Aug 23, 2010

Schooltime!

School time in underwear?
Yes, we had our first day of Malia's home preschool today.
(They weren't actually in their underwear during school, though I probably would have been okay if they were.  This was just taken later in the day.)

As Malia has turned 4 and is approaching school age, Nate and I have had many conversations about how we want to educate our kids.  The three main options out there would be public school, Christian school, or home school.  While all three are great options, the main two we've considered are public school and homeschooling.  We see positives and negatives to both of these options and are torn between the two.
I'm not one to declare that one type of school is "right" and others are"wrong".  We can understand why parents would choose either.  We just want to decide what fits our family and goals in life best.

Here are some thoughts we've had as we've considered what we want to prioritize as a family:

1) In a busy, stressed world, we want to teach our kids to enjoy a slower-paced life, where daily tasks and life processes are something to engage in and see value in, not just get through.   We want to live at a pace where we value stillness, observation, and reflection.

2) We want them to find joy in work, play, relationships, and the world around them -- not just live for entertainment.

3) We want them to learn to see and value each person as someone God has created, deeply loves, and wants them to know Him.  We want our kids to have the skills to interact with the people they meet in a God-centered worldview, where they can consider other people's needs before their own.

All of these priorities stem from the main goal for our family: that each of us would come to know our Savior and give our lives to His purposes in gratitude.

I could go into more detail about each one of these, as I've thought a LOT about it, but those are the main priorities we've been thinking about as we parent.

We're still not sure what we'll do when Kindergarten time comes, but for now, I'm trying my hand at homeschooling.  And I'm actually really excited about it!  Something about teaching my kids to observe and enjoy the world God made, and learn how it works, incorporating it into daily life makes me come alive!  

I had a fun time brainstorming different lesson ideas that sounded fun and creative.  They were each inspired by a book from the library or question Malia has asked that spurred some creative ideas.

Today's lesson theme was "Where Does My Food Go?"  Malia asked me this the other day.  I started to explain it and past the esophagus, I was lost!  Slightly embarrassed about that.  So I thought a book with pictures might be a good idea.  

We read the book, talked about it, traced the girls' bodies and made a picture of their own digestive system.  We also talked about Psalm 139:13-14 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

I'll probably only do a big activity like this once or twice a week.  The other days I'll do more from her Math and Reading workbooks she got from Grandma for her birthday.  She was so excited to have her own school books!

Both girls had a lot of fun.  I think I'll have to find a way to have at least some of the time with just Malia.  Spunky #2 just can't be around without distracting.  Love her. :)

Any other Mom's out there thinking about education, I'd love to hear how you've thought about it and what you're leaning towards doing!
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7 comments:

  1. It seems like school is all I have been thinking about this month! I love your reasons for wanting to educate your children at home. I think the Lord will bless your sincerity. I'm starting my third year of homeschooling so if you need any help just ask!

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  2. I'm thinking about sending my girls to Erika Elementary School....kinda serious!

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  3. Oh my goodness... This looks so fun!! I am so sure you are a wonderful teacher to them too!!! Can't wait to hear stories!!! =D

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  4. I'll repeat that I think this is so fun! I love that you capitalized on Malia's curiosity. I'm so challenged and encouraged by your thoughts on priorities in your family life as well.

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  5. so fun! big decisions coming up for you and Nate.
    my parents homeschooled us through high school - so if you have questions on that perspective feel free to call/email!

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  6. Well, I'm not a mom, but I have a mom, and I'm a teacher, and here's my thought:
    Obviously, as a PS teacher I deeply believe in public schools. That said, no matter what you decide to do, probably the most memorable and important thing my parents did for me was help me develop a habit of asking questions about everything I learned and they made it comfortable for me to talk about these questions with them. They weren't afraid of what books I might read, or that I might learn about "controversial" things, or who I became friends with because they knew that I would talk to them about all of it and they taught me to think critically about EVERYTHING instead of going along with just ANYTHING. When I was school age, mom really felt a lot of guilt because there were a lot of educational controversies and conversations that she felt on the wrong "side" of. But, looking back, had she given in to some of the pressure she was feeling, I wouldn't have been allowed to read the Chronicles of Narnia and the Wrinkle in Time series (both by Christian authors, both positively influencing my idea of God and the gospel). But, knowing you, Erika, I know that's something you can teach your kids whether they are in PS or homeschool. I have a whole lot more thoughts about schools "these days" and I'd love to talk to you about it, but I'll leave that up to you because, as you well know, sometimes when I care deeply about things I tend to share my opinions whether they are wanted or not. I'm your flawed and opinionated friend, you know.

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  7. Gma Farwell10:41 PM

    Not your typical "First Day of School" picture! But lots of joy in those faces, nonetheless.

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