1. Did you always homeschool your children? How has it changed through the years?
Yes, as a matter of fact, I began homeschooling when our oldest was in kindergarten. In the intervening 23 years I have noticed changes in the homeschooling movement, and that includes even within our own homeschool. I have also noticed some new trends in the movement that disturb me but I will not get on my soapbox about those today.
Some important things have not changed in my homeschool, though. Our purpose for existing remains the same and is twofold:
- We feel that Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us as parents that we are to talk to our children about our faith and teach them about our God at all times. We feel it is easier to do this if those children are actually with us at all times.
- We feel that Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train our children in the way they should go. I believe it was Chuck Swindoll who compared this to nurturing a tree to grow toward a certain individualized bent. So if you have a bonsai you prune and tie to make it grow the way it should. If you have a topiary you have a whole different game plan. In other words, the goal is to really get to know the child and adapt an education plan to the child instead of adapting the child to an education plan. (And my children are going to start pointing fingers at each other stating, "You were the bonsai!")
Our goals have not changed, either. I happen to believe in OBE (Outcome Based Education) just not as the government states it. (For the uninitiated "outcome" is just a big word for results.)
Here are the outcomes that we wished to see as a result of homeschooling our children:
- The student should exhibit a heart that is ready to serve God in whatever capacity the Lord desires. This is a training camp for the Lord's army.
- Once the student reaches the age where he or she can be gainfully employed, he or she should exhibit such strengths of character as honesty, integrity, submission, and common courtesy (otherwise known as "a good work ethic") that the boss wishes he could hire dozens more like him or her.
- The student should have developed enough skills to be a life-long learner. Education doesn't end at graduation so the ability to think reasonably and to find information should be encouraged. There is no way for any teacher to teach any child everything in 13 years that the student is going to need throughout his/her life. Children should be taught to access the resources available to them.
- The student should exhibit the ability to adequately read and write, and have sufficient math skills to get along in the world. This, however, is the least important goal of them all, but is the one that the government OBE objectives place as a top priority. My school has a 100% literacy rate but if I do not develop points 1, 2, and 3 in my students then I fail my purpose for homeschooling no matter what their respective IQ's might turn out to be.
Another good change is that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. When we moved to TN in 1985 it had only recently become legal to homeschool there.
There is also a wealth of curriculum choices today that didn't exist in those early years. Most of the curriculum we used was of necessity adapted from that used by Christian and public schools. Since I believe in tailoring the education to the child I think it is a positive development to have so many options.
There are also many options in sporting and recreation open to homeschoolers that weren't available in the past. This obviously is because of the increase of people homeschooling as it takes sheer numbers to be able to put together sports teams. This is very important to boys like my son (the Bear). In our early years we participated in group roller skating parties and activities in the park for games and recreation, but my older girls did not have team activities available to them through the homeschooling arena.
2. I saw you had an Austen thing on your sidebar...what's your favorite of her books (or movies, if you're more of a watcher)?
My favorite Jane Austen book is "Sense and Sensibility." I also like the movie starring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, and Kate Winslet. I believe Austen's works were categorized as comedies just because of the happy endings. I happen to like happy endings.
3. What your favorite snack?
Wow, I really had to think about this one more than the previous two questions because I'm really into snacking. :) I think my favorite snack is whole-grain tortilla chips with anything. I dip mine in hummus, salsa, nacho cheese, or that great party dip that is made with Velveeta and salsa.
4. You've gotten a lot of snow lately...do you like winter, or are you more of a summer gal?
I like snow. I also like floating around in the swimming pool in the summertime. The bottom line is that I like all 4 seasons. What I don't like is extreme cold or heat. I don't think I could live much farther north than I do now unless it was in an area blessed by gulf streams, and I already know how I fare further south having lived in TN for 14 years. Let's just say that I missed the snow when I lived there, but I loved the extended spring and fall seasons. The summers were hard on me, though, because I am a hot-natured person. In the months of July and August I couldn't breathe and had to stay in the house the whole time. I didn't like that.
5. What's your least favorite chore/task that you do simply because it has to be done?
Dishes. I love to cook and bake but I hate cleaning up the mess. I never had a dishwasher until this house so I have become majorly spoiled. It worked fine until recently. Since all the plumbers are doing other stuff like fixing peoples' broken water mains these days I'll probably be washing and drying my own for quite awhile longer. I just think it's ironic that this would happen soon after the last daughter married. And don't suggest that the Bear help. His idea of doing dishes is breaking some so that there will be fewer to wash next time.
That's the end of my day of being interviewed. If any you, my readers, would like to be interviewed it is very simple. Just drop me a comment stating that you would like to participate and I will compose 5 questions and send them to you. You will answer on your own blog and will link back to me stating that I am the one who interviewed you. (If you are experiencing writer's block this is a great way to automatically get a blog post. The downside is that you must trust me to come up with the questions.)