I can not believe we are half way through our twelfth year of homeschooling. The biggest reason I can’t believe this is that I can not fathom that I am old enough to have a child old enough to have been educated for twelve years. Egad!
And while it’s true that our first born is not old enough to be officially in school twelve years, Daniel fits that bill. He was our first student a year and a half after he joined our family. We jumped in to homeschooling eighth and ninth grade. So since I was 27 when he came to live with us and he was 12… maybe I’m not old enough to have a student schooling that long! Yea! (If your math disagrees with mine and you want to chat about how I am technically old enough, please keep your little comments to yourself. Thankyouverymuch.)
The other reason I can’t believe we are on our twelfth year is that every year still feels a bit like a new journey. One would think that a girl would feel more grounded. While I do NOT feel like a newbie, I do feel like I am still learning. Adding a student every couple of years will do that to me. Since I do not adjust well to change, I’m hoping that once I graduate a kiddo, I’ll feel less unsure in areas. Yea! (Again, nay sayers, please keep your little bubble popping comments within your cruel little heads. Thankyouverymuchagain.)
Even after all this time, the words spoken to me by Lindsay Lambert at my very first homeschool convention still bear the most weight. I believe they are the best advice I was given for homeschooling (regarding the academic side).
“Study and pray and then decide your educational philosophy. Then buy curriculum. Not the other way around.”
This rocked my little world, which is really strange since I was a teacher, by degree. I hadn’t ever really studied many philosophies of education. I remember hearing about the Montessori method and the Whole Language method. That’s all I remembered. (I acknowledge that the memory problem could be more me than the two universities I attended. Maybe.)
So, this wise woman helped us tremendously when she told us to stop and put our checkbooks (remember those things?) away, to think and pray about how we wanted to teach before we bought anything for teaching.
Her advice still speaks to me today. The philosophy we started out wanting to use, we no longer feel called to use. We have to stop and reevaluate every year or so. Have we learned something new that affects our philosophy?
If you are a homeschooler, are you enjoying your journey? If not, could the problem be that your philosophy of education (you have one even if you don’t really realize it) and your curriculum don’t match?
Back then, we read Mary Pride’s Big Book of Home Learning. She discussed philosophies and currics that matched. There may be other books out there now that do this better or you may be able to just use the internet (didn’t sign up for that new fangled thing until our second baby was born 😉 ).
So, there you have it: the best advice (academically) I was ever given regarding homeschooling.