Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kindergarten Decision

Todd and I have been spending time over the last few months researching and praying about different directions we could go with kindergarten next year for our Grace.  You can read about our options and thoughts in my previous posts, Kindergarten Contemplations Part I and Part II

I’m so thankful that I wrote about it on my blog, because I received  lots of great feedback and access to resources as a result!  I appreciate that tremendously!

And the decision is….drumroll….I WILL HOMESCHOOL!

There, I said it.  It’s official.  Whew.  I’m glad to have a decision, and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what it means for our little family.

Just of a few of the many emotions/adjectives that are running rampant through my brain are:

excited, scared, crazy, relieved, curious, happy, confident, hesitant

Anyone that has faced the possibility of homeschool has probably felt many of the same things.  The first two emotions are the most pronounced at the moment.

I’m excited because:

  • I get to spend time with my little girl instead of sending her off to school every day!
  • I truly believe that Grace will enjoy it.  She loves to do school at home and always asks me to do it more often. 
  • It’s a new challenge.  And I love new challenges.
  • I can tailor my program to exactly what she needs considering her learning style, abilities, interests, etc.
  • There is a whole new world of homeschool families and resources that we will meet and grow to love.
  • Grace will be a part of the Travis Academy of Fine Arts.
  • I feel that God will bless our efforts to educate our daughter at home.

I’m scared because:

  • I want to do a good job, but I don’t always feel confident.
  • What if I forget to teach her something?
  • The responsibility of homeschool lessens opportunities for earning money through sewing, cake decorating, etc. and increases expenses for curriculum, TAFA, organized sports, membership expenses, etc.
  • I’m a procrastinator by nature, and I just CAN’T be that way and be an effective home educator.

All things considered, the promise I am holding close to my heart through this decision comes from Proverbs 22:6:

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Our prayer is that we are making a decision that will bless our daughter, our family, and give honor to our Lord.  I also take comfort in the fact that the decision to homeschool for kindergarten next year does not mean we are stuck on that path for the next 13 years.  Thankfully, public school and other charter schools are options that we feel comfortable considering if homeschool does not work out for whatever reason.

I haven’t made any solid decisions yet about curriculum, but I’m leaning toward Saxon for math.  When I worked at the elementary school level, I remember our math teachers complementing Saxon very highly.  It is very systematic, building concepts and reinforcing learning along the way.  There are lots of hands-on activities with manipulatives and practice.  I also like that there are frequent assessments to measure learning.

For language arts/reading, I’m looking at Sonlight, Saxon, Lifepac, and Horizons.  I’ve still got a lot of research to do on this.

I’ll probably use supplements from my local Mardel homeschool supply store for resources relating to science, history, and geography. 

Now that we’ve made the decision to homeschool, I’d appreciate any recommendations on curriculum from any homeschool moms out there!  Positive recommendations or concerns through your experience…

Thanks for the continued prayers as I prepare for this exciting new journey!


Joanna Stanley said...

Hey, Jo!
I was so excited to read your entry today...that IS a huge decision. Did you know that I home-school my son Chappie? Fortunately, as soon as I made the actual decision, I had Meghan Axsom (Daniel's wife) on the phone giving me all the resources and encouragement that I needed. She had just finished homeschooling Lochlan in the first grade, which was the grade I was starting Chappie in, so she was ready with the "likes and dislikes" list of the resources she used. You're probably overwhelmed with information and recommendations, so I won't add to the confusion, except to support your Saxon Math's the BEST. :-) (Plus, have you read "The Well-Trained Mind" by Susan Wise Bauer? It's just a great resource for classical Christian education, and it really helped me plan Chappie's curriculum.) Ok, that's it...I'll stop now. I'm so happy for you- I think you and Grace are going to love it....and you're going to be GREAT at it. Go, girl!

Stuart and Sarah Creamer said...

So glad you feel confident in your decision! I am sure Grace will love it!

Audra said...

Well, we've both made it official now! I am so excited that we are going to be experiencing this adventure of teaching our precious children together (across lots of states and miles of course)!

Lots of Love!

Kevin said...

*sigh* A good sigh. Doesn't it feel good to be beyond the decision part and looking at the journey with direction? I am excited for you.

You asked, "What if I forget to teach her something?" I firmly believe this is least likely in a homeschool setting. Gaps are inevitable in every educational environment, and when they surface at home, they are usually minor and humorous.

Again, I am happy for you all. Enjoy your sweet little girl! Always here if you want to pick an old brain.

Much love!

MamaAngie said...

I would definitely recommend getting Cathy Duffy's book 100 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum. It has been so-o-o-o-o helpful for me as I too am starting to plan my children's home education. Not only does she review the top curriculums, but she also walks you through how to create your own philosophy of education, and to determine what your teaching style is and your child's learning style. Then she has a table with all the curriculums that match your style. EXCELLENT BOOK!!!!

Joanna J. said...

Wow! Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. It means a lot to me to know there are other families out there doing the same thing and supporting each other!

Mama Angie, I will definitely check out that book. It sounds great!

3 for Me! said...

Whooo -hooo:) Glad the BIG decision is made... now onto all the "little" decisions;)

I had a like-minded mother recommmend the classically-modeled The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. I read through the book and it's been my homeschooling handbook. It has a TON of recommendations for each subject all the way through high school... which was sooo nice to navigate through ALL the resources available to homeschoolers;)

We have almost completed our first year and have LOVED it:)

And the best thing about homeschooling is that if a "program" doesn't work with and for you.... change;)

LOL... just read your first comment... she likes the Well- Trained Mind too:) And we have loved Saxon:)

Claire said...

Congrats on making the decision, and the very best of luck!


Donna A said...

I am delighted that you have opted for homeschooling-though I would be the first to say that it is not the ONLY way to educate your child(ren) and in many circumstances is not the best way. Having home-educated all of my children for the past 20+ years I can promise you that you are in for a great adventure! God has truly blessed our feeble efforts and I believe that as you trust in Him and strive to do your best for His glory, you too will be blessed.

I wanted to make a comment about your fear of neglecting to teach something. I can assure you that you will, in some form or another. Just today I discovered that I had neglected to thoroughly teach my youngest, Hannah how to properly use a pronunciation chart. Now mind you, I have graduated 4 from highschool (3 of whom have bachelors degrees and 1 who will receive an AA in May) I have another due to graduate from highschool in May--so, I am not an "inexperienced" teacher. :) It was just one of those things that I probably mentioned in passing, she did not grasp and I "moved over the page" - However, when I realized her need and my failure, it became a teachable moment for both of us! We laughed about it, went over the concept until I was sure that she "got it" and moved on.

My point is that you when you mess up, homeschooling offers the opportunity to regroup, "re-teach" if necessary and press forward. I am sure that for each of my children there were gaps in their education, but I am just as sure that there would be gaps in any educational setting.

One of my greatest desires in teaching my children was to not only teach them concepts, but to teach them how to think and how to learn. Along with that we desired to instill in them a love for learning, thereby making them life-long students.

God has clearly gifted you in many ways and He will surely help you as you strive to teach your little one. May the Lord bless your efforts in more ways than you can imagine!
In Christ-
Donna Ascol