Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Journey Begins

"Babe, read this! This makes so much sense. It's just teaching kids the way they naturally learn. Listen to this..." I went on to explain the Trivium. This was roughly, gosh, 8 years ago. We were members of a small PCA church in Valdosta and one of the members was wanting to start a Classical School. Knowing that I was an educator, she handed me the information and asked me to read it and tell her what I thought. I was astounded! My mind was a flurry with all of the information. The words were all new to me and I wanted to learn more. That was the beginning of the journey.

Fast forward a few short years to 2002 and I am now a Children's Ministry Director and the proud mother of one smart baby! The Lord began to refine and define the roles that I would play in my home and I ended up quitting as the Children's Director to be a full-time wife and mother. I knew I wanted to give my life away to my children and my husband. I knew that we would be to figure out what that meant!

Having had the information still floating around in my head, I began to do a bit of investigating. I spoke with other women who were homeschooling, asked what method they used and when they did laundry and grocery shopping...just sort of probed around. I knew we had some time before school would be required, so I settled on the decison to homeschool and enjoyed Anson.

As Anson got older and we got to have more children I needed to figure out what direction we were headed. If you are new to the homeschooling scene, the amount of information can be absolutely overwhelming. There are words and acronyms that you don't know. People throw around names that you've never heard and usually the names are the names of dead people who wrote articles that are published in books that you've never heard of!

One mother knew I was pretty set on following a Classical model and recommended a book called The Well-Trained Mind written by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. I borrowed it from the library and devoured it...well, all of the parts that pertained to's a pretty big book! The explanations were clear, the schedules were helpful, I was sold. Classical it was.

Something began to nag me a little, though. How was I to infuse Christ into all of this. The goal in educating my children was so that they would learn everything as it pertained to Christ. Our desire is that our children would have a Christian Worldview. So, big book number two showed up on our doorstep. Teaching the Trivium by Lauri and Harvey Bluedorn was what I needed. They are a little more extreme in some areas, but their expository on Deuteronomy was compelling and they gave the Biblical Perspective that I needed. So, I landed in a gray area. Jessie Wise is a professing Christian, her book is written for everyone. It's nuts and bolts...what I need! The Bluedorn's have an article on their website titled "Ten Things to Do With Your Child Before Age Ten." It took me a while to work through it, but I found it to be quite liberating. I didn't want to start "teaching" necessarily. This gave me somewhat of a guideline to follow.

So, last year was our first homeschool conference and Anson is in kindergarten, but not really! I took this year as sort of a "test run". This year was more about me learning the balance than it was about my children learning anything. They all have late birthdays, so we sort of get an extra year before they are required to be reported as "in school."

This is a long post, I think the first few will be. I would like to break down what a "Classical Model" is for those that are curious...on the next post. I want to share the story of our name and what our curriculum choices are. I want this to be a place where I can ask questions and be asked questions. I want my friends who are curious to be able to read and not think that I think they want to homeschool...but you can check out what I do. I would also like to help those who are new and fear failing...relax! I heard a seasoned homeschool mom say the other night, "Don't be afraid of already have! That's what Christ is for!!!" I also want our family to be able to check in on us and feel like they are informed and involved in what we are doing. I have asked Mike to contribute every now and then for the Dad's and I think a "What do you do? Wednesday" would be a fun way to share little secrets and tips that work for us and may help others. I just want to share and feel like I'm giving and not just taking, cause there is a lot out there that I've taken from!!! I'm going to challenge myself to figure out sidebars and favorite links and pictures of books and all sorts of stuff...all this while still priortizing my family...God help me!!!

So, you know how we got here, next I'll tell you where here is and what happens next! I look forward to sharing this journey and meeting new families that we can meet and encourage along the way.

Thanks for reading this...I write how I talk...until next time