Thursday, September 29, 2011


If you asked me what was that most important thing that I wanted my home-schooled children to learn, I would answer without hesitation, "the Bible."

The person who knows the Word of God is a truly educated person.

However, this fall, as we went about our home school day, I had a mental image of a scale. On one side of the scale, sat the math, science, literature, music, languages, geography, typing, etc. On the other side of the scale sat the Bible. I realized that if I truly wanted the Bible to impact the other areas of study, the scale would have to be at least equal. As it was, the scale was very scholastically heavy and Biblically light. Adjustments were in order.

So, now we start our day with God's Word. We read a few chapters, discuss them, pray (with a prayer list), watch the 40 day mission challenge, and journal. It takes an hour. We then move into other subjects. At the end of the school day we come together again and read about the early church. We read biographies of missionaries and martyrs. It takes another hour. The day is bookended by truth.

I can tell you this, I have never been so relaxed in my home school day as I am this year. I am covering the most important thing, and with that, everything else falls into perspective. We pursue God first, prioritize our day, and watch Him infiltrate everything.

I heard Rowan talking to Grant the other day.
 He said, "Grant I don't know what to do. I can't stop thinking about God!"
Grant replied, "You don't want to stop thinking about God, because when you do, all good things follow Him out."

This is truly it. I want them to establish the habit of thinking about God all the time. To know, that all good comes from Him, and apart from Him is nothing good.
 The scale is slowly moving in the right direction....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning Spaces

We started school yesterday.
I had a terrible earache.
Grant commented, "Do you remember the first day of school last year?"
As if it was at all possible to forget such a day.
He continued, "I was sick last year. That's kinda fun, I wonder who's going to be sick on the first day of school next year."
Ahhh, nothing like anticipation!

When school time came yesterday morning, little Rose grabbed my hand and ran me to the basement. Part of her excitement to start school, was the location of the classroom.

Really, at four, school consists of reading together. So I decided to spend Rowan and Rose's school time snuggled up in bed! All their books are in the handy little drawer under the bed.
After our reading time, I bring them up to the school table for about 10 minutes for handwriting and calendar work. I want them to be comfortable and familiar with the desk since they'll be there eventually.

Grant spends the majority of his morning working at this table. He completes his individual checklist while I am taking turns with the "R"s. After lunch, I spend some time with him on grammar and science. I correct his math and we talk about stuff. Rowan and Rose are in quiet time after lunch so we are undisturbed.
Grant also likes to work on the computer. As of right now, the kids are allowed a half an hour each on Tuesdays. This wards off the constant asking for computer time. But Grant's math is on the computer so it's nice for him to be able to move to a different station to work.
This year, Avonlea is doing things completely different. Based on my study of the Brontes, she is focusing on art, music, and languages. She spends a small amount of her day on math/science and the rest of the time on her passions.
Here, she is working on illustrating a story that I wrote.

The reasons for the different stations is two fold.
First, with four kids, it is difficult to not distract each other. We are obviously very verbal, so close proximity produces mayhem.
Secondly, I want to subconsciously encourage the idea that learning is not regulated to a table, or even a sitting position. Learning happens at the nature table and the frog aquariums and the Lego box and cuddled on the couch. Learning areas are scattered over our home so that learning is the natural outcome of just being here.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Charlotte Mason