Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Home School

In mid-July this summer, just a couple of weeks before the mad rush for school supplies, Marcus and I made the decision to try homeschooling the boys.  So far, it has been a smashing hit for all involved.  The kids love it, I love it and Marcus loves it.  All for different reasons, but with equal fervor :) 

The boys love not being rushed in the morning, learning at their own pace and having more time to play together (the structured part of our school day only lasts 3-4 hours).  Caleb liked school last year, but he has assured me multiple times that he likes homeschooling much more.  Ethan was not fond of preschool (hated it at age 3 and tolerated it at age 4), and he strutted around like he'd won the lottery when he found out he was going to get to do kindergarten at home :) Lydia loves having her brothers around during the day, playing "school" at her little craft table, and not being in the car for 2+ hours a day (like last year). 

Marcus loves being exempt from the struggle with his coworkers for time off during school breaks (we can vacation whenever!), he loves Ethan doing first grade math because that's what he's ready for instead of his learning being confined to the parameters set by his grade.  Marcus also enjoys talking to the kids about what they learned that day, and being able to get answers out of them since their teacher is sitting right there!  He is great at adding perspectives to their science and math lessons, and when he can, he likes to do their science experiments with them. 

I love all of the above, and I also LOVE learning with the kids, being with them all the time, hardly ever rushing (and never first thing in the morning), and feeling free to enroll them in activities without eroding the little bit of free time a school day would allow them.  I love how connected the three kids are, both to each other and to me.

Last year, Caleb was always so tired when he got home from his 8-hour school day that he just wanted some down time, mostly alone.  Ethan wanted to play, and I wanted to talk to Caleb about his day, but he just wanted to chill.  I felt most of the time like I had no idea what he was learning or thinking or experiencing.  He always said he had a good day, and his teacher always said he behaved well and was having no trouble keeping up, but I still felt very disconnected from him.  And Ethan struggled so much to behave himself in preschool.  He really, truly gave it his best.  Unfortunately for him, there is something in his nature that goes nuts when you put him in a classroom with 10+ other kids.  It was all he could do to control himself for 3 hours a day last year, and I dreaded putting his self-control to the test for an 8-hour kindergarten day.  Ethan rarely struggles with impulsivity when he's at home or in very small groups, so his behavior has been smooth sailing since he finished preschool six months ago.  His self-esteem has soared, and he is the smart, funny, kind, hardworking little boy that I've always seen beneath the classroom behavioral struggles.

I don't say things like this as often as I should, but I believe to the core of my being that homeschooling was God's idea, and that he impressed it upon my heart through repeated encounters, conversations, and heart-nudgings all summer long.  I had no inkling of teaching my kids at home when school let out in the spring!  But God did his work on both of our hearts, and we are thankful for the blessings upon blessings we and our children are receiving already!


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Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Camping

Our family took its first Tennessee camping trip this past weekend at Fall Creek Falls State Park.  This park was by far the prettiest place I've ever camped, and maybe the prettiest state park I've ever been to.  I don't have much time these days for writing blog posts, but, thanks to Picasa, it only takes a couple of minutes to post pictures :)


Lydia is standing at our campsite in this picture, and the camp play ground was so close that we could sit around the fire while watching the kids enjoy the playset.

I took this picture from our campsite as well.  Marcus brought our pop-up goals, and there was a field next to our site perfect for pick-up games.  We had about half a dozen kids join in the soccer fun over the weekend.

Lydia with Marcus's college roommate, Brian Borgman
Our friends from college days, Brian and Gena Borgman.

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