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Children are born persons - Live life with your kids - Issue 052
May 03, 2008
Hi! ....

This week:

We had several highlights this week
  • The girls went to an Egyptian Fancy Dress party. They have such a ball at dress up parties. Though Jessica found a simple costume from things we had in the house Nomi set about to make hers from scratch. It was a good time to teach her some basic dress making skills (and take note that we need to do more of this).
  • Joshua starting a paying job working two afternoons a week. Though he already works for us one afternoon it is altogether different working for someone else. The work has been varied though the highlight for him (and scariest bit for mum) was learning to drive a forklift.
  • This week we come to the end of our second study block for the year and it has been very exciting to see the older two complete their assignment sheet. The assignment sheet is really our goals for 4-5 weeks broken down to weekly targets. It has been good to see them prioritise their day, keep themselves motivated and work hard to cover for family interruptions. My task next week is to write up the goals for our next study block.

Live Life with your Kids!

Beyond the Quote
A Homeschool Thought

Children are born Persons

Children are born persons
- Charlotte Mason

The idea that children are persons is one of the first principles that Charlotte Mason lays out in her writings. We need to consider this concept, not because Charlotte Mason said it, but because it is a scriptural truth.

  • God knew each one of us before the foundations of the earth (before conception)
  • God knew each of us while we were yet in the womb
  • God has a plan for us here on earth

Jesus made it very clear that children were a part of his kingdom. In fact, He encouraged us adults to be like the little children, with simple but complete faith in Him.

How does this apply to our homeschooling? Here is another quote from Charlotte Mason.

We must know something about the material
we are to work upon
if the education we offer is not to be
scrappy and superficial.
We must have some measure of a child's requirements,
not based on his uses to society,
nor upon the standard of the world he lives in,
but upon his own capacity and needs.

Charlotte Mason
Towards a Philosophy of Education
page 65, 66

I think it goes without saying that we don’t want to deliver a “scrappy and superficial” education. We want our children’s education to be complete, to be sufficient, and to be rich in ideas and truth. I think Charlotte Mason is giving us a key here on how to achieve that and that is, to know our child and to mould our efforts around him.

There is a caution here, as applicable today as when Charlotte Mason wrote it – don’t use society as your guide! Alternatively we are to consider how the Creator has fashioned him and designed him, we are to consider the Creators plans for him.

Though we homeschool in the context of family we must take note of each child and take their individual needs into account as we plan our homeschool activities. Do you know each of your children?

Do you know (or have any inkling) of God’s design for your child?
Do you see any passions, talents or strong abilities developing?
Do you know how he best receives information, communicates information back?
Do you know what he needs in order to remember or think?
Do you know his relational strengths or weaknesses?
And maybe one of the most important
Do you know where his Heart is at with God and others?

How do we learn these things?

  • With much prayer – we need to ask God – He is the only one with an instruction manual for our child.
  • Give children plenty of free time (with the only expectation being that they play with self control and purpose). When our children have free time they gravitate towards things that they love.
  • Observe and ponder – don’t be quick to make assessments. Our children are young and still growing and becoming. But the things we notice can give us a guide.

Once we have observed these things how do we accommodate individual needs in a family? We have, as most families do, a variety of needs, abilities, interests, and complexities in our family. Here are a few things that have helped us allow for the individual:

Know what is mandatory for your family
Each family will have different goals for their own family and this will be expressed in the subjects that they decide are mandatory – a must purely because you belong to our family. For our family this is Bible Study, Character development, lifeskills and creative talents. The study of history is also required, though different children will study it at different depths. The same with science, it is required though to what lengths each child will go will depend on their own individual capacity and needs.

Know why you are studying a topic (or using a resource)
This covers the idea that we are not to use society we live in (even the homeschool community) to dictate what we study or use for our children. We need to answer the question, “Why am I pursuing this course of study?” before we require it of our child.

Study some things together
Not everything need be studied on an individual basis. We can read the same books and set different assignments. We can study the same topic and yet read different books. Output can always vary depending on your purpose and goal for each child.

Be prepared to change direction
This is where we are at right now! I have recently come to acknowledge that my older children, and myself, are language based learners and my younger two are more hands on. This means that many of the resources and methods that have worked for us in the past are not so successful now. Though my personal learning style won’t change, I need to change my teaching style to help my younger two to reach their best. To be flexible has been one of the most necessary lessons for me to learn as a homeschool mum. If I don’t like the fruit that I see I need to change what I am doing.

Have a discipleship based Routine
A daily routine that is based on Relationships first, then responsibilities, talents and then academics is vital. We use blocks of time (generally 1-2 hours) instead of ˝ hour increments. This allows me, as the teacher/supervisor to flow from one student to the next as they need me and as time allows. When we have had ˝ hourly blocks of time I spend a lot of time watching the clock or waiting for the kids to pull out their books. When we have a block of time, with a “to-do” list of study requirements, each child flows from one thing to the other, and while one child is swapping over, finding new books etc I am helping a different child. This gives the children the freedom to work at their own pace, to be rewarded when they finish early, as well as to pursue different subjects than their siblings. I try and keep a balance between independent studies and subjects that need my involvement. Afterall, we are discipling which means walking together, teaching from my life to theirs.

Have focus seasons
There are times when one child needs more attention than the other children. When this is the case, their need become the most important issue in the family. It maybe a character issue such as obedience, it may be learning to read, it may science experiments or dressmaking lessons. When we sense such a priority need we rearrange our schedules, and create a focus season. That is, for x period of time, generally no more than a month, this need will be addressed first up in the morning, nothing will interrupt it and everyone in the family will support that season goal being met.

In order for focus seasons to happen without being a negative thing for the rest of the family it is imperative that we have self control, obedience and focusing ability happening in our children. If these character traits are not happening then I recommend a focus season to train in those areas. You need to be able to address one child for 20minutes and know that the other children will not wreck havoc with their surroundings or relationships.

Do you know your child? And is your educational plan suitable to him? Is it preparing him for the life ahead of him? Is it meeting his needs?

Are you prepared to change direction in order for a rich and deep education for each of your children?

This week I have written the following new pages:
Choosing Curriculum – whether you are new or veteran we are all faced with this decision.

Help! My Child is smarter than I am! - I was faced with something that had been sitting at the back of my mind – Help! My child is smarter than I am!!

How to have good manners - Can we legislate good manners? Do rules help with practicing manners? Or does it come from within? An article to encourage from the late Dr. Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ

Links to what I’ve read this week and found encouraging:
Organising books so we can actually find them when we want to use them.

Everyday Education a website dedicated to helping homeschool through the highschool years.

My My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool.

Keep up with future additions with the Lifestyle Homeschool Blog throughout the week.

Until next week
Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter Knowing that homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, this newsletter comes out in small portions – one portion every week.
  • Being a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Using Life resources – Spotlight on a particular resource and notes on how to use this in your life (not in a school room)
  • Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • Beyond the Quote – Take a moment to really think about that quote!
  • For those who are not into RSS feeds yet, the newsletter will serve to keep you updated with Lifestyle-Homeschool

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