Friday, August 14, 2009

Homeschooling!!?! Yikes!

Elijah is officially reading now, well enough that he can sing along in the Psalter, for instance, or read most any children's book. He still does quite a bit of bouncing off the walls (literally) and building with Lego, but now he also spends large blocks of time reading to himself--standing on his head, as often as not; right now he's sort of rolling around on an end table while reading "The Sleepy Story."

He's obviously learning quite a lot on his own, but lately I've started to think that perhaps I should be directing his education a bit, via some proper schooling. I started looking at homeschooling curricula, and boy, talk about system overload! There is so much to choose from, it's overwhelming. Plus, there are many radically different opinions about how children ought to learn--so far, "unschooling" has worked pretty well for us, but recently I read this article:

Homeschooling With Textbooks

Mrs. Maxwell makes some good points about textbooks, I think. I don't think she quite understands the motivation behind things like unit studies, and Mom-selected learning materials--she assumes that it's all about making learning fun, but I always thought it was more about going straight to the original sources for info, rather than getting things filtered through a textbook author's lens. I like the idea of reading "real books" a la Charlotte Mason.

But she makes a good point about textbook learning being much easier on Mom. As a single mom, I do have to work a bit, though so far I've been blessed to be able to work from home. Still, I don't have the freedom to devote all of my time to educating my children, so if textbooks would make it easier for them to learn on their own, I need to consider them. Also, I do feel strongly that my children need to have the self-discipline to work and learn independently, even on topics that aren't their favorites, and perhaps some textbook work could help them to learn self-discipline.

But which textbooks? That decision alone is enough to make me learn towards unschooling--besides, textbooks cost money, and the library is free. :)

If you have an opinion to share, feel free!


  1. Hi,

    We are (and always have been) pretty much workbook/text book home educators. Partly through choice/decision, and much through necessity.

    There are some glaringly obvious exceptions to that general rule :-)

    The only advice I'd suggest to you is that when reading/evaluating advice from others, you look for people whose situation is similar to yours.

    By the time my oldest was six I had six children and a husband who was out of the house for work at least 14 hrs a day. The "advice" offered to me by moms of two who lived next door to their mom, mom in law, several unmarried sisters in law, and whose husbands worked part time from home and lived the rest of the time on inherited moeney. . .used to irritate me a bit!

    Grin, I hope you get my point. Only somone in your shoes can give you accurate pointers as to what works in your situation.

    I can talk (for hours :-) about what educating children; but I try not to assume that what worked for me would work for everyone.

    For what it is worth, much of our home schooling was done as though I was an income-earning-single-parent (I worked freelance until five yrs ago; and I had quite a few children of school age before I stopped earning - freelance and from home - what would be regarded as a full time salary)

    You have a lot of family round you and have church support; we had (and still have)neither. No two home school families are alike.

    Having said all that, there are some things I've found really sucessful, and other things less so

    Henrietta x

  2. Interesting. Yes, I find the whole mass of materials and systems daunting too, not to mention the fact that most of them are American! We visited Mardell in ummm... somewhere near Clear Lake I think and I kind of panicked with seeing all the stuff in there. Rachel has been to a second-hand homeschool shop in Houston in the past - that might interest you. We didn't go there either time I was over - we went to some mildly hippyish baby and toddler consignment place in Houston last time though.


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