With the exception of a few initial hiccups, we homeschooled our children from the beginning when our oldest started kindergarten.
We faced the same trials many homeschoolers face: “is this crazy?,” fighting doubts over “socialization,” wondering if we were doing enough, being tossed here and there by various approaches, struggling to stay off every curriculum bandwagon that passed our way, meeting the challenges of handling criticism for our choices, making time to get it all done, homeschooling through deaths in the family, illness and moves. While there were admittedly a few ups and downs, we wouldn’t trade the journey for anything. The Lord used our adventure to grow our family closer Him and to each other. We are truly blessed!
Our focus at HomeHearts has always been on homeschooling from the heart. While we realize there are as many different ways to homeschool as there are families who homeschool, we are partial to those approaches that appreciate the uniqueness of each child, allow them to grow as individuals at their own rate, and above all do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8).
We believe that learning is a lifelong endeavor. Therefore, we favor the natural methods of educating. Some of the elements of natural learning include:
- Providing an environment that is conducive to learning.
- Modeling learning as a lifestyle.
- Taking advantage of every learning opportunity.
- Providing an individualized education.
- Going at the child’s pace.
- Presenting a concept when it is most relevant to the student.
- Letting a student practice his core skills on topics of interest.
- Providing a broad education — the world is the classroom!
- Keeping it simple.
For example, one of the easiest ways to simplify a curriculum is to understand the difference between skill subjects and content subjects. Fundamental skills should be the focus in the early years in particular. During this time, a young student can practice reading, writing, and thinking on the content subjects that are not as critical at this stage (science, history, art, etc.).
Another example comes from the area of language arts. Some publishers include spelling, grammar, writing, vocabulary, reading workbooks — all for one grade! Dr. Ruth Beechick had this right: learn to write, write. Encourage your child to write every day. In the process he is learning grammar, spelling, and vocabulary skills right along with writing skills. Of course, he will need input to create the output. Therefore, at the same time he should be reading — a great deal — and practicing his reading and thinking skills.
Dr. Beechick was a skilled curriculum developer and home educating advocate. She knew parents had the ability to teach their children, but thought THEY needed to know that. So she provided books, articles, and more to show the way.
Along with books by Dr. Beechick, we also recommend a few other gems for those looking to provide their child with a learning lifestyle:
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
This book was foundational for understanding what education can be and it had a tremendous impact in our home.
Beyond Survival by Diana Waring
Subtitled A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling, this one is a fun and inspiring look at a learning lifestyle in action.
If you are just getting started, you might appreciate our Step-By-Step Guide or our Help for New Homeschoolers series.
If you have been educating at home for a while, you might appreciate our Summer School for Mom series where you’ll find lots of ideas and tips to get you thinking, resources to encourage you, and other helps that will have you fired up and ready to go when school starts up again in the fall!
Our Recommended Resources list those books that we can highly recommend to those interested in education, and educating at home in particular. There is a great deal to learn, and we are only better when we continually educate ourselves. And though many of these resources are becoming increasingly hard to find, we stand by them nonetheless.
Finally, the greatest thing to remember when it comes to educating at home is that success will not be measured by how much our children know, but by who they are.
HomeHearts has been on the web since 2001. That is a long time! We started DIYHomeschooler.com in 2011 as a place to offer tools that complement a natural learning lifestyle. You’ll find books, how-tos, activities, book and unit studies, guides, finds from around the web, and other practical resources that will help you celebrate the art of educating at home there.
Is there is something you would like to see added? Send us a note. We love feedback!
Enjoy your stay!