Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Educational philosophies...

Anna reading a book. And Kaitlyn taking things very seriously, as usual. :)

...make my brain hurt. Have you read any of this stuff? Charlotte Mason, The Well Trained Mind, Ruth Beechick, Dorothy Sayers, Delight-Directed Learning, oh my goodness. (The sick thing is, I actually find it interesting. I like reading about them. My poor husband, however, is probably tired of hearing terms like "classical education" and "living books.")

We've decided to homeschool Anna next year. This only after much thinking, reading, praying, vascillating, discussing, etc. etc. There is a GREAT program through a local public school district where Anna will attend school one full-day per week--next year it will be a wonderful kindergarten class, and starting in 1st grade, she'll get to choose her classes. The school offers a ton of fine arts including piano, violin, drama, choir, art, etc. Because it's through a public school district, there's no tuition fee or anything. (The school itself isn't public though, it's for homeschoolers.) Two of my dear blogging-turned-real-life-friends, Angela and Jennifer, have children who attend this school. I've gotten to know some of the teachers a little bit through a bookstudy I've attended, and they're wonderful.

I did not come to this decision lightly. I do have a few reservations about homeschooling, and I DON'T have too many reservations about public schooling. (Confusing, isn't it?) BUT, I think this will be a great fit for our family and for myself. My hope is to raise life-long learners who have fallen in love with the Lord and who understand God's story of the world He created. For us, at this point, I feel this is the way God is leading us to do it.

My main concern about homeschooling is that I really don't want my kids overly-sheltered from the world and the people that God loves so much. I feel a responsibility to pray about how God can use us and keep us from living in a Christian bubble. I also want to say that I do not take issue with the public school system or teachers, I think you can get a good education there, and ultimately education is about more than the textbook or lecture anyhow. My dad is a public schoolteacher, I have friends who teach in the public schools, and they all do an amazing job.

I'd really like to recommend the book Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School. (Yes, I know I'm not sending my kids to public school, but I really think it's important for anyone with school-age kids to read. It's inspiring and encouraging.) I'd posted before about the merits of public school, and I stand by what I said. This book is an excellent portrayal of the benefits of public schooling from a Biblical perspective. Read it!!!

ANYway, that's where we're at. I'm sure at some point I'll share more about how we arrived at our decision and why. Now back to muddling through the varying philosophies and attempting to figure them out! :)


Mike and Rachel said...

I know I've mentioned it before, but the National Bible Study (CBS)I am involved with is chalk full of homeschooling moms. They have a great children's program and I think the kids go through the Bible in 3 years. I don't know if next year will be the right year for you to try it, but it is an amazing program for me and the girls.

Shonni said...

Hi...I loved your post. I also have VERY good friends who are teachers in the public schools and they do an amazing job! I have always homeschooled our children. Our oldest is now 19, doing college himself and has moved to Texas. You also mentioned some of my favorite home school resources. We started home education because we felt it was right for our family. The funny thing is I now LOVE teaching my children. I love seeing them learn and being able to create a study program that fits their strengths and gifts. Thank you for your post. May the LORD lead your family on His path for you.

Tamara said...

So it sounds like you found a charter school option, that is AWESOME! I wish Nevada and Washington state had homeschool-charters; I do find it lonely and sometimes overwhelming having to do it ALL on my own (and a little expensive).

Brianna Heldt said...

Hi Shonni, thanks for sharing your story! I was on your blog and noticed you have a child from Liberia, and live in Colorado (so do we!)-do you know Jennifer???

Brianna Heldt said...

Yeah Tamara it's kinda like a charter, it's listed under "alternative schools" for that particular district I think. I do feel so incredibly blessed to have so many good schooling options here. Our neighborhood school (yes, in DPS) is excellent, there are so many homeschoolers and homeschool groups here, lots of charter schools etc. Anyway I feel so grateful b/c there weren't many options on the Central Coast of CA either!

Kristen Borland said...

that sounds like an excellent plan. i'm sure it feels good to have made a decision. i think it's awesome that you have such an option (one day a week school) through the public school system so it's not waaaaay expensive.

The Fearnsides said...

Yay Brianna! I am so excited to see your post today.

It is a tough decision- deciding how to educate our children. However, you have obviously thought this through. I think because you realize some of the pitfalls of homeschooling (like living in a bubble) you will be extra careful those things don't happen. I am excited to read more about your homeschooling journey. Especially with Anna attending class at public school one day a week. How intriguing!

I recently listened to a 'breakout' session a pastor at my church gave on Christians and education. It was a really balanced and fair overview of the pros and cons of each type of education. I'll have to post it to my blog.

Thanks for sharing!

Angela said...

I'm looking forward to a report from you on each of the different philosophies of education!
Its due on Friday, and there will be a pop quiz! JUST KIDDING!
I do think you have done a TON of research on this (WAY more than I ever did) and I'm eager to learn from you this weekend! Maybe YOU should do a talk at our little retreat! :)

Brianna Heldt said...

angela NO, i do not know a lot, and if i gave a talk it would be titled, "homeschool curriculum confusion"!!!!! (i guess it would be entertaining at least!) so torn over how to teach history. i don't want to promote euro-centrism basically. i'm all about reading/studying the classics but i want my kids knowing other cultures are just as important and God is at work there too, even if plato or socrates or martin luther didn't come from there. (thus my indecisiveness when it comes to something like the sonlight history vs. classical.)

SO looking forward to asking lots (and lots) of homeschooling questions this weekend!!! (i hope people won't get annoyed at my pesky question-asking! :) )

Anonymous said...


I stumbled across your blog a while ago when reading about adoption. My husband and I feel the Lord leading us to adopt in a few years and I've loved reading about your family and your experiences. I think homeschooling is wonderful, though I agree it is not for everyone. I was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school and I turned out just fine! I went to college on a full scholarship and my parents did a great job avoiding the "bubble." On the other hand, my husband went to public school and he turned out pretty great, too. You just have to make the right choice for your family. I admire your commitment and I hope you and Anna enjoy your first year of school.


Brianna Heldt said...

Hi Kathryn, so nice to "meet" you! It's great to hear from a homeschooled person who enjoyed it! Both my husband and I were public schooled--and I'd say we turned out okay too. :) Thanks so much for the encouragement, and blessings on your future adoption journey!

Tamara said...

I used these two books for Kindergarten and the kids totally love them. I designed sort of a unit study based on each continent and you can work in the people, art, science. The Children Around the World book totally appeals to Gregory who is hands on and project based in learning. It is a preK to grade 3 books so you could potentially involve the boys.

Brianna Heldt said...

Tamara thanks for the suggestion!!! I'm sure I'll have lots of questions for you as we get closer. Are you still homeschooling???

Tamara said...

Here you can actually see inside of the book.

Yes we are still homeschooling, and probably for a couple more years. Unfortunately, schools base grade entry only on age and Hannah missed the cut-off here in NV and in WA. So she isn't allowed to start kindergarten until this fall, even though she can read and will be starting late 1st/early 2nd grade work this fall. She won't be eligible to "skip" until 3rd grade.

Gregory is slower on the reading, but the great special-ed teacher in CA told me not to worry about it until he was 8. Generally boys are developmentally slower and then Gregory's extreme medical issues and hearing loss compounds that. Like you, the most important thing to me is to instill a LOVE of learning, and I don't think he will obtain that in school right now. He still gets very spun up and overwhelmed with too many people. We don't need labels, action plans and special classes to get him to focus at home.

I don't know what our long-term plans will be, which bugs me sometimes since I like to have plan A, B, C and just in case, Plan D. I have to practice patience and we just take it one year at a time.

God has a funny way of working it out how you least expect.

Sharla said...

We have always homeschooled (our oldest is in grade eight this year) and most of the time, I love it! One of our kids goes to a one day a week homeschool school (sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?!) and next year, three will go.
One of the ways we have avoided some of the bubble (although some parts of "the bubble" we fully embrace) is that we were a foster family for eight years and are now an adoptive family so our kids are painfully aware of what REALLY goes on in the world. One suggestion I have for avoiding the bubble is to go with your children to a local seniors home and get to know some of the residents there. There are such rich stories and backgrounds and it is such a blessing to the seniors who often are very lonely.
Good luck on your homeschooling adventure!

Joanie said...

Yay, Brianna, this sounds like such a good fit for you. I love, love, love the way you keep your Littles near your side and so bonded with one another. You set a GREAT example!!!!

One of the things I love about homeschooling is that there is more time for enrichment (love the music available to you!), and apparently, less homework. Famlies don't come first when the state MAKES teachers assign a number of hours of work per night. Why can't a nine year old just be a kid without having to give their every waking hour to studies?

I'm speaking from my teaching years. I loved teaching in the public school, but things have changed, and not for the better in some cases.

Have no clue what we'll be doing for Sedona when she goes to school, only that I need to have it figured sooner than I think.

Luke said...

Congratulations on taking the plunge! [smile] May you find the perfect fit for you and your family in all of your research and reading.

It doesn't sound like you're going to end up overly sheltered at all. Keep up the good work!


Wendi Garland said...

Hooray for homeschooling! We homeschool our daughter in CA and go to a public charter school that supports hs-ing families. It's wonderful. Be sure to hook up with a support group if you can, they're the best!


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