Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kids Growing Up, Big Decisions Being Made

Today felt BIG. 

I took Judah to a Homeschool Open House. What? When did he grow up? Somewhere in the midst of birthing 2 other babies, living in 3 different states, and readjusting life several times. Oh. Life happens so quickly sometimes.


Look at him...little charmer on our "Date Night" this past weekend.

We have been reading, discussing, and praying about our approach to schooling for awhile. And we've landed here: we strongly desire and feel we should homeschool our kids. Forever? I don't know. But we're here now, and I think unless something shifts down the road, it's where we'll stay. I've been through a gamete of feelings and thoughts about this idea: sheer fear, feelings of insufficiency, overwhelmed by all the options, and more recently (thankfully!) empowerment, conviction, and excitement. 

Any Classical Conversations (CC) families out there? This is the approach we're looking into the most seriously. It is a Classical Christian model with the mission to know God and to make Him known. Bottom line, this is what I want my children to excel in above all. So, naturally, I love the thread of a Biblical world-view being woven into their education and the heart of the approach. The model divides learning into 3 stages:

  • grammar stage (4-12): memorizing facts (knowledge)
  • dialectic stage (13-17): discovering how the facts relate (understanding)
  • rhetoric stage (16ish-beyond): applying the facts (wisdom)

This is based upon Proverbs 24:3-4: "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."

The approach meets children where they are developmentally and works with them. For example, and I know this and see this now, kids are sponges from birth to twelve (well, I know they are to 4.5). So for the grammar stage, this is used as a time to fill their heads with knowledge that they need for the future. I love the creative ways they use to get the information into their heads. Songs, motions, hands-on activities, repetition....Judah joined in eagerly and was begging for more. The little I've learned through working on Scripture memorization is that if I can put their verse of the week to a tune and/or create motions for it, they've got it. And I marvel at how I still to this day can sing the "Presidents Song", reciting the names of the Presidents in order, because my 5th grade teacher taught me. Today we learned songs GALORE on every subject covered. 

So today was big, and fun, and important for our family. We're making big decisions here. How will we approach education? I want to do well with my kids. I want them to know God and follow Him. I want them to see through His lens when they view the world around them. And I have much to say about all of this. For our family, I believe it means committing to Homeschooling. Though I realize this is not the "only way"...it's what we feel led to do, and so, we should obey. Time to take a humility pill, hold firm to our convictions, and trust Him even more. Yep, prayers welcomed :)

And...for your listening pleasure, this is one of the kids favorite ways to learn the story about Daniel in the lions den. Even if you think you're not a Bluegrass music fan, please give this a try. It's so catchy, so faith-fueling, and makes you want to dance. FUN! 

**edit: This song is NOT about Daniel and the Lion's Den, but the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel. Excuse my pregnancy brain. :) Geez! But, it's still all those cool things, so take a listen!

7 comments:

  1. oh my goodness, you will be my go to person when i hit this stage. i remember asking you and waylon if you would homeschool Judah and you both said you hadn't even thought about it too much.I think judah was 2... wow, time goes so quickly!!!!!!

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  2. Aaaaahh!!! I just took a break from preparing for my CC class tomorrow to get on Facebook, and I saw your post. We just started CC this year. Hunter (8) and Millie (5) are in the program. We really like it. I just started tutoring for the youngest class (4&5 year olds) and will be in there for the rest of the year. I highly suggest going to a FREE parent practicum in your area. Try to find one, and take your kids to the camps they offer during the practicum. They are great. Can't remember when you baby is due, but I loved the practicum last year. Anyway, I would love to give any insight or answer any questions you have about homeschooling and doing so "classically." Excited for you all!
    Kim

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    1. Kim, so glad you chimed in! Thank you for the suggestion of the FREE (woohoo!) parent practicum. I'll have to check the dates and see if we can swing it. I didn't know the kids could go too! Thank you for making yourself available to me. How encouraging! I plan to message you soon on something particular :)

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  3. Natalie - so fun....I am doing CC too! (or going to try to even though there will be NO community here!) Love their stuff. Also - if you're looking for a good suggestion for readers - check out Veritas Press's 1st grade readers, I cannot say enough good things about these!! The content is fabulous! This week J is reading a poem (long one) in the same form as Quothe the Raven by Poe, only it is about Pharaoh and Moses, with great connections at the end to the Lamb of God. Yesterday we ended up in great conversations about all this! And we emailed Vertias Press and they let us just buy the readers and not the whole language arts program.

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    1. Abby, I didn't know you were doing CC! People are coming out of the wood work! Way to go for it, even w/out the community there. I had not heard of Veritas Press readers, so thanks for the suggestion. Sounds awesome! We're mastering phonics now and hoping to begin reading in the summer. Thanks for adding to the excitement!

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  4. So fun Natalie! I know how you feel, it's only been 3 years since we decided to take our family on the homeschool journey!
    We did CC last year (when Jakob was 5) and we really enjoyed it! I felt the Lord asking me to "take off" this year and stay home, we did My Father's World which I also really love. It's been a great year for us, and I have grown a lot as mom/teacher this year. But I am excited that the Lord is having us go back to CC in the Fall. I really like the Classical approach and "doing" homeschool with a community of other families is really a wonderful way to do it!!!!!!!

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    1. Great to hear from you, Beka! The community aspect is a HUGE draw for me. It's a big thing to take on, and I love the idea of coming together with other families and contributing differing gifts/talents and suggestions to make it happen. And honestly, the accountability aspect of going forward with a group of people in one direction and meeting weekly. I feel like the whole journey will be such a learning curve, with each year bringing something new. It encourages me to hear the stories of others journeying with us, so thanks for commenting :)

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