I have been homeschooling my daughter for two years now after our wonderful Christian school closed it's doors due to the recent downturn in the economy. The Lord has truly blessed us during this time and it has been such a rewarding experience. Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to get to know my daughter again in a relaxed and unhurried setting. In addition, I have had plenty of time to model and instruct her in the areas of relationships, courtesy, home-making and service. Children can soak up so much from us when they have sufficient time with us for this to occur. Children who are in school full time are often hurried, stressed and just plain tired. It has been such a blessing to have my daughter at home where we can take life at a slower pace and "stop and smell the roses" every once in a while.
Another benefit of homeschooling is that there is plenty of time for music lessons, art enrichment classes, sports, etc...as these can occur during the day instead of always right after a long day of school. Due to the large amount of time we spend together, there is no question that I am the primary person of influence in my daughter's life right now, which I believe is biblical. That is not always the case when students spend 40 hours or more a week at school and in extra-curricular pursuits. They can be heavily influenced by teachers, coaches and their peers. ( I realize there are many Christian teachers and coaches who are wonderful influences on students, but, I believe parents should be the primary trainers of their children.) The opportunity for biblical training is another major benefit of homeschooling. Maybe even the most important benefit as we are instructed in scripture to train our children up in the Lord.
There are many philosophies and methods of homeschool education and families often use a variety of methods from traditional to theme or literature-based and everything in between. I have used mainly a traditional approach with my daughter which has worked out well. However, recently, a friend of mine told me about an open house for a program called "Classical Conversations". I am somewhat new to the idea of classical education, therefore I decided to attend the open house to find out more about this unique educational opportunity. Classical education is not a new idea, just new to me. It is an educational approach that teaches higher order thinking and reasoning skills and includes instruction in Latin, as well as, the study of classic literature. For me, the most important thing about "Classical Conversations"is that it is biblically-based with the goal being the development of a Christian worldview in the students. Apologetics is another feature of classical education, which means that students schooled in this philosophy should be able to defend and share their faith by the time they reach high school age.
Needless to say, I was very impressed with the program as presented at the open house. The teacher was wonderful, as well, and seemed to have a passion for this approach and for teaching in general. My daughter and I were sold on the idea and after a conversation with my husband ( well, more like a sales pitch...) and some prayer time...we enthusiastically signed on the dotted line. I will still be my daughter's primary teacher. She will only go to the program one day a week to get her assignments and receive lessons on the new material then we will work at home the rest of the week. I will let you know how it goes when she begins the program next school year.
When we began to homeschool we decided we would take it year-by-year and make decisions about schooling as the Lord would lead. We couldn't really for see all that God had in store for us or what new adventure lay just around the bend. Who knew we would be pursuing classical education? The Christian life is certainly an exciting life...as each of us travels our unique and personal walk of faith, we never know what God has in store!
An excellent resource for homeschooling is "Home School Enrichment Magazine". You can find them at www.homeschoolenrichment.com . This magazine has loads of great articles to help you in your homeschool journey and lots of Christian encouragement, as well. It has really been a great help to me these last couple of years and I always look forward to the next issue with great anticipation.
Please let me know if you have experience with the classical educational approach. Do you like it? What do you see as the pros and cons? I'd love to hear from you.