Sunday, August 27, 2017

Butler Academy: The Start of our Homeschool Journey

We (and by “we” I mean I) decided several years ago we were going to homeschool our kiddos. I feel like it has become increasingly more popular and more widely accepted,  but I do know there are still some misconceptions & negative connotations about it. To be completely honest, Jonathan wasn’t even fully on board in the beginning & was pretty hesitant to tell anyone when Jase was little. Thankfully he said he would support what I wanted in this particular area (since I’d be the one doing most of it) and it was never a fight. He just said he really enjoyed school and didn’t want our boys to miss out on anything. I respect that and agreed we could always reconsider after middle school if we felt led. (But for the record, over time he has come around and now is fully on board with us homeschooling. He even proudly tells people he’s the principal and PE teacher of Butler Academy. Ha!)

{I’ve had a few people ask me how I came to the decision to homeschool, so I’d be happy to share that with you in an email if you’re struggling with the decision.}

Now, I wish I could say the calling came without any reservations. Everyone assumes that because I have (a few- sigh!) degrees in education, this will be easy peasy. But it still feels very overwhelming! Homeschooling your own children is not at all like teaching in a public education setting. But, I know with His grace & lots of prayer, we’ll survive. Ha!

Jase just turned 4 years old in May, and pretty much everyone around us is starting their kiddos in pre-K. I saw everyone posting back to school pics & started to feel like “uh oh! we’re behind!” Once again, a great reminder that other people (and society as a whole) should never be our standard & I can’t fall into the comparison trap. God has equipped us with the wisdom to know what our children need & I believe He will fill in the gaps if we do our best to honor him in bringing them up. Thankfully several of my closest friends are also easing into the homeschool world, so that will mean we can all work together, give the kids plenty of social time, and most importantly encourage each other. I gotta feeling Imma need it.

After talking to a few friends about it, we decided to go with the Horizons curriculum for his first year. We are only doing a couple of broken up hours a few days a week & it is very flexible.

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We got a few puzzles, books, flash cards, magnets, and games (mostly in the dollar section at Target) to get us started. We ordered a 31 tote to keep everything in.

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My sister Tammie took the time to laminate all of the pages from our resource packet for us so we can reuse it. (Thanks, Aunt Tammie!)

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More than anything, I’m using this time to figure out the boys’ learning styles and preferences as I introduce new concepts. I feel like Jase already knows a good bit of what this year’s learning objectives recommends, so it’s really just reinforcing that & digging in to some of the Biblical stories and Scriptures. Jonathan really wants us to focus on teaching more common sense/problem solving, both of which I feel like come very naturally to him. And we also want to be intentional in pursuing teachable moments. For example, the other day I was making breakfast and Jase found a silver bowl that was reflecting light onto the ceiling. Jon stopped and explained to him how/why that happened. I think using our every day life and reading to them a lot is the best way to teach!

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Plus, boys need lots of time to be active too. It’s so good for their learning to be able to take frequent breaks and just RUN. (That’s part of why we’re looking for land- these boys need some room to stretch out!)

Kade is already in the mix too. He likes to sit and draw/color or sit in my lap and be read to, whereas Jase does NOT like to sit still to color (but will sit and build cool things with his magnets for hours). It’s interesting to see their differences and how interested Kade is in learning already. I made sure to get some things for him too, and he’s already so good at puzzles, etc.

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Honestly, this is not how I pictured us starting our homeschool journey. Living in a rental house with all of our stuff packed in storage. I figured we’d be in our own house by now and I’d have our “classroom” all set up. But, God is showing me once again everything doesn’t have to be “perfect” to be successful.

My theme for this year: GRACE. For all of us. Lots of flexibility as we figure this thing out. I know everyone is so different, so it’s really about finding what works for you and your child. And most importantly, keeping the main thing the main thing. My kiddos having a relationship with Christ is hands down the most important aspect of their “education” to me.

Every year I pray for all of the students, teachers, and school staff heading back into the school year. This year, all you homeschooling fams are on my list too! Hereeee we go!!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just wrote this long comment and it was deleted! Just in case you didn't get it.

Would you mind sending me an email explaining how you came to the home schooling decision? We have an almost 2 year old and baby 2 on the way. My husband and I have been going back and forth on homeschooling. We are believers and want to raise our children with a strong foundation and are not sure how we can do that while sending them to public/private school. We have several friends already putting their little ones at church pre schools twice a week so I feel like we need to make a decision soon! Haha. My email is alinabazyler@gmail.com

Kelley said...

Good luck mama! It sounds like you have a good start. I like the thought of homeschooling whenever that time comes for us. You will have to keep us updated on how the year goes! Praying for success.