Here are the kids "doing" school at the kitchen table (the deck is in the background). This accounts for a very small portion of our day and often isn't how we school at all.
Kim C., over at Life in a Shoe, posted yesterday (along with three other moms) about homeschooling. Hearing how others approach schooling is informative and in my case (hearing Kim and the others) a relief. You see my children do not spend copious amounts of time in front of workbooks and text books and we don't currently use any set curricullum. We, like the Coughlans, use a "real life" approach to schooling.
When we first started schooling, I used Alpha/Omega's Horizons. I used the Kindergarten for my first three children but not my fourth. I used the first and second grades for my first two daughters but not for my son. For my oldest's third grade we tried Alpha/Omega's Switched on School House computer schooling. I know this is what the Duggar family uses and it works well for them but it did not work well for us. Thus ended our "official" curricullum usage and we moved to picking and choosing pieces of what works best for us. We also have moved away from from a formal school format to "real life". School is 24/7 all year round. Just because we aren't in front of a text book or sitting around "doing" school doesn't mean my children aren't learning.
I suppose I should state our purpose and goals for homeschooling. We want children that are 100% sold out for God. Children that think totally different from the world. We want our children to seek the Kingdom first and foremost: To be Godly men and women. We are not raising children to be rocket scientists or to contribute to the country's GNP. Our children are not being trained to be cogs in world's wheels but to be instruments of God. We are training our children that a simple family life is a noble goal. I guess it comes down to training over schooling. We are home training.
We are not expecting or even wanting our children to go to college. Going to college is something the world tells us we must do. If the Lord leads any of our children in that direction then we will follow but at this time regular college is not a concern. I do expect our children will choose further training in areas that interest them: Trade schools, internships, online classes or further practical home study etc. Our current direction for our girls (open to change from the Lord) is that they will first and formost be keepers of the home, help meets to their husbands, and mother's of Godly children.. Secondly that they will have the skills of a Proverbs 31 woman with an entreprenuerial mind and strong work ethic.
For our son we want him to be able to support his future family but not be a slave to the work world or corporate environment. We want him to think like an entreprenuer. We desire him to lead his family in a Godly manner with a strong work ethic. Wow, there is so much more. It really is impossible to get it all down. I'm not sure I'm doing it justice.
Currently we use a comprehensive curricullum work book (by school specialty publishing group) or Scholastic's success with grades series for language arts and math. (We pick these up at Costco around August. They are inexpensive and give us a general overview of basic skills) These provide our children with the basic knowledge they need but doesn't bog them down with useless busywork. I also use the "what your grader needs to know" series of books to help guide me through history/geography and science. These are guides not text books. We do use t.v. as a schooling tool. Something like the "Little Chocolatiers" inspired my children to learn to make candy and contemplate running a candy biz. We studied health codes, biz plans, took field trips to see how local candy shops are operated and made a lot of candy using cooking, math and science skills. Mostly we are teaching our children life skills and training them in the skills needed for adulthood not just school knowledge. I'm going to stop here for this post and follow up tomorrow with our "schedule" so you can see how school is a lifestyle.
I had so many thoughts in my head as I wrote this that I don't even know if it makes sense to any of you. Please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts or concerns. It may be that I didn't touch on something or wasn't clear enough etc. and do follow the links in this post. Others have written more clearly on this matter.