It is my joy and pleasure to introduce a good friend of mine. I met her through the American Christian Fiction Writers, a writing group that we both belong to. Not only is she a wonderful writer, but she's also been homeschooling for years! I'd like you to welcome our first guest, Susan Hollaway.
I can’t believe my daughter’s in her second year of high school already. Aaaack! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun!
I love to talk about homeschooling. I’m just going to share some thoughts I have and hope that a tidbit tucked in among them might encourage or bless someone.
I’m so glad that we were called to home school. I can’t imagine missing even one experience over the last ten years of home educating our daughter. In case you’re wondering – no, they’ve not all been perfect, but I have learned from every single experience. If you’re reading this and thinking about homeschooling and wondering if you can do it —let me just say—why yes, yes you can. If you feel led to home school, there’s a good reason. The Lord never asks you to go somewhere without Him. You can do it!
There are as many ways to home school as there are homeschoolers. That’s one of the many advantages of home education. Some school year round with breaks throughout the year, while others do the traditional school year. Some may have their school hours in the mornings and afternoons, while others who have a dad working second shift, might school in the afternoons and evenings so they can spend more time with him.
The rules are the ones you set for your family. Most importantly, do what works for you. Just because you’re doing it differently than someone else doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. For me, some structure is important. But on the other hand, don’t be so set that you can’t recognize the unexpected “teachable moments” that pop up, because life is the best classroom of all. So, it doesn’t really matter what the calendar says or where you happen to be, learning never truly ceases. Whether you’re super-structured or a relaxed homeschooler, what matters is how your children learn best and it’s up to you and the Lord to determine how to make it all work.
Got curriculum? There’s a plethora of choices out there. We are eclectic. I don’t use a boxed or canned curriculum. I know there are some great ones out there, but we’ve always preferred to choose each subject curriculum individually according to the learning style of our daughter and how we think it’ll work best for our family. We use a lot of living (whole) books and we love it. But you certainly need to choose what works best for your child(ren).
Whew! Ten years of homeschooling under my belt. I think I’m supposed to be one of those veteran homeschoolers now. Believe me, you’ll always have questions. I still do. That’s what makes homeschool groups, co-ops, and blogs like this so invaluable. It’s sort of like being a Titus 2 woman and for everything there is a season. They’ll be someone to mentor you, and someday it’ll be your turn to mentor or at least a chance to bless someone else. And often, you don’t even know you’re doing the blessing. It’s just a small conversation or comment that leaves a lasting impression. That’s so cool and so God!
Last year when I uttered the words “my daughter is starting high school”, I was momentarily speechless. A rarity for me, I must admit. Memories flit through my brain of sitting snuggled on the couch reading books from FIVE-IN-A-ROW and doing the super cool activities that go along with that literature-based unit study. I remember we built a light house and then went into the bathroom with a flashlight to light it up. That rocked!
My daughter remembers so many books, lessons, and special memories from those times, and it warms my heart that we re-share them together through precious discussions. Not long ago, she told me that she loves homeschooling and that I’ve been a great teacher. Aw. While I must most certainly admit, if there’s anything good in me – it’s Jesus Christ, it still made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But for the grace of God I am able to complete the tasks He sets before me.
Now that I’ve survived the 4-H County Fair, it’s time to get geared up for the new year. So as another summer begins to come to an end and the start of a new school year is about to begin, excitement builds. We get out the new stuff we purchased. I plan, organize, and then we shop for any last minute needed supplies. I feel almost giddy.
My thoughts were to share a little about our homeschooling, but mostly to show you that everyone does homeschooling a little differently. Instill a love of learning in your child and the possibilities are endless. Make it interesting and fun when you can, and when the lessons come that are boring or tedious (and you will eventually have some of those)….well, that’s a life lesson. There’s times in life that we all have to do things that aren’t always fun. If you have your child’s best interest at heart, it’ll all work out. Maybe not always in the way you expect, but some of the biggest blessings are unexpected.
I could go on, but I’m supposed to keep it at around 500 words. I guess I need to wrap this up as I’m at 899. That’s not too bad, I told you I LOVE to talk about homeschooling.
I am a Christian, wife, homeschooling mom, and writer. I live in Kansas with my husband, teenage daughter, and my daughter's two dogs. I love people, but come to think of it, I’ve rarely met a carbohydrate that I didn’t like either. I write inspirational romance and freelance. You can visit me at my blog at http://susanhollaway.blogspot.com.