I remember the day I knew my children weren’t going to school. Ever. I hadn’t actually given birth yet. T10 was at 6 months gestation, I was at the doctor’s surgery, and I knew. It was weird, not least because I had no idea home education existed. I just knew I didn’t want to miss even one moment with somebody so infinitely special. Resolved, I went home and started to google options other than school. Homeschooling was born. I can’t begin to explain the excitement that welled up inside me that day. I could really see our family doing this thing called homeschooling. I began to dream big dreams. My home school was going to be fun, with lots of hands on activities and very little book work (by that I mean workbooks and text books). Our world would be full of books, cuddles and lots of love.
Later, when the children were around three, I met a girl whose dad was principle of an ACE school. ACE stands for Accelerated Christian Education. Some how, and to this day I’m not sure how it happened, I was persuaded that ACE was the best for my children. Don’t get me wrong ACE is not necessarily a bad curriculum, it simply flew in the face of my dream.
When the children were three, we started their preschool program with ACE. We loved it. They easily learned their ABC’s and quickly progressed onto the learning to read program. This was also fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about ACE’s preschool and reading program. We moved on to their workbooks and our whole home school experience took a nose dive. Suddenly school was not something my children wanted to do anymore. There was writing, repetition and real boredom. It was dire for our family.
I had never lost my dream and every time I thought about it I felt warm and fuzzy inside. Around about this time my dad died and we needed to move back to England. I decided now was the time to look into doing something different. I researched, dreamt, discussed with Gary and about a month later decided to ditch ACE. A somewhat scary decision, not one I would regret, even for a moment.
I had decided to teach using history and starting where HIS story started – in Genesis. We learnt about Creation, the garden of Eden, floods and Mount Ararat, about Turkey – the country, the people, the colours of their life. My own children rose out of the ashes of their prior education with enthusiasm. They almost came to life before my very eyes. I could not keep up with them. They wanted more, more, more!! We have since covered Mesopotamia, Egypt (with a mummified chicken), Israel, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient China, the Indus civilisation and Ancient Persia. This year we have tackled Ancient Britons, Celts, Mesoamerica and the Anglo Saxons. It gets better each year.
At first we used curriculums to help. Within a couple of years I was writing my own for the children, for everything but maths and science. I adore homeschooling. Yes, there are times when it is hard. Figuring out how to school with a fifth baby was and still is a challenge, but I LOVE it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
A few weeks ago, when B1 was going through a particularly bad sleeping patch and I was feeling discouraged (not to mention knackered!), a friend said to me that whenever she thought of my children she thought of joy. That they were such joyful children. I almost cried, because I needed that reminder. This life that we live is just that – full of joy. I truly am living the dream I had those eleven years ago, before T10 was born, and I feel blessed. It was very helpful to be reminded that day- thanks Becky!
I’ve been asked about making some of the children’s past work available so that is what I intend to do. I shall look out old photo’s of their activities, presentations and parties (I put on a few themed parties when they were younger) and I’ll do a series of posts on them. Looking Back will be the series title.