of mine. I was already planning on starting our history rotation over again at Creation this year but I didn't have it in me to prepare the curriculum myself this year.

I had purchased Simply Charlotte Mason's guide but I was tired of trying to prepare for the year for 3 different children. It had just gotten to me this year. The guide looked good, but I needed more. So, after much stressful contemplation, I purchased MFW Creation to the Greek. While carrying that box to the car, I felt a relief come over me. I wouldn't have to hunt for each book this year. Everything was in my hands. I wouldn't have to spend hours typing out our schedules. I had a book in my hand that is already listing what needs to be done each week.

Now, just to be fair, that was a little scary for me. I don't like someone telling me what I have to do each day because if life sneaks in and we get off schedule, I freak out about not finishing a subject for Monday on Monday. I know. I'm ridiculous. Welcome to the world of a Type A personality.

As I began to read through the curriculum, I saw how easy it would be to implement my love for Charlotte Mason's ideas into this already prepared program. I did add a few items from my SCM guide. I don't feel like MFW has enough reading for the students, so I used the SCM guide and the AO booklist to add to our reading. I added the individualized items for each child and I was ready in a third of the time as years past. Wow! What a burden lifted. Don't get me wrong. I have had guilt of abandoning my love for AO but this is what I needed this year! I am determined to give it a try.

So, how did we get involved in Classical Conversations? This is not CM at all!! Well, a CC campus came to my church. They are starting their history rotation over again at Creation, just like our homeschool. I was tired of fighting my children to get school completed and to do a respectable job (not just scribble down something and say, "I am good with this work.") The idea of positive peer pressure was very enticing to me. And this is how we could find fun in school again. At CC, they do art projects and science experiments every week. I always cut these out first in our school if time is pressing. That is some of the fun aspects of school.

I was once an outdoor education, hands-on science teacher. I used to be a fun teacher. Over the years, I had become boring, cranky, and too task oriented. My children didn't have the joy of a fun teacher who loved to teach. CC has brought that back for me. I am a tutor for the 10 year olds and I HAVE to play games with them. It's part of the curriculum. This is what I loved about outdoor education.

So, after much debating, praying, and stressing, I finally signed up as a tutor. Wow! Relief again! The decision was made and now it was simply time to start. CC and MFW is going well together. We are now leaving MFW in the CC timeline, but everything else goes perfect with what I am doing at home. I do not have to beg, plead, or threaten my children to get their school started or completed. They come to me and make sure we get it all in. They don't want to arrive at the writing portion of CC and not have it finished. That positive peer pressure has been wonderful addition! They love having lunch with their friends and having an hour of free time to play with friends in the middle of the day. The funniest part, is how excited they have been to take their lunch with them. Maybe it's the snack items we don't usually get. I don't know. But they love it! They have learned so much in just a few short weeks.

This may not be for everyone and I do apologize to all my fellow AO'ers. But I didn't completely abandon AO. I still love the idea. I just found that I am terrible at implementing it all on my own. I wish there were more AO families near me. I think that would have helped so much.

I wish we could put together a program like CC has created for a Charlotte Mason education homeschool co-op that would be as well organized and prepared as CC. I believe more families would find the help they need in the gentle art of education with more guidance and local support. I know the yahoo groups are good and helpful but there is something special about having the curriculum laid out for you with other families and then diving in depth on your own. At least, this is how I feel.

I don't know what is in store for us in the future, but I am very pleased with our homeschool this year. That is exactly what we needed.

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