Last month I attended the CHEA (christian Home Educators Association) conference in Pasadena. They offer a one time one day free admission for parents with kids under 5. So a friend and i took advantage and went for the day. It was an amazing day, lots to learn and lots to think about in terms of home school for both pre-school and K-12.
My husband and I are pretty sure we want our kids to be homeschooled and hope to start Harv doing home school preschool (which is basically intentional play) early next year. & this month we are getting set up to do Tot School with him. Excited by the idea i wanted to learn more about what i was getting myself into so i was excited by the opportunity to attend the conference. I sat in 2 classes, the first on teaching bible, reading, writing, and arithmetic; the second on the record keeping and logistics of homeschooling and the third on literature for tots (this one was especially cool for my little one who loves to read!).
The Bible and the 3Rs course was very interesting. The point of the class was to learn to teach everything from the bible first. for example when your kids ask why do we need to learn geometry your response would be because God created these beautiful patterns and this way we can better understand and appreciate his creation. I love that because if we truly believe that God created all things as the bible teaches us then why would geometry be any different?
The instructor talked about how bible should be the first thing we teach and how it is the most important because what good is it if our kids know all the rest but don’t have faith. all the knowledge in the world isn’t going to the get them into heaven. She gave some realistic guidelines about what is an appropriate expectation of time to spend on bible for different age groups (your kindergartener isn’t going to spend 30min doing bible, they just don’t have the attention span for that).
The instructor went on to discuss the importance of learning the basics of math. She felt that it is better to take your time with the elementary math going slow to ensure that the kids really grasped the concepts before going on to advanced math. She gave a good schedule of what topics to teaching order that was alternative to standard curriculum. She pointed out that standard curriculum is intended for schools where a teacher needs to teach multiple kids who may or may not be on the same level at the same time but if you are homeschooling you have the luxury of working at your child’s pace and making sure they really understand the basic math which is going to get them through life.
The last topic she discussed was writing. She talked about how so many college kids in the country can’t write a decent paper. She expressed that as a college writing teacher she feels that it is best to spent the elementary years working on proper sentences. meaning more than the average “it was fun” but rather “it was fun because we saw blank and then we did blank”. Then spend junior high working on 5-7 sentence paragraphs, High school writing 5 paragraph essays. then if all goes good and your student is successful then you can spend their senior year working on thesis style papers.
I found the whole class really interesting and really challenged the style of curriculum i want to use as we begin kindergarten (even if it is still a few years off). But the class did confirm my desire to make bible the main focus of all we teach.
The last thought i want to leave you with on this class that i found inspiring was this… She said that when her children ever questioned a decision she made she would tell them she answers to God not them. that someday she will have to stand before God and if her kids stray as a result of a decision she made then she will have to answer for that. and so she is making the decision she felt God would have her make and if they didn’t think that was a decision God would have her make then they should pray for her. Pray for God to change her heart and mind.
And so i leave you with that for now.