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Posts Tagged ‘homeschool’

I’m gonna do it.

I’m going to change up our homeschool schedule!

Not the “daily” part of it so much, rather, the “year”.

I’m well aware that one of the beauties of home educating is the flexibility. I tell people that very thing all the time. However, I’m finding myself reluctant to utilize that beautiful flexibility. I know it’s just because it’s going to make things a bit ‘different’ for us. {My husband and friends keep reminding me that I am ‘different’, and changing up this schedule is the least of my ‘differences’!} 😉

Thankfully, there are plenty of people on the web sharing a variety of ways in which they’ve structured their homeschool year. Some are on three months and off one. Some keep the same schedule all year long. Some take off one week per month, and so on! I love seeing the diversity and how it works/doesn’t work for families, often depending on seasons they’re in or other circumstances.

We’ve always taken some sort of break during the summer months. We’ve continued lessons year ’round for quite some time now, using the June, July, and most of August as a time to do half-days – maintaining a few subjects and/or projects. The past couple of summers here in the South has been scorching. The reality is, it’s often that way. We just tend to forget and say the same ole things every summer….

“Man, it’s like someone turned on a hair-dryer out there.”

“This heat is just miserable, and that humidity….”

“I break out in a sweat just looking out the window.”

It’s almost as if we’re surprised 🙂

Sure, my crazy kids still play outside quite a bit, but during the hottest parts of the day – this morning at 8:55 a.m. it was already 93 degrees Fahrenheit – they’ve been coming in to cool off! It’s the kinda hot and humid that just isn’t terribly enjoyable. We go for a swim a few times a week, and that’s pretty fun. However, things like a hike or picnic just aren’t all that appealing…if lots of cold water isn’t involved, you give it a second thought.

Soooooooo….while we’ve tossed this idea around several times (and TONS of other families already do it), we’re going to change our months “off”. We’re going to start the school year with the calendar year in January, taking October, November, and December as our time when we pare down our lessons to half days! It’s just so much more pleasant that time of year where we are. It’s much more feasible to take an afternoon hike or head to the park for a picnic or trot down to the creek to see what we can find! Fall is our family’s favorite season, so it makes sense for us to have that time to spend doing more leisurely kinds of things, and enjoying the outdoors (during a time when it’s honestly just more enjoyable!).

Of course, I keep trying to talk myself out of it simply because we’ve never done it this way. It just makes sense fur us, though.

And, really, if it doesn’t work…so what? We change it back, right!?

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I’ve been reading “A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael” for months and months. It keeps getting put aside for other things (moving, adoption, homeschool planning, etc), however I keep picking it back up and pressing on through it. I am so moved by this woman and so much about her, and then there are moments where I just grin all the way across my face at her brilliance in the practical things ~ including the education of the children in her care. I’ve been struck by many of the principles of education she referred to in small things and particularly grateful for one bigger thing…

Her insight, wisdom, and care are clear in that:

*In referring to keeping lessons short, she says…

“the human soul should not be drawn out

like a piece of elastic and held so for too long at a stretch”

~~~~~

*On the habits of chores/work, she insists the internal

take precedence over the external…

“The great reward was to be trusted with harder, more responsible work.”

~~~~~

*Scripture and hymn memorization were a priority.

~~~~~

*The Indian children in her care grew food and flowers

and sold them at the market and learned much about generosity.

~~~~~

*Elisabeth Elliot writes of her,

“No toy, no picture book reached the hands of her children without prior scrutiny.”

~~~~~

*The children sang, played and listened to music.

~~~~~

While she was a tremendous spiritual pilgrim and warrior, she was also very perceptive regarding children and education.

I love this woman. She’s become a dear friend and mentor to me!

As a matter of fact, I was reading on Sunday and I beckoned {aka ‘hollered at”} my husband to swim down to the end of the pool where I was so I could read something to him that Amy had said years and years ago.

{Yes, I am annoying when I am involved in a book that grips me like this one does :)}

I had to share with him what she had said about “roots”. She had put into words so simply something I have tried to communicate to others for quite some time!

{You see, there are many reasons we homeschool our boys. They are our reasons, and while some people seem to share them, we do not expect anyone to adopt any of them as their own. All families are different :)}

She wrote this, “In other words, till the life of the child has had time to root, it should not be exposed to various winds (confused or conflicting examples and ideals, different ways of making t’s). After it has rooted, let the winds blow as they will. Then they will only cause the roots to take a firmer grip.”

Anyone who knows much at all about growing plants, vegetables, or farming, can get a great visual of the principle she is explaining.

This is one of the aspirations we have for our children as we educate at home. Of course, we provide variety for our children, and of course, things come about that are confusing and/or conflicting. However, we are right there, caring tenderly and consistently to our “young’us” in this early stage of growth, doing our best to help them get “rooted”.

I’m thankful to Amy for countless things. Her life and struggles and victories have taught me more than I can put into words.

Also, I am grateful for her practical wisdom in teaching, training, and educating her children.

I think she, like me, prayed for and eagerly awaited the day when her little ones became “like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8

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Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.

~Robert Frost

Poetry is, perhaps, the most searching and intimate of our teachers.

~Charlotte Mason

 

It seems that as of late, I cannot escape poetry. It has come about in subtle ways…

…The poetry of the Psalms
…Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure’s poem O Holy Night was used as an advent topic one evening.
…The introduction of Mother Goose to my boys, and their frequent requests for it to be read!
…Memorized poems being rehearsed by the boys during our instruction time, and to the occasional extended family member who will lend their ear!

And hearing lovely words come from my boys’ lips like…

“Over the hills the summons came,

Over the river’s shining rim.”

and

“Of fishes and corals under the waves,

And seahorses stabled in the great green caves.”

 

…has moved me to put to memory a poem of my own. (more…)

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