7:00 AM

I used to associate school with the end of summer and the beginning of fall. I think of Meg Ryan's description of autumn in New York and bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils...add to that school shopping lists and crowded lines at Wal-Mart as mothers anxiously scan the lists to make sure their full buggies contain literally everything their child needs to start that first day of school fully equipped.

I find it difficult to tie school with the end of summer now, though, because it seems like school starts earlier and earlier and autumn lags further and further behind. Particularly here in the South. There is no Autumn in sight. More like Hot August Nights. But since school is rapidly approaching, and in some places, already in full swing, there is a kiosk in Kroger featuring the back-to-school lists of all local public schools.

I figured this day would come for me...the day when I'd be preparing my own children for school...and it has - only not in the way I figured.  Chalk it up to yet another one of those unexpected things in my life I said I'd never do.  And that is...HOME SCHOOL!

Pick up your jaw as it has probably just come unhinged.

It's interesting how the convolution of events and decisions leads to unexpected destinations. Suffice it to say, I only want a half-day kindergarten program, I want my daughter to learn to read using phonics, I refuse to drive all the way across town in order to find this and pay literally an arm and a leg.  Which, if I follow the arrows at the end of each of those questions, leads me to my very own front door and slaps the sign "teacher" on my own little forehead.

And I find myself not minding this. Getting excited about it, even. I will say that there are aspects about homeschooling that make me cringe...such as the pictures of seriously unfashionable moms wearing denim jumpers teaching their kids. I will not be donning anything like that to teach my own kids. My purpose in educating my children from home is not to deny them exposure to good fashion. :)

Actually, I have to say that some of the coolest moms I know homeschool (even the Pioneer Woman!). And it is to them I have turned to give me advice, point me in the direction of good curriculum and to further inspire me.

Knowing absolutely nothing about educating your child other than that it's necessary and that I myself went to private school, graduated, went to college and then got my MBA, I have used my considerable amount of determination and begun exploring the ins and outs of teaching your child. Equipping your child for life. Instilling in them a desire to learn and a love for learning.

I've learned about the classical method, Charlotte Mason method, unit studies, Saxon, Singapore and Horizon maths...circular math vs mastery programs...chronological history, language arts and science programs...poured over and studied different curriculum catalogues...and I think I have finally decided on a curriculum for us.  It hasn't been easy, but I've been praying about it for months now and I think I am going with a literature-based program called Sonlight.

I haven't set a date yet when to begin, but I'm starting to get excited. Brooklyn is too. And I'm not long-range planning here. One year at a time. We're doing kindergarten and we'll see how it goes.

But I do want to share something quickly that I read about today in my new favorite magazine, Wired, regarding Khan Academy. Salman Khan does these video tutorials and makes them available for free on his website. They're largely to learn math, but he also has finance, physics, biology and chemistry tutorials and is expanding based on whatever strikes his fancy. The article in Wired Magazine was so fascinating I immediately called my friend Charity who homeschools and told her to check out Khan Academy. There are 5th graders doing inverse trig as a result of his video tutorials and practice problems. It's essentially a mastery program, but unlike anything done before and certainly not with the levels of success he's seeing. He's recently gotten funding from Bill Gates and several other large philanthropists and is putting the funding to good use.  I encourage you to check it out. Seriously, even if schooling your kids from home has never crossed your radar.

And I'll keep you posted on how things unfold here in regards to this local Goshen Casa Academy.

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  1. Wow! What a great resource. Sounds like you're really getting geared up for the school year and I can't wait to hear about it!

  2. I love Pioneer Woman's blog & can't wait for her food network show to start next month. I think you'll be an excellent home school teacher. Our small group leader home schools her kids (only 5 or 6 of the 8 are school age) & they are all brilliant. She has completely changed my opinion of what home schooling is/can be. I no longer think of hand painted denim jumpers ;c) Teach on sister!

  3. Oh I can't wait to hear about the homeschooling adventures!!!