When we began homeschooling fourteen years ago I’m not sure if I would have been able to tell you what our end goals were for pursuing this choice. I had a list of all the reasons we had currently made that choice, at that time. And, somewhere deep inside, I had a vision for my kids future persons, but in our initial years I had no concrete vision of our homeschool end goal WHY.
When we began I knew we were embarking for the long haul. As my children aged, and more babies came, and I found my way through the years of habit training and more habit training, I did, eventually, envision what I had in mind for my children as they aged out of the school years and walked into adult life.
Aside from graduating children who walked in our faith with understanding and purpose, and those who genuinely liked their siblings and family, graduating children who loved learning was my number one goal and priority.
We spent the first few years of homeschooling toiling away at the boxed curriculum. Still without the understanding that as homeschool mothers we are empowered to mold and create the learning environment that works for our individual children and family.
We cried our days through too much busywork and too many math problems and would come up for air sometime around late afternoon as daddy walked through the door. As a homeschool mother in a season of early years learning, nursing babies and chasing toddlers, I was drained and I wasn’t loving our days at home together.
Around year three or four there was a shift.
I was introduced to good, rich living books and education, as we had known it, began to change.
Suddenly history came alive.
Instead of forcing dry science facts and concepts all of our interest in the natural world began to blossom.
Sitting together on the couch while I read literature that would cause them to beg for ‘just one more page’ became a natural occurrence in our daily rhythm.
Eventually we walked into the years we’re told that really matter in the end. Those high school years where hours were to be spent over subjects our kids have no interest in but are needed for the credit count of graduation.
Or, are they?
As I listened to other mothers who shaped their teens education years a little differently I began to realize that just as I had wanted a love of learning to be held onto in the earlier years I also wanted that for my older childrens last years learning at home, too.
So, we began to think outside of the typical education box for our high school years.
What if in subjects they struggled in like math they were instead taught more practical applications like creating budgets and sticking to them?
What if instead of following a science credit plan that killed their internal learning fire we allowed them to pursue a topic that caused them to want to read another chapter?
What if history came alive as they read about our nations early years and then walked the steps of the buildings where our laws were created?
What if during their formative teen years instead of forcing our children into a societal box we allowed them to pursue subjects and topics that shaped them into adults who chased their passions, loved their future professions and caused them to want to continue learning even once their formal education years were passed? And so our vision for our teens was created. Instead of dry note taking our gifted artist drew, in detail, the human body while studying anatomy.
She read Plutarch, the Odyssey, Beowulf and Pilgrims Progress while listening to engaging lectures that stirred on her passion for reading and understanding instead of just killing it. When she was presented with an opportunity to submit an application to paint a mural on a local public school wall during her junior year that year became filled with research on project budgets, calculating the amount of each color paint that she would need for the wall space she was painting, all while networking with adults in our local community.
Her passions were being stirred rather than buried in heaps of dry learning that would cause a disdain for school to grow. The rest of the year was spent growing in knowledge about subjects and topics she was interested in rather than subjects that were just checking off a box on a master list that was created for the general public.
Senior year for our oldest, and freshmen year for our second daughter, provided them with an ever changing classroom as our family embarked on a year or two of full-time travel. PE is hiking miles in national parks. History is, in part, listening to ranger talks in our national parks system.
Cultural immersion happens as we spend time in new places every few weeks and we realize that from coast to coast the United States is vastly different in how each area operates. They walk through oversized rooms filled with art from artists we have read about in the past and is found in art museums in the new cities we visit.
They muddle their way through math, and a few other basics, but the majority of their time has been spent on growing their desire to continue on learning and in helping them understand that pursuing the interests that make them tick, and get excited inside, is what real education is about.
Now, when we go back to our Texas hometown to visit, we drive by the building sized mural our oldest painted during her junior year there is a reminder that high school is a gift of time given to find what you love to do, pursue those passions that have been ingrained in your inner being and tailor an education that is feeding a love of learning and growing instead of stifling it because someone created a master list meant for a general public and not our own individual children.
Here is some of the curriculum we use or have used or high school years:
Veritas Press Omnibus (Bible/theology, history history, literature/English) https://veritaspress.com/store/sp
Uncle Eric books for Civics
Dave Ramsey Personal Finance:
Cooking with Chemistry:
Sabbath Mood Scienice (Charlotte Mason science)
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