How do I homeschool?
Essentially, how I desire to educate my children centers on a single verb: inspire. It comes from Latin in, meaning "in" and spirare, meaning "to breathe." Inspire literally means "to breathe into." I cannot help but think of Genesis 2:7 as God breathes the breath of life into Adam, and he became a living soul. That is what I desire for my children in their education and I seek daily to inspire them, to breathe life into them.

In the ideal, I believe that education should flow naturally from the home. "School" should be an integral part of family life and something the entire family is involved with. As such, we do not divide up subject matter by age group. My children are 8, 4, 2 and 3 months but the older three are all directly involved in our studies. I seek to teach as Christ did, a sort of tutorial method in which I provide the model and challenge the hearts and minds of our children through our lessons. As Carole G. Adams so aptly describes in The Christian Idea of the Child,
As teacher, the Principle Approach methods, curriculum, and philosophy of education allow us the liberty and creative expression to satisfy the real needs of our students in a whole way. We see each child as an individual of infinite value, made in the image of God and worthy of our respect. We see the tutorial needs of students, that each one as an individual is entitled to his own learning style and instruction, that every child can be elevated to a worthy standard. We see that our students need to produce, not consume only--express themselves in the arts, music, drama, and athletics, developing every talent, exercising their whole potential.
As the "inspirer," my role is not so much to deliver instruction and ensure mastery of a specific subset of academic standards. It is to help develop connections and promote ownership. It is to test the soil of her heart and plant the seeds accordingly. We record our learning in our notebooks, look more deeply into topics when we can and try to ask as many questions as we answer.

While we emphasize basic skills, the goals of education go well beyond that. Education has essentially four points: enlightening the understanding, correcting the temper, forming the manners and habits of youth and fitting the child for his or her future station. It is about the whole child, and very much about developing character.

I am the tutor, the one who is inviting my children to come alongside me, the one who is inspiring them to live more intentionally, more reflectively and more God-honoring. That frees us in a lot of ways. We do not use a formal curriculum. The only text books books we have are the workbooks from Singapore math. We explore subjects, discovering their roots and principles and what they mean for us today. Just look at all the time we have been able to devote to studying Australia and what never would be found in a standardized curriculum.

But it also makes one thing painfully clear. I have to be a better mom.

This post is part of Back to Homeschool Week being hosted by I have to say...Check out some more posts on the topic by following the links she is collecting over there.

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