Thursday, June 26, 2008

Homeschooling Methods- What's Your Flavor?

Several homeschoolers have asked me how does one possibly choose a method or curriculum over all the myriads of choices available today. It can be so confusing and make a parent feel inadequate for the job. Just when you think you've found the perfect road, someone's children seem brighter and happier. The grass begins to look greener on the other side of the neighbor's fence.

I don't have all the answers but I can give a few suggestions that have helped me in the past.

Why don't you set aside some uninterrupted time to think about your children's personalities and your family's interests. What is your family's 'flavor?' Here are just a few family flavors:

Some are very musically minded
Others are politically active
There are those who are close to the land
Some enjoy the sciences
Some are internationally minded, as we are.

Can you think of some more? Often, although not always, a parent's interests will naturally be passed on to the children. The list is endless... Keep this in mind while you ask yourself the next question:

What kind of people do you want them to be? God gives moms and dads visions for their children. This doesn't mean you should mold them into what you want, but rather bring about the environment and influences in their lives to help them grow towards the person God desires them to be. Of course you cannot know in full, but he gives glimpses. Parents who DAILY ask for wisdom in training their children will have special discernment that they would not otherwise have. If more parents would take this piece of advice seriously, it would save them much heartache. This is the greatest help I can pass on to parents. It has literally changed my life.

Then ask yourself if the curriculum, method or any other competing idea in your mind right now lines up with your family's passions. What are your hopes and dreams for your children? Certain methods and curricula will greatly influence this outcome. Choosing carefully is important. Think specifically and ask yourself hard questions. If you don't know the answers, research and find out. And I do mean 'RESEARCH.' Do your homework and educate yourself. In the early years, just when I thought I had found the perfect plan I learned new things that shed light upon other ideas I had only given a cursory look. This happened more than once. Find out what the underlying ideas are behind the curriculum you are interested in. Do all this prayerfully until you come to a place of peace. And mothers, DO involve your husbands if at all possible. They often has keen insights that you may miss because you are too busy with the details.

When you find it, don't look back. Continue the route believing that God will be faithful to guide you. Learn as you go, altering and adjusting here and there, but stay on the course, even when things aren't going as well as you hoped. So many mothers (I only mention mothers because fathers don't usually fall into this trap) just hop from one curriculum to the next each year. This may produce children with some facts in their heads, but you will achieve far more if you have some specific goals and a method for achieving those goals for your family. Use your failures as an opportunity to glean from others who have traveled a similar path before you. The only reason to change course would be if you became convicted that your original decision was made in your own strength. I made that mistake. I spent hours and hours looking for the ideal 'method' and every once in awhile asked God to help me make the right choice. But my heart was not right. I truly was depending upon my own intelligence. I found myself overwhelmed with choices and didn't know what was right for our family. I had to repent of this attitude and give all my plans up before He directed me to the path he had for us. The peace has been a wonderful balm that keeps me refreshed. I wish this for each person reading this.

one step at a time...


  1. "What kind of people do you want them to be?"

    Excellent post, and standing ovation for that point! It is so important that we don't shoe-horn our children, but that we seek the Lord for what is right for our children.


  2. Thanks for this great post. I'm just starting my journey into homeschooling and I feel the pressure to come up with a cirriculum, but I also hear the gentle call of my Teacher to keep it simple right now: obedience, God's word, service, reading...and lots of exploration and observation. I feel like this is more of a time of me learning how my kids learn, seeking what God has for each of them and planning the course ahead more than doing a bunch of "stuff" just to say I'm doing something.

    I'm going to definantly take your advice and spend some focused time in prayer and just waiting and writing out what the vision is for our sons and choose a purposeful path.

    One of the first things that comes to mind when i read this is I know my older child is passionate about two things: animals, and physical activity. My younger: puzzles and stories.

    I'll be prayin!
    Thanks so much for all you share here!

  3. What a timely post! I've linked it.

  4. Holly@aiminghigh28.6.08

    Well said. I, too, learned these lessons the hard way. I sure would love to help others avoid the emotional strain and the financial losses not asking and seeking God first brings. Believe me, it is FAR more beneficial and relaxing to seek God's opinion and wait a little before purchasing or even getting started.
    Many Blessings,

  5. Anonymous28.6.08

    Very true. I spent 19 years asking God to bless what I choose. The last three have I have been using what I believe God directed me to and it would take more than greener grass to get me to jump the fence. He is blessing us.

    Liz aka Humpty@HSB

  6. I've struggled this year with our unit studies and have backed off on them some. I wondered if they were the right fit since they are so much work. Maybe that was just me needing a re-charge after fizzling out? I don't know. I feel better after reading what you wrote, though. I never considered our current path as a mandate or direction from the Lord. It would make it that much easier to follow if I trusted that it was.

  7. Belinda30.6.08

    Hey, lady!

    Hope the fishing was good, and I'm glad to see that you're settling in.

    This post is timely as so many are making decisions to homeschool and overwhelmed with where to start. I once shared about the importance of an involved husband, too. In addition to the excellent points you posted, my own experience has been that if there is rebuttle/disdain about your decision to homeschool and all that it entails, he feels it more as the one who's outside the home and working to make homeschooling happen. It's so much easier for him and for us if he feels educated and confident about what the family is doing.

    God bless you guys. Enjoy your summer!

  8. Thank you for the most timely post. We are just embarking on our journey of homeschooling. We are nervous and scared. Thank you for reminding us that if something does not work, not to be afraid to change. Let God lead you.

  9. "The parent who DAILY asks for wisdom in training her children..."

    SO TRUE! I am so inadequate without the Lord's guidance and wisdom that He, alone, gives!

  10. Excellent post. This is something to ponder and absorb and remember.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your heart!

  11. Thanks for visiting ladies and commenting. I am happy you are encouraged. I really meant it about asking DAILY for wisdom. If only people would believe this wonderful truth!

    Have a lovely day everyone,