Now that I finally have sponsorship to attend the FPEA Homeschool Conference this year, I have been sitting at my computer screen for most of the morning just trying to figure out how to plan my days so that I get the most from this conference. It’s too bad I can’t multiply myself in order to get all of the information! There's so much information and I'm so hungry for the knowledge! But, I have to focus on which workshops will most apply to me and my family. This has forced me to think strongly about building the foundation of my children’s homeschooling.
It is difficult to sort through the throng of information that you get online regarding home education goals. It's impossible to get a clear and concise answer as to what my homeschool philosophy should be. After all, every family dynamic is different. Every family has different values and different things that are important to them and even different educational goals. So, I had to stop for a moment of looking through the workshops, and just meditate on my reasons for homeschooling. Which needs require attention now? What subjects am I most competent in? What do I want my children to get out of this experience?
From all that I have been reading, I know that during the first year there are adjustments that need to take place. During this first year it’s going to be all about relationship- getting reacquainted with my children, their learning styles, and strengths and weaknesses. One thing that I see a lot of people saying is to pace yourself, and take that first year to teach the subjects you are most knowledgeable in. I am also aware that after so long in public school, my children need time to get used to a new routine, getting to know mom as a teacher, and shifting their focus.
So here is what I came up with.
1. God is the most important missing element. I need to begin to teach my children how to have a relationship with God. We need to build a strong foundation in the Word and Christian values. How to pray, honoring God, reading the Word and also praise and worship need to be the cornerstone of our education. This means going back to some seriously fundamental things that I can admit I have neglected.
2. Reading and writing is important. My children need to strengthen their reading and spelling. These are subjects in which I naturally excel. Therefore, it stands to reason that this is my starting point. We need to work on phonics, letter sounds, pronunciation, and spelling. I think I may as well link in handwriting, since both my school-aged children have handwriting that shows a serious lack of care.
3. My children have a thirst for science. They are eager to have more hands-on science since they are not allowed too much science exploration in school. This may be a good opportunity to tie in biblical worldview by teaching about creation, plants, animals, and maybe even some simple physics and/or chemistry.
I have to say that after putting these things in perspective and writing them down, I was able to get a much better idea of which workshops suited my needs. The choices became much clearer and my day is now laid before me with the clarity I needed. Now, to figure out what to wear..