Monday, June 23, 2014

How the Hazards Homeschool

            The lovely Micaela is hosting a homeschool link up. I’m there reading and learning from other wise mommas and sharing the little bit of experience that I have.

            My husband and I discerned homeschooling was best for our children because we felt called to do it. No other way to explain it.  Our mission is primarily spiritual and religious formation and secondarily providing them an excellent education to help them become what God called them to be.  St. Anne is our school patron because she was the mother responsible for raising Our Lady.

            We begin each school day with morning prayers: the morning offering, the consecration to Mary, angel of God, St. Michael prayer and a Hail Mary for the men they are going to marry or their religious vocation.  We either go to 7:30 am EF Mass, 11:30 noon (NO) or 5:00 pm Mass or Adoration, at least three times a week, depending on the season.  In the evening, we say the family rosary, and occasionally, my husband reads Bible stories to them.  This year we're going to incorporate the Holy Spirit prayer and Lectio Divina once a week. Weirdly, our prayer times are more structured than our school time, and since its ingrained in our system, we seldom pause prayers for holiday breaks.

             Look, here we are celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi with the other home schoolers in the sweltering heat of summer:
Sisters had to herd my wayward flower girl in line.
             In the interest of full disclosure, we don’t have it all together.   I am disorganized by nature and a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of teacher, (which is why pre-made Mother of Divine Grace lesson plans are ideal for me).  But I am learning that if I constantly pray for guidance and let our schooling revolve around the Eucharist, God gives me what I need for that moment, that day and the things usually fall in place.   That is the most important thing I would say to a mom who is considering  homeschooling. 

            The curriculum we use for a backbone is Mother of Divine Grace (MODG). I supplement with some materials from Seton, Kolbe or other secular programs if my child is willing to learn more.  The breakdown of our curricula is:

1. Reading. and Hooked on Phonics program.  I admit I started teaching the children early (3 years) because I thought if they could read at four and five, they could read the workbooks and work independently. So far, they're getting with the program.

2. English. MODG,  Seton’s English 2 workbook, Early Language Lessons by Jessie Wise, Reading for Comprehension, Reading Detective and Institute for Excellence in Writing by Andrew Pudewa.  

3. Religion. MODG, lots of saints books and the Seton Faith and Freedom Readers.

4. Geography - MODG and MCP Maps

5.  Math- Singapore Math +, I-Pad slate math and other visuals.

6. Science-- been switching around and still looking for the Holy Grail. So far, I’m counting gardening, chicken raising, camping, zoos and one trip to the science museum as science classes.

7. Latin and foreign languages --MODG.

8. History --MODG and Seton History Workbook grade 2, 3 and 4.

9. Handwriting --Seton and whatever is available on conference book sales.

            Girls being girls love needlepoint, cross stitch projects, crochet, and embroidery (and I also think crafting is good for little girl's souls).  We’ll probably go to Hobby Lobby for some more crafty lessons as I am running out of skills to teach them.  Though I heard you can get craft tutorials from youtube.
Small rocking chairs and crocheted blankets just go together.
            Fortunately, this year, teaching nuns from the Leaven of the Immaculate Heart Mary have moved close to us to serve our parish. My children will be taking their music, art and drama classes from the good nuns because they certainly won't be learning anything from me in that department, (and evidently, the nuns are pretty good at herding in wayward children.)  

            When we started, our homeschool was just a tiny table and a couple of chairs, since we weren’t finished building the house.  We moved the schoolroom into the second bedroom, added shelves, desk chairs and chalkboard until the Legos, doll house and Legocity took over.  This year, we're finishing the attic and turning that into the school room.  I cannot wait.

last year's schoolroom

this year's unfinnished schoolroom

             We do all our school in the morning and the toddler just colors, cuts or does  Afternoons, they read books of choice (well, from the books I choose to stock our library with).  I do state tests at the end of every year. Alabama has easy to work with guidelines. We are part of a local cover school and may consider enrolling in a larger city homeschool or enrol in a hybrid-part-homeschool program.  

             For homeschool support, our network of moms and families meet regularly, and I am learning so much from wise women who have successfully taught and guided their children into adulthood. E.g that homeschoolers in Alabama can apply for fast track programs at the local college and have those subjects credited in order to finish college early. Also, the local Catholic prep school offers subjects for home schoolers.  Check out this true story of an Alabama Christian family who homeschooled their children and sent seven of them to college at the age of 12-13 years old.

          As for the FAQ on homeschooling and socialization, I think socialization is over-rated, and can cross-over to peer pressure. I encourage my children to keep a variety of friendships (both Catholics and non) but am careful when I see warning signs of bad influence.   I trust God gives my children the grace to cope in the world and that Our Lady will compensate for my failures as mother and teacher since He called us to home school in the first place. 

        If you feel called to do homeschool, go for it. There are rough days, but grace brings you through it. If your children's path is elsewhere, God meets you there. 



Micaela Darr said...

Thanks for linking up, Annabelle! I loved reading it. I'm very jealous you: the Leaven Sisters of the Immaculate Sister teaching your children? Sounds like a dream come true! We try to make to to Mass or adoration as much as possible, but I'm hoping to make it more frequent next year. Fortunately, we have Perpetual Adoration at our parish, so that option is always available.

Sue Elvis said...


I really enjoyed reading about your homeschooling. Your photo of the girls in white dresses is beautiful. You have nuns near you! That must be wonderful. And other homeschooling mothers too. Thank you for sharing!

Theresa @ OrdinaryLovely said...

Hi Annabelle, I clicked over here after leaving my own link at Micaela's. I love your narrative of your homeschool, and am happy to see other moms relying on Starfall for the littles! It seems so trivial, but I have been so grateful for that resource these past few years! Thanks for sharing your experience!