“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
I had the privilege of homeschooling my wonderful daughter for ten years–from four-year-old kindergarten (even though she was only three) through eighth grade. As an elementary teacher, I could see her hunger to learn and I hated to deny her the opportunity. I didn’t want to wait around and let that spark of excitement for learning fade away. Homeschooling came naturally and I gave it my all to make it as much like “real” school as possible. Yes, some days flowed easier than others, but overall it was a delightful time with my daughter.
Kindergarten and first grade were my favorite years. I created a schedule for our day so she would have the security of knowing what to expect and when. I made sure to do all the fun stuff of kindergarten–prayer to start the day, the Pledge of Allegiance, calendar, weather, reading, math, crafty things, show and tell, bringing “friends” to class, and taking advantage of the out-of-the-ordinary opportunities like baking, shopping, gymnastics, volunteering, and so much more. Her daddy got to be the principal and he was a nice one.
I wanted to make Abby’s school experiences extra special. While I pondered what that might look like, the Lord kindly inspired Abby to choose several of her stuffed toys and dolls to be classmates. You may recognize Philip and Beast, two of my most regular students, from the story, Beauty and the Beast. Belle often attended as well–looking remarkably like my daughter. Abby, was very serious about her roles. When I called all names for attendance, if I forgot and called “Abby”, she would not answer since “Abby” wasn’t there. It made each day unique–especially with only one real student. I regularly called on the other “students” to answer questions and read passages (which Abby would do for them–even to the point of making mistakes–on purpose). She got a lot of experience reading out loud and received lots of praise for doing a good job (or not) as each other student’s representative.
My most delightful memory occurred the day I left Abby in charge of the “class” of 12 stuffed animals (aka classmates). I went downstairs to fix lunch and asked her to make sure the class worked quietly and independently. A couple of minutes after leaving the schoolroom, she stuck her head around the corner and reported, “Mom, Philip is copying off Roberto’s paper!” I chuckled at her creativity. I went back to the room to tell Philip, “Philip, copying is wrong and you should not cheat. Please make better choices in the future.”
If you are contemplating homeschooling, I would like to suggest you take the chance. You can determine, after a semester or two, if it is working for you and your child. Once you catch your stride, it flows remarkably well for even the most inexperienced moms. In, Homeschooling With Pizazz – Getting Started, I will give you a few more details to create a smooth beginning. Be sure to check back on Friday.
If you have been entertaining the idea of homeschooling, what is holding you back? Maybe it’s a God idea!