"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Homeschooling

My husband and I decided to homeschool in order to help our children grow in their knowledge and love for God and their willingness to serve Him.

We started homeschooling when our oldest was an infant and we haven't looked back. Of course, that doesn't mean that there haven't been days when I longed for an excellent Catholic school. When I experience those days of longing, I am thankful for my rock, my husband. He helps me realize that one or two down days cannot erase the joy we experience from living and learning together.

At my mom's recommendation, I began by reading everything I could by and about Maria Montessori. My husband and I busied ourselves making and purchasing a few materials and I tried my best to implement Montessori's ideas, especially in regards to reading. Like many oldest children, our first child started to read at 3. She continues to be an avid reader today and our next child has followed in her footsteps. Our second daughter started reading at age 5 and quickly became a bookworm. Our other children enjoy listening to stories and are excited about the prospect of reading.

Today, our oldest daughter is fully enrolled with Seton Home Study School and she is thriving. She is a self-motivated learner, who loves to share her knowledge with others. In addition to using Seton's curriculum, she is also studying Latin and she follows her mother down many a rabbit trail. I hope her love for learning continues to grow.

I am designing my own curriculum for our two other school-age children and their younger sister (she is biting at the bit to read). Thus far, all but one of my children really like homeschooling and learning together as a family.

Our second daughter enjoys Reading, Art and Music. I have not succeeded in finding the key to sparking her interest in learning Math, Phonics, Spelling, etc. Some people tell me she is learning, but on her own terms. Most days, she does one subject and then somehow ends up spending the rest of her time reading or drawing. There is only one weekday when she focuses on the material at hand. On Thursdays, she completes all of her lessons (plus some) in an hour, while we sit in the car and wait for her older sister's ballet class to end. Sometimes, I wonder if the material is simply too easy, in her mind, and therefore not worth doing.

Our third child is very good at Math and likes learning. It looks like he will probably be reading fluently by his sixth birthday. He is my child, who I constantly have to try and slow down. He always wants to do more and learn more. When he is not inside learning with Mommy, he is outside looking under rocks or climbing a tree.

Our fourth child has decided that it is high time she learns to read. She has joined in her brother's reading lessons, much to his chagrin. She also takes pleasure in answering her sister's catechism questions and doing any workbooks she can find.

Our baby seems to be eager to learn, as well. He insists on a story before taking a nap or going to sleep at night.

I am truly thankful for the opportunity God has given me to teach and learn with my children. I pray that in guiding my children, I am growing in my knowledge and love for God and that I am serving Him well.

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