Home school. To so many, the word conjures up images of awkward, denim jumper-wearing, old-fashioned kids with zero social skills, living in an uber-sheltered home with weird parents. I get it. I used to stereo type home-schoolers when I was a kid, and that is just what I pictured. But then my aunts started home schooling my cousins...and they seemed normal and pretty cool kids! As I moved into my adult life, I met more and more "normal" home schooled kids, or adults who had come out of home schooled families. Still, I never planned on educating my own kids at home. Especially after marrying a teacher who works in public education!

Well, my feelings on the matter have drastically changed over the years, and here we are with a five-year-old and a three-year-old both dying to start school, thirsty to learn!

We have made the decision to home school our girls, for now. I want to make it clear: WE AREN'T AGAINST PUBLIC SCHOOL. We don't judge anyone who's kids go to public school or private school or Montessori school or any type of school! We will probably send our kids to school at some point, but I want to chat a bit about why we are choosing home education for now.

We aren't doing it out of fear...fear of letting go, fear of what will be taught outside our home, or fear of our kids not doing well socially or academically. Rather, at their young and impressionable age, it's important to us that we continue being the primary source of information, deciding what goes into their young, hungry minds. I don't think that teachers are evil people with agendas to brainwash my kids into all sorts of fallacy either, please don't misunderstand. I just want their foundational beliefs and thought processes to be formed around Christ and His teachings, which is something I can give them at home (or at a Christian school, which isn't an option for us right now), and something they wouldn't receive at a public school.

Other than that, we have several other less important but still valid reasons for choosing home education, most of which revolve around the current public education system and the institution of Common Core, but I won't delve into that. We plan to take it year by year. I'm not committing to home schooling them K-12. This is what we feel convicted to to this year, so it's what we're doing!

We plan on doing lots of field trips, getting involved in the science program at the local children's science museum (they offer an awesome science program every Tuesday for home schoolers), and eventually being part of a co-op. There are plenty of sports opportunities and social outlits for them, so they won't be cloistered inside the house with no opportunities for growth in the 'outside world' :)

We are looking forward to this year and are off to a good start, with Lily in pre-school and Addison in pre-kindergarten. They are loving it so much that I can hardly get them to eat breakfast and get dressed in the morning, they want to start school so much!

As for a curriculum?
I'm getting my feet wet this year, experimenting with different things and getting in tune with each of their individual learning styles. I plan to base whatever curriculum we choose in the future around the Charlotte Mason method of education. It's not exactly a "mainstream" way of teaching, but I've researched it extensively and have moved past intrigued to convinced. It seems like the most natural way to educate a child, so I am fully on board. For this year, we will do a ton of reading, both story books and chapter books. I'll have them narrate back the main concepts of chapter books to encourage focused attention and comprehension. We're focusing on building a solid foundation of numbers and letters by way of every which method...worksheets, art, games, flashcards, writing, puzzles, and object manipulation. We're also working on sight words and when I feel she's ready, we'll start Addison towards reading. We will be outside as much as possible, learning hands-on about creation and getting plenty of fresh air, sunshine and movement throughout the day. And we'll begin studying fine art simply by looking at art, going to art museums, and listening to all types of music and instruments. At this age, any and everything can be a learning experience. They don't need a to sit at a desk with a worksheet to learn about street signs and stoplights...these things can be taught simply by living life! (Though I must say, they both love worksheets and think they're so much fun, so I give them each a little stack to work on everyday:))

I'll be posting more as the year goes on. We have a huge book list we're working from (although obviously we aren't bound to it and we read all sorts of things that aren't on the list!) and a lot of activities planned, and I can't wait to share our favorites as we go!

It's a learning year for me, though I suppose it will continue to be that way every year. More than anything, it's a major adjustment from the past years of being a stay-at-home-mom with littles. There's some amount of planning and preparation involved which takes up time, and instead of our days being full of time we could allocate as we chose each day, we are opporating on a schedule now, though I'm holding to it loosely. This is, afterall, pre-school and pre-k:) Well, that's it for now! I just wanted to give a little clarity to what we're doing, since so many have been curious:)

If you have little ones, I hope they have a truly wonderful school year, wherever they are!!!

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