School of Momma

When I was a pregnant and teaching elementary school, people would ask, "So, since you're a teacher, are you going to homeschool your own kids?" And my response was always a quick eye roll and, "Are you insane?" I'm not sure why, really, but the picture in my head of a day spent homeschooling wasn't bliss. I admit, I had visions of a brood of children in long blue jean jumpers and hair braids reciting the Ten Commandments. Think the Duggars, with their 19 kids. I know, horribly stereotypical, sorry.

But now that we are planning to sail, I am getting excited about the flexibility and individuality that homeschooling offers. Elizabeth will be in first grade and Michael in preschool, so I think I can handle the content :) and I have had a blast daydreaming about what we'll learn. On our blissful days of homeschooling, I see us all hunkered down on the beach watching a crab walk sideways or all of us taking a hike to explore all the varieties of leaves we can find on a deserted island. On the uninspired days, I see us all in our pajamas, whining around the table "I don't want to practice handwriting, Mom, it's boring!" or "I don't like you being my teacher, you're mean." Yep, there will definitely be some ups and downs.

When I first realized homeschooling was inevitable, I encountered an overwhelming swarm of information, curricula, and theologies. Homeschoolers are very passionate about their decision, but I found that there is no "right" way to do it either. Families do what works for them. In Colorado, the law is that if you hold a state teaching license, you must only turn in a "letter of intent" to your county. So, the legal aspect of this endeavor turned out to be pretty simple for us. I just need to unfreeze my license that I put on hold when Elizabeth was born. Luckily, I still have over 300 days under that license, so I will not have to renew it for almost 3 years! Phew.

Choosing the curriculum was tough. I struggle personally with putting a ton of pressure on myself to be perfect and make the perfect choice every time. This caused a bit of a paralytic effect when I realized how many choices in programs there were! Yikes. I read through a great book that lead me through figuring out what our familyneeded based on our situation, my teaching style, and my kids' learning styles. This turned out to be a great place to start. Another book that really inspired me during my research was about the teaching philosophies of Charlotte Mason.

Then I looked through the specific programs that matched our criteria. Turns out Sonlight or Calvert were the best fits. After much research, I made a decision to be simple and cost effective. Although these two were great programs, I decided to step out on my own with the help of Elizabeth's current school. I met with the Vice Principal, and she offered to let me "borrow" the materials that I would need to teach the basics. Since their curriculum follows CO state standards and Elizabeth is familiar with the texts, this just made sense. She also let me meet with a First Grade teacher and ask her any questions I had. We even discussed becoming pen pals with her class next year!

The only things I will be officially adding to the studies are Spanish, Bible, and Music. Spanish for obvious reasons. Bible, because we need to learn our Ten Commandments (wink, wink). And Music, because I think it would be fun to have our very own traveling band! Okay, more than that, I think reading and playing music is a great skill for kids to learn early on. In addition, we will naturally learn about local cultures, science and geography of each place we visit. Mark will be teaching, too! He is looking forward to teaching the kids how to read charts and maps, how to check the engine, and all about the physics of wind.

So, instead of braids and jumpers it will be sun hats and swimsuits while we study together. It won't be perfect, but it will be us... together... simply living and learning as we go.


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