So, I just ordered the last of my curriculum for next year. I am sure you all are anxiously awaiting to find out what we are doing in our homeschool for the 2010/2011 school year. But, first, let me explain something I feel the Lord showed me.
These past couple of years, we have been doing unit studies. As you know, we have enjoyed them very much. We have been able to do a lot more fun things together and I really believe the kids retained a lot of knowledge - in the history department. However, I was struggling with the other subject areas as I felt they were a bit weak. I LOVE history, so doing more research and doing the projects were not difficult. I am not gifted in the area of science and expounding on the prepared lesson plans (which seemed a bit unorganized) were difficult. English is my specialty and I know this was very weak in the curriculum I was using.
Another problem was the fact that I now had 2 younger children not old enough to really get involved with the unit study we were doing. I was doing things with them and that was fine, but running two studies was getting a bit stressful. Also making things hard was the fact that all of the kids had to be together at the same time to teach them our "together" school. If one child was out helping a friend or another one was in deep concentration over long-division, we lost a lot of time.
Most of all, I noticed that I spent most of my time doing school with my kids, leaving little time to minister to others or truly keep my home. Looking through Scripture, it was confirmed to me that my first priority as a mother is to manage my home and be a help to my husband. Where is it taught that the Proverbs 31 woman actually sat down all day and schooled her children? Her children learned how to be a wives (or what kind of wife to seek), how to work in business, how to minister to others by watching their mom and, I daresay, by working along-side her. She was a mom who loved and spent time with her children - but not just by educating them, no matter how creatively.
Sending my children to school is not an option. Yet, sacrificing ministry and the organizational management of my home is no option, either. My children need to be educated to make it in this world and to be a good testimony. They also need to see me ministering and minister alongside me in order to please God and to be a good testimony.
So, my answer? Textbooks. *GASP* Yes, I realize that textbooks are evil. They zap my children's love of learning. They aren't real life.
Let's face it. Even in unit studies, the kids know when we are doing school. No amount of projects and reading aloud is going to mask the fact that they are in school-mode. They still look forward to being "done" with school and having free time. As far as textbooks - I don't know, but it seems that I'm still picking up textbooks to learn how to do various things (ie: cookbooks, photography books, sewing books, etc). Textbooks seem to be a large part of my real life.
I realize that much of my time will still be spent educating my children. My older children will be able to read most of their material and figure it out on their own. I will do review questions with them, aide them in their writing projects, correct their work, etc. My younger ones will still require a lot of one-on-one with me. That's understanable. That's expected. However, I'm hoping that with the organization of textbooks I will have more time to do what I need to do - be a true help to my husband. Teaching our children is only one of the many ways I need to aide him. It is not the only way.
I want to spend more time teaching my children scripture. If you study the Bible, THAT is what parents are supposed to be teaching their children. I need to teach them what God wants from them - His Words, His principles, His love. I don't need to be concentrating on getting my children to love reading the classics. I need to be concentrating on developing their love for the Word. I don't need to teach my children every word of the Gettysburg Address. I need to memorize Scripture with them. I don't need to spend time developing their love of learning all things scientific, literary, etc. I need to develop their love for Christ and for others by ministering. That is what being a Christian mom is all about.
I've decided that I'm not a homeschooling mom. I'm a Christian mom who homeschools. There is a difference. The difference is in my priorities.