Monday, February 8, 2010

The Blog Cruise - Keeping up with the Joneses

I am talking about how to know that your kids are keeping up with other kids their age in school. That could be the Joneses from down the street or the Homeschooling Joneses. We don't worry about either at our house. We don't compare one child in our family to another child in our family and we definitely don't compare them to other homeschoolers, public school kids, or private school kids.

Each child, no matter where they go to school, has strengths and weaknesses. We need to support and encourage them in the things they are interested in, their strengths, to find what they want to do in life.

I do not usually even test my kids. Rachel was tested with a standardized test when she was in 3rd grade. The tests showed just the weaknesses and strengths I already knew were there, things we were continuing to work on. My boys took standardized tests this year as part of the TOS Reveiw Crew. Those tests showed just what I thought, I have smart children. I would have thought that with or without the tests. The boys strengths are different than the girls strengths. Each child's strengths are different.

I have never tried to compare our curriculum, our choices for homeschool, with the public schools. Why would I want to homeschool and then copy what I feel is a wrong way to educate my children. We do not do "school" at home. We educate our children and expect them to do their best. For instance, in Math we want them to not just do a lesson and then move on but to correct their errors and learn from their mistakes so they make less errors on the same type of problems in the future. We want them to learn and not to just pass the quiz or test. We want them to enjoy learning and know how to find information for themselves and how to learn on their own.

We also do not compare how we educate to how other homeschool families do it. Comparing makes kids feel like they don't measure up and so they are trying to be like someone else instead of the way God made them. What my kids need may not be what your kids need. The way you choose to teach will not be the way we choose to teach. No homeschool family is the same. Even if we use the exact same curriculum our homeschools would not look the same. Not only do the kids need and learn differently but Mom has different strengths and ways of teaching that have an impact on the homeschool environment, too. That does not mean that I am not open to knew ways of homeschooling or new curriculum. I evaluate things all the time. Being on the TOS Crew this year has shown us a lot of new products. Some of which we liked a lot and fit our family great. Other things were not such a great fit. We have done the same thing over the years. I have purchased books and curriculum that I thought would be just what we needed, and ended up with the kids and I hating it, and selling it. That is one other good thing about homeschooling, what doesn't work for us may work for someone else and so they will buy it from me at the used book sale our support group has.

So that sorta brings us back to last weeks question on what to teach. We have goals for our children. We have things that we feel are a priority. My husband and I take time each summer to discuss curriculum choices before we buy. We have specific goals for every year we homeschool but especially for our high-schoolers. I highly recommend Barb Shelton's Senior High: A Home Designed Form*U*La. You can purchase it here at Rainbow Resource or go to Barb's site... she has a lot of extra's, too. This will help you make decisions about how you want your homeschool high-schooler's experience and classes to be, how to make your own transcripts and how to plan each class you want your student to do. I love this book and am using it for the third time. It really frees you to make homeschooling, and particularly high school, the way you think it should be and not just following the world's system.

Our education is God centered. We want them to have knowledge of how God works in this world in HIStory (His story) and in Science, as well as in the other subjects we teach. We, also, add real life learning to the requirements for education, too. Including: Home and Life Management (cooking, meal preparation, cleaning, home maintenance and repair, car maintenance and repair, and some other things), Building Life Relationships (reading about, and hopefully applying, having sibling relationships, reading about and listening to stuff on courtship and things that strengthen all relationships like the book Peacemakers by Ken Sande and the Peacemaker for Kids program (here is the Peacemaker website), and Educational Foundations (studying homeschooling, reading about homeschooling, listening to homeschool conference tapes and attending homeschool conferences. I want my kids to homeschool their kids so I am educating them on the importance of homeschooling. It also enriches their high school experience to read about homeschooling while they are homeschooling. It makes them appreciate their homeschool experience even more.) We also have them doing a computer class, typing, and consumer math, too.

I hope you enjoyed this post and will check out the other posts the TOS Homeschool Crew will have posted. Many crew members will be posting on this same subject. You can check out all the links on this topic by going to the Crew Blog, the links will be posted tomorrow. You can also go to the Crew Facebook page by clicking on the links in the scroll bar to the right.



Annette said...

Good explanations of what and how you do it!

hubby said...

Really good post and great explaination of our homeschooling views. Love Ya... hubby

Jodi said...

I enjoyed your post and thoughts on this question Debbie! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on mine:) Isn't it wonderful how homeschooling can give our kids a unique education experience they'll never get anywhere else?


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