The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 15 {School Choices}

chapter 15 school choices

Let’s Discuss Chapter 15

If you want to start disunity in the body of Christ…just talk about school choices.  Ugh. I am aware of this, so I tread very carefully into today’s blog post ;)

As chapter 15 says, I’m a product of public schools.  My parents walked alongside me, discipling me and teaching me how to be a light in darkness for 12 years and when I graduated, I was on fire for Jesus.

My parents lived out Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

I believe that school choices are not permanent choices.  I know many moms who homeschooled and then put their kids into a brick and mortar school and many moms who first sent their kids to a brick and mortar school but then pulled them out to homeschool them.  And then there are those like me, who only did public school and there are those, who are homeschool graduates.  All of us are walking with the Lord now…so it is not necessarily the school choice that determines the depth of our walk with God.

We each have our own journey – our own life puzzle and our own set of circumstances that will determine our school choices.  I do not believe in a cookie cutter – one size fits all – approach to education.

 

We are not replicas of each other

In this chapter, I share my education experience as a child, my reasons for homeschooling, the benefits and challenges of homeschooling and a day in our lives.  My conclusion in this chapter is — regardless of which school choice we make, our job as parents is to teach our children to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

I know the drive of the culture is to try to make our kids cool, honor roll students or star athletes.  It’s the prevailing voice of today – but that is not God’s voice.

We must remind our children – you don’t have to be cool.  Be like Christ.

You don’t have to be on the honor roll.  Honor the Lord.

You don’t have to be a star athlete. Worship the one who made the stars.

And if you happen to be on the honor roll or a star athlete –do it to the glory of God!

A reminder to our children

 

My daughter wanted to join me for today’s video – it’s super short and casual – just a little over one minute…

(if you can’t see this video – click here)

Discussion Questions:

1.)  What is the puzzle God has given your family that has determined your school choice for this season?

2.)  Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  Are you diligently teaching your children about the Lord?  What are some practical ways you are carrying this out in the home?

For Extra Discussion go to the Forum and click on the thread that says “Chapter 15″

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Bloggers:  Are you blogging your way through this book club with us?  Then link-up your blog post below.
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Please note that this link up has changed for the next 5 weeks.{if your linked-up post is not about the book club it will be removed}



New School Pictures & Our 2013-14 Homeschool Curriculum

This August we began our fifth year of homeschooling!  We’ve gone from this –

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To this!

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 My how they grow!

First Day of School - Kindergarten 005
I blinked and this happened!

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 And a little mommy tear trickles down my face as I see time passing…
I do want my children to spread their wings and leave the house someday -
but for now I am savoring every last drop of these little years.

And I must say that I am so grateful that everyday I get to wake up to these little faces
and together we experience the wonder
of Math, Reading, History, Grammar, Latin,  Science, Music, and God’s Word.

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 I am thankful for our days at home because our evenings have been full
with football and cheerleading nearly every evening.

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It’s been great because Alexis’ squad cheers for Alex’s team!

Another tradition I started for the first day of school is taking a picture of Alexis in one of my dresses and Alex in one of his Dad’s shirts – and watch them grow!

 First Day of School Mom's Dress A

 First Day of School Dad's Shirt A

 

And every year I get a lot of emails asking what curriculum I use to homeschool my children.

So here’s our full list of curriculum for 2013-2014:

Classical Conversations provides our History, Science, Geography, Grammar, Latin, Art and some Music.  This is a class we attend with other homeschool students on Tuesdays from 9am-3pm.  Here’s a picture of our group.  We LOVE this group!

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For Math, we are using Saxon.

For Language Arts, we are using Sonlight.

For Writing we are using Essentials of the English Language.

For Handwriting, we are using Classical Conversations Pre-Scripts (cursive).

For Bible, we read out of the  Family Reading Bible and the kids memorize verses and do daily devotions through the Olympians Program at our church.

And on Fridays, my father comes to my house and helps me out and he uses Apologia Science and The Story of Our World History .

 

And this is the flow of our day:

The kids wake in the morning to assignments and pink post-it notes with instructions on the kitchen table.

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While I am doing my morning Blogging/Facebooking/Tweeting/Pinning – they begin their work that they can do independently.  This is about 45 minutes of work and it includes their personal devotional time in God’s word. Then we have breakfast.  Then we have another hour of school work that we do together and then a break to play.  After lunch we do another hour of school work together and then a one hour reading/piano/quiet time in the afternoon…and then –we play!

That about sums up our day here!  If you are new to WLW or homeschooling – you can see my 5 Part video series on the benefits, challenges and my routines of homeschooling –>> here.

Chime In: Are you a homeschooler?  Share in the comment section what curriculum you are using, how your day flows or what your homeschool group is like and if you blog and have already blogged on your new homeschool year – feel free to share the link with us in the comment section!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Pre-Launch Giveaway

Reflections on our Homeschool Year

First Day of School

Last Day of School

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As I begin to pack away the teacher’s guides and paperwork from this homeschool year –tears well up in my eyes.  A sense of relief washes over me, I made it through another year.  I can’t believe we made it.

Second and third grade are done and next year we will tackle 3rd and 4th grade and be starting our 5th year of homeschooling.  The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming only because I thought more this year about quitting than I ever have.  I’ve sat with my husband late at night discussing the local Christian school and all the benefits –including a break for me.

Running this on-line ministry mixed with homeschooling and managing my home has been an overwhelming challenge.  The days stack on top of days and my to-do list seems impossible sometimes. The kids and their education come first and as a result the guilt of not keeping up with friendships, making the time to exercise or keep the house as clean as I like, burdens me.

And then there’s all my fears…my biggest is if I’m good enough at this.  Are my kids being as well educated as their public school counterparts?  Statistics show that homeschoolers do overwhelmingly well on state tests and entrance to college exams but I’m not so sure that’s happening in my home.  I don’t want to fail my children and so I feel pressure to ride them a bit to make sure they are reading, writing and doing arithmetic to the best of their ability.  And when we hit rough spots and attitudes, I shake my head and the discussion about the local Christian school begins again.

While I found this year to be one of the most overwhelming for me in the area of time management and major lack of sleep {which led to me literally quitting blogging for two months last December and January–I thought I was going to pop from all the pressure}, I believe it has been the most fulfillng yet.

For the first time, my children made real friendships with other homeschool children and I connected on a deeper level with other homeschool moms.  I am sad to admit that I have purposely not pursued friendship within the homeschool community because I was afraid of being judged for my parenting and potentially held to a higher standard because of this blog.  My fear of new friendships have stunted our homeschool years and when I started this year with open arms –allowing myself to be “known”, I found real moms who are a total joy to talk and laugh (really hard at times) with. And this has been such a gift –a gift the Lord knew I needed this year. 

Some of Lexi’s Classmates – they really need to lighten up a little ;)

Alexis' CC 2nd grade class

Alex’s buddies

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A science experiment  –dissecting – ewwwwww:

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The curriculum we tackled this year was a perfect fit for us.   I have received emails asking me what we used this year —so here’s the run down.  We loved everything we used :)!

Math: Saxon –my son began the videos this year and it’s pricey but a welcomed break!

Reading, Writing, SpellingSonlight (we LOVED this change from Rod and Staff –it fit our style much better)

Phonics for Lexi (2nd grade): Explode the Code

Spelling for Alex (3rd grade): Spelling Plus and Dictation by Susan Anthony, 1,000 words towards spelling success

History, Science, Latin, Art and Music - Classical Conversations – this curriculum includes a Tuesday morning class with other homeschoolers (as seen in the pictures above).  We did science experiments, memorization work, painting, music, singing and other fun activities.  And yes – even I attended the class.  Mom’s stay with their kids during this time. We LOVE this class!  Next year Alex will attend their afternoon class where he’ll use the Excellence in Writing curriculum.

Extra Science and HistoryRod and Staff (next year we will be changing to Apologetics Science and The Story of the World for history by Susan Wise Baur)

Cursive Writing: Handwriting Without Tears

When I reflect back to September of last year and compare it to where we are today, I can see amazing growth mentally, spiritually and emotionally in both of my children.  I’d love to brag on them but I’ll spare you the details –I’ll just say that it’s enough to give me peace knowing we are on the right track and we shouldn’t change a thing.

If you have questions about our homeschooling – check out some of  my past videos here where I discuss the benefits, challenges, how we structure our day and other thoughts on homeschooling.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”~ 3 John 1:4

Chime In:  Did you homeschool this year? How did it go? What did you like and what will you change?  Share with us your favorite currriculum!

Walk with the King,

 

 

 

First Day of School Pics!

This was our first day of homeschooling – ever – 4 years ago! The beginning of our journey!  

Alexander was beginning Kindergarten and Alexis began Preschool.

Then we moved to a new home and began Kindergarten and 1st grade!

 

 

 Then last year was our 3rd year of homeschooling.  (previously our children did virtual school – as you may note the computers. But now we use a new curriculum and they attend a class with other homeschoolers once a week.) This was 1st and 2nd grade.

 

 

 

 

 

 And then this past Tuesday – our 2012-2013 homeschool year began!!!  Alex caught me in the bathroom fixing Lexi’s hair – a typical morning ritual in our household!

 

 Oh my look how grown up they are *tear!  This year they are entering 2nd and 3rd grade!!!
 

 

I savored our first day of school – it was so fun!  And looking at these pictures just convinces me all the more that I must treasure this time with them – because I’m going to blink and they’ll be 18 wahhhhhhhhhh!

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you to day are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

 
Whether your children attend a public school, a private school or are home schooled, Deuteronomy 6 applies to us all – our job as moms ultimately is to teach our children to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls and strength! It is our job to impress this on their little hearts as they sit at home, as they are traveling to different activities, as you tuck them into bed at night and as they wake up in the morning! I want to encourage you to evaluate your time this fall and be sure that this is a top priority over all the other busy busy busy things on your to-do list!
 
Have a great school year!!!

Walk with the King!