Last Monday, we began our family’s sixth year of home education. Things have changed since our rookie season. Back then, one child was homeschooling (second grade). One child was attending a local pre-k program, and our baby girl was one year old, happily coming along for the ride. I jumped into the classical method because I had friends using it. It also made a lot of sense to me, a former doctoral student in education. The classical philosophy meshed well with what I believed about learning, so we dove right in. We belonged to a small but inspiring little co-op that met in a fabulous botanical garden. It was positively dreamy.
Now, our home life–and thus, our educational atmosphere–looks quite different. We have four homeschooling students. This “school house” of ours contains a seventh grader, a fourth grader, a first grader, and a 3-year-old preschooler. We have a one-year-old daughter who complicates things while also helping us to keep a light, cheerful spirit and a humble perspective. While I still value many elements of a classical education, we have shifted into a Charlotte Mason style of learning and living. We live in a different state with a very different climate. We belong to a far larger co-op inside a lovely church.
So much change. But our love for learning at home remains strong. Some of our motivations are the same, and new ones have come.
Now we begin 2017-2018. I love planning a new year of books, activities, and exploration. I love that Charlotte Mason folks think of education as a “feast” with many tantalizing offerings to taste and enjoy. Isn’t that a terrific image as we approach education as a joy and an adventure?
I’m excited to have a preschooler again. His natural curiosity is delightful, and his growing hunger for books warms my heart. In week one, we read and played with Blueberries for Sal. This week, I’m offering him Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. I’m planning simply, low-preparation activity boxes to help keep him engaged while I attend to other kids, but I also hope to maintain the sense of fun as we dig into new stories.
Whether you are simply exploring homeschooling, continuing a year long schedule, or returning “back to school” as I am, I wish you peace, growth, and happiness on your journey.