I'm not quite sure how it happened. And yet, here I am. Staring at small stacks of beautiful and fresh curriculum books. It makes me want to sharpen pencils. And, I don't know, recite the Pledge of Allegiance or something.
I've hinted very briefly at the fact, but today, I'm finally coming out.
Y'all. We're officially home schoolers.
I know. How predictable. A farming family who's “going back to the land”, with all those kids, deciding to homeschool?!?
Hardly breaking news. Someone grab me a bonnet! But I think there's good reason so many in our circles find themselves doing the same.
We live amidst the most wonderful classroom ever created.
This type of lifestyle, this homesteading, lends itself perfectly to teaching. The opportunities are endless.
Want to learn basic math? Easy. Let's count the eggs and record them for the day.
Want to learn algebra? Perfect. Let's calculate how much hay we need for winter. Or how many pounds of chicken we've harvested and how long that will last us.
Want to learn to read and write? Let's read and write about the farm. Let's read about the animals that we raise and the trees that we grow. Let's read the back of the seed packets and write in our gardening journal. Let's immerse ourselves in great literature of our choosing.
Want to learn history? Let's study old agrarian practices and learn through literature.
Want to learn science? Are you even KIDDING ME? Let's talk about seasons. About bugs. About compost. About birth. About salt. About anatomy. About plants. About fruit. About dirt.
Want to learn about the birds and the bees? Frankly, that one sorta teaches itself around these parts…
This is it. This is what I want to teach my children.
I've never been one that adheres well to schedules where someone is telling me what I have to do and when. I guess that's one of the reasons I love being an blogger and entrepreneur. I like to feel inspired and do things on my own time. Schooling is very much the same.
Now that Stuart is only working part time (he's also attending graduate school in Classical and Christian Studies), he covers a lot in the morning with Miss Thing. Both she and Owen help him feed, water, and care for all the animals. Then, Georgia helps me make breakfast. After that, she'll prepare her schooling and we'll work on what we feel like working on.
Sometimes it's phonics.
Sometimes it's writing.
Sometimes it's reading “The Language of Flowers” or “Alice in Wonderland”.
Sometimes it's listening to Daddy play the guitar and dancing along.
I mean – come on – the girl is 5. She shouldn't be sitting in a classroom 8 hours a day. And so, instead, we fill our days with farm chores, gardening tasks, food preservation, cooking, lots of reading (a large variety of books!), and playing.
Georgia and Owen have established a colony on the farm they call “Nutwag”. Nutwag is a gathering place where they linger for hours – gathering sticks, stones, bugs, and chicken feathers. They'll pretend they're dinosaurs. Or chase the pups around the property. They make mud pies. Fight. Hop into the piglet's pen. Dig trenches in the wood chip pile. Ya know. Nutwag stuff.
After Nutwag time, the littlest Elliotts find their way to nap time (after a good scrubbing) and Georgia and I hang out to practice our French.
No – I don't speak French. But I want to. So what better way to learn? It's been a fun undertaking with Georgia and I'm continually amazed at how quickly she picks up the new vocabulary. Sometimes it involves audio CDs. Other times it includes coloring. And even other times, it includes turning on ‘French Cafe' while we straighten the house.
I say all this not to ramble, but to demonstrate the beautiful flexibility we're able to embrace with homeschool. We aren't on a schedule. We aren't filling our time with event after event after event.
We're living. We're memorizing scripture. We're reading. We're playing. We're learning. And we're tucking our little ones under our wings and teaching them along the way.
It may not be forever – I can't really say. But for right now, this is a beautiful addition to our full, farm lifestyle.
And for those interested, here's what we're vaguely using this year:
- BOB Reading Books (these too!)
- Charlotte Mason's Nature Study
- Professor Toto's French Curriculum
- Genesis to Malachi Covenantal Catechism, Harry Van Dyken
- Institute for Excellence in Writing, Beginning Arts of Language
- Burgess Animal Book
Wishing you and yours a blessed school year, whatever that may look like!