Our family is beginning to homeschool and we’re taking tiny steps. It has been just over a week but we’re learning so much already.
One morning last week, I heard Owen blurt out in his sleep our memory verse, “Joshua 24:15”. It was as clear as day. I rushed to open my phone’s camera hoping to get a video of him but I was too late. He didn’t say out the whole Bible verse but that experience spoke a lot to me, most especially about our decision to homeschool.
This little one blurted out “Joshua 24:15” in his sleep 😍 #morningmusings Deciding to homeschool Owen was not an easy decision to make. There were a lot of internal and external factors that were affecting us as a family and some people around us still don’t understand and believe its concept. But in these little moments, even in Owen’s sleep, I realize that our decision to homeschool is indeed the best. I’m also learning in the process…and because of what I witnessed and heard this morning, my prayer is that may I be like Owen when it comes to God’s word – that I will be able to meditate on it day and night ❤ (Joshua 1:8) #owengabriel #homeschooling
Homeschooling is a fairly new concept to our family. Since both my husband and I attended regular school, transitioning to this new way of learning has been a challenge – internally and externally. We still have a lot of questions (e.g. how will Owen learn socialization skills, who’s the best homeschool provider, what kind of curriculum to apply, etc) but after more than a year of praying, reading and attending seminars about homeschooling, we finally decided to test it out.
Beginning to Homeschool: Crafting our Mission, Vision and Core Values
Several friends from church have influenced us to homeschool. And they told us to start by establishing our Mission-Vision-Core Values statement. At first, I felt that it was such a tedious task to do. I never thought it to be so important because the excited mom in me wants to dive in right away and “do lessons” with Owen. But after reading and exploring about homeschooling and the vast resources now available online, I finally realized the need to have our Mission-Vision-Core Values statement crafted. Writing down your family’s mission-vision-core values statement will help you see homeschooling through a lens. This will help you pick out the curriculum, lessons, provider, and activities that will truly benefit your family and achieve your goals.
One of the resources that I found really helpful was Donna Simpao’s blog series for first time homeschoolers. She carefully laid out the basics when it comes homeschooling here in the Philippines and I really love her blog post about writing the mission-vision statement. Go check out her blog if you’re a first time homeschooling family like us.
30-Minute Circle Time
After we’ve written our family’s homeschool mission-vision-core values statement, the next thing that I did was to informally start giving lessons to Owen. By informal, what I mean is we’re mostly doing playschool setup at home.
Our sit-down sessions or circle time last for just 30 minutes. We do prayer, read-aloud, playing puzzles and games, singing, phonetics and memorizing Scripture. Each subject, as you may call it, would last for a brief 5 minutes.
For now, our setup is not too rigid since he’s still very young. And I’m also following his cues to make sure that learning is awe-inspiring to him. The rest of his day would be spent playing, watching some TV and learning other life skills. To reinforce what we learn during our sit-down sessions, I would pop questions to Owen several times during the day about our “lessons”.
In terms of our curriculum, our family is drawn to Charlotte Mason’s approach to education. I love Charlotte Mason’s emphasis on the child as a person and learning from the environment they’re in. Charlotte Mason also emphasized on delaying giving formal lessons to children until they’re around 6 years old. She said to give children (and us, parents) a quiet growing time. And to use the preschool age/period to instill good habits instead of outright teaching academics. I’m also mixing in a bit of Montessori because I’ve observed that Owen likes the sensorial approach when it comes to learning.
It has been more than a week of trying out a routine of sit-down circle time with Owen. And I must say that it’s working good. Owen looks forward to these sessions. He would even volunteer to go to his room to take out the puzzles and pick the books we’re going to read aloud. When I can’t attend to him yet, he would role play to be the teacher. He would take out our alphabet chart, gets a pencil to be used as a pointer and asks me the sound of the letters. He does this in the morning after breakfast while I wash the dishes. It’s so cute and it excites me that he wants to learn.
We are just beginning our journey in homeschooling. I know that it’s not going to be rainbows and cookies everyday. But in just a span of one week, it’s not just Owen who have learned so much. Because I did, too.
First, I learned I had to deal with my heart issues first. Issues like pride, lack of discipline, gentleness, etc. I cannot teach Owen to be a humble and teachable person if I, myself, is full of pride. I cannot teach him to be diligent and persevering, if I lack discipline. And I cannot teach him to be gentle if I’m harsh. It’s tough to face these heart issues. But I cannot deal with my child’s character issues unless I let the Lord deal with mine, first.
Second, I learned to treasure God’s Word. I started this year with a goal to read the Bible and spend quiet time with the Lord everyday. But I haven’t been able to do so on a daily basis. I can enumerate a ton of excuses why I wasn’t able to do it regularly. But when I heard Owen blurt out our ABC Scripture in his sleep, I felt again that deep longing for God’s Word. My prayer that morning was that, just like Owen, I’ll be able to meditate on God’s Word morning and night (Joshua 1:8).
And lastly, I learned to focus. In today’s interconnected world, there are a lot of things that “demand” our attention. There’s the internet, there’s the TV, household chores and business projects. Add to that our family and friends, our spouse, our children and even our pets. We cannot simply multitask. I learned that it won’t get us anywhere and it gives us a false sense of accomplishment. We’re just doing a lot of things without actually finishing them. I think moms can agree to this. As I’m writing this sentence, Owen’s room re-organization is still unfinished. Anyway, my point is, I learned the importance of giving my son undivided attention. For that moment, I need to put my phone away, set aside my to-do lists and just focus on the time that we have together.
Our homeschooling journey has just begun and we still have a long way to go. I’m excited to see what will unfold ahead. It is my prayer that in this journey, our family will get to know and love God deeper as we learn together.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.