Our family began homeschooling ten years ago. My oldest daughter was three, and I couldn’t wait to get started! We perused catalog after catalog, and I came to the conclusion that I wanted my children to learn through living books. I have always loved to read, and I wanted my children to catch the bug as well.
I also adored the Charlotte Mason method. It is defined as:
A method of education popular with homeschoolers in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits.
We purchased a complete curriculum from Sonlight and dove in. We used Sonlight for the majority of our homeschool until my oldest was in the third grade. That year I really began to be overwhelmed by the sheer time commitment involved. I had a third grader, a second grader, a kindergartener, and a 2 year old. I also had just started a home-based business. We decided to research other homeschooling options. I began looking at dreaded textbooks, which is something I said I would never use! I reluctantly purchased our first textbook curriculum about four years ago.
Our new arrangement has been going rather nicely. Sometimes I do not cover everything I would like, but our children are getting a well-rounded education. We feel like we are following God’s leading, and I usually do not compare our family to other families. A few days ago however, I learned of a new homeschooler in our community who has a kindergartener and a 2-year-old. Their family is “complete” with two children. I began thinking about teaching kindergarten to my oldest, and how we would sit on the couch and read for hours. Little hands would excitedly complete almost daily art projects. I would even pre-plan free play in order to integrate new concepts and vocabulary!
I felt a smidge of jealousy. Tears began to fall. These two children will most certainly learn more and receive more individualized attention than my children, I thought. My youngest children will never experience the things that my oldest children did educationally.
My sweet husband lovingly brought me back to reality. God has given us these children. He is sufficient. He will provide all that they need if we keep our trust in Him.
I am reminded that when I am weak, He is strong.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
Even when I feel like I’m not “covering” it all, I know that God will fill in the gaps. Though we do not have as much reading time and hands on activities in our home as before, my children are learning! We fill our home with books…I love searching thrift stores almost weekly for these precious finds. We visit the library frequently. We take local field trips as much as possible. Above all, we fill our homeschool with God’s truth.
I am now homeschooling a 8th grader, 7th grader, 5th grader, and a 2nd grader. I also have a three-year-old who wants to dive headfirst into “school,” and a 10 month old. I’ve cut back on my business, but that takes up some of my time as well. Our youngest children are learning so much by listening in on our older children’s school time, which is a huge blessing in disguise! We are using an eclectic mix of Christian Light Education, Rod and Staff, AOP Lifepacs, and Apologia Science this year. Our homeschool does not look exactly the way I had originally envisioned. But my children are learning God’s truth…with me as a guide…at home. I really cannot ask for anything more.