Monday, March 31, 2008

Our Homeschooling Journey

Sisterlisa is hosting a monthly "Share Your Faith Carnival."  The first one is a homeschooling edition.  She asked readers to share their testimony about how God led them to decide to homeschool.  We have been homeschooling our kids for about 9 years now….more accurately over 14 years now :) .  Let me explain…

Our oldest daughter will turn 15 this July.  We have taught our kids the things of the Lord since birth (we sang to them songs about God and read to them Bible stories, etc.)  My husband and I are very protective  parents :) ….wanting to protect our kids from the things of the world.  We first heard (before we had kids) about "homeschooling" from my husband’s aunt who homeschooled her 2 girls (using ABeka).   Those girls were sweet and well-behaved.  We were impressed to say the least :) .  Another incident was when we visited a church, a topic of "homeschooling" somehow came up and we were very interested.  I have always loved to read to my kids and books are ever present in our home.  I also took my daughter to "Story Time" at our local library almost every week when she was little.  On one occasion, I noticed a meeting of homeschoolers in a room at the library.  I was curious and asked someone there if I could watch what they were doing.  They invited my daughter and me into the room.  They were having some presentation given by homeschooled kids.  I was hooked :) .  I became a part of their group even though my daughter was just three.  Then when she turned five, we had to make a decision about school.  I was pregnant with our second child.  At the time, we lived really close to an elementary school and we had heard so many good things about a Kindergarten teacher there who’s a Christian.  We decided to give it a try (besides, it was only a half-day kindergarten).  I walked my daughter to her school and went to pick her up every school day and went on field trips with her.  She had a wonderful experience.  At the end of her kindergarten year, we moved to another nearby city.  Just prior to that, we had an opportunity to get to know a homeschool family at the church we were attending.  The Lord used the mom from that family to encourage me tremendously.  She showed me what kinds of books/curriculum they used and let me borrow some books about homeschooling.  My husband and I talked and prayed about "homeschooling".  Finally, we decided to give it a try.

Umm…it didn’t start out so well because my daughter is very strong-willed and a perfectionist.  However, we’ve kept trusting the Lord for strength and guidance, trying hard not to lean on our own understanding :) .  Then when she was in second grade, we moved back to our old location (close to her kindergarten school).  My second child was about 2 years old and he was a high-maintenance toddler (requiring lots of attention).  My husband and I discussed and prayed about whether to put our daughter in that same school in the middle of her second grade.  We felt that "being homeschooled" was a privilege; if she was not appreciating it and was not cooperative, then she needed to go to school.   We gave her a "3 strikes and you’re out" deal.  She blew it :( .  We kept our word and put her in school.  I (and my son in stroller) walked her to school, walked to school to eat lunch with her, and walked to pick her up after school.  In her class, she was way more advanced (academically)than the other kids; her teacher had to find extra stuff (worksheets, projects) to keep her occupied in class.  I personally witnessed many horrible mouths and attitudes of young, elementary students in the cafeteria during lunch hour.  My daughter often had a stomach ache because she felt rushed in the morning to get ready for school.  Then there was a boy who kept bothering my daughter during music class.  My daughter told his teacher (he was from a different class) but she didn’t do anything about it.  When I confronted the teacher about this, she said, "He’s usually a good kid."  I couldn’t believe my ears. She defended him, instead of my daughter (the victim).  That same boy was then very rude and disrespectful to me outside the school when we were walking home.  My husband and I pulled our daughter out of that school the next day!  One of the best decisions we’ve ever made :) !

Since then we have been homeschooling our kids (the two boys have never been to school).  Our daughter learned her lesson and has been thankful for  "being homeschooled" ever since.  The Lord has greatly blessed her and helped her use her strong will for His glory.  She has blossomed into a beautiful, Godly young lady.  Our homeschooling journey has been through some bumpy roads; however, we enjoy traveling along experiencing all kinds of adventures and collecting all kinds of precious memories.  Best of all, we have the Best Navigator (God) and the best map/GPS (the Bible).  We are truly thankful to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to homeschool our kids.  I listed many benefits/reasons when I shared a piece of my mind on why I homeschool.  In summary, by God’s grace…we’re Christ-centered, Bible-based, mission-minded, family-bonding, character-building, & life-long learning homeschoolers. We cherish our togetherness; we enjoy learning and growing together as the Lord leads us.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun."  Psalm 37:4-6

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Around the World

On Wed. , March 12th, at our co-op, we had an Around the World Geography Fair.  My 9 year old son did Switzerland and my 6 year old son did Japan.  Other countries that were presented include Vietnam, North Korea, France, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  It was a fun learning experience for all.
We learned that Swiss cheese (called "Emmentaler" in Switzerland) is left to ferment for over 4 months.  It makes carbon dioxide that forms into bubbles (holes).  In Oregon, there’s a mountain called "Matterhorn" which we believed was named after the Matterhorn in Switzerland (famous for the many climbers who have died trying to climb it).  Did you know that Lindt and Toblerone chocolate are from Switzerland?My 6 year old son enjoyed origami and he also wrote a haiku about Mt. Fuji.

Snowy Mt. Fuji
Pretty dormant volcano
Japan’s tallest peak