Last summer, just before our state homeschool convention, I happened upon a teaching philosophy that has so profoundly affected my view of "homeschool" that I am forever transformed. This ideology harmonized flawlessly with both my own fledgling theories, and the children's and my experience. As I had been praying about our growing dissatisfaction and lack of good fruit in schooling, I believed this discovery to be from the Lord.
In my searching the Heart of Wisdom website, my recurring exclamation was, "Why have I never heard of this before?" In my opinion, it pulled together the best of every teaching approach into one coherent (which is what my fledgling theories were lacking) "package". I love the concept of the Trivium, with its emphasis on the certain ages and stages a child grows through, but do not love the structure of classical education. Unit studies were intriguing, but far too much work for me to develop myself. The discussion of Hebrew vs. Greek models of education is at the same time convicting and refreshing. Best of all is the absolute continual focus on God's Word, during every moment of the process.
I love this approach, but do I use it? It depends on how you look at it. In Robin Sampson's book, she outlines a sample schedule, which for elementary age children would take about six hours, five days a week. That, I do not do for several reasons. One is that I am far too undisciplined (be patient, the Holy Spirit is not finished with me yet) and I am learning that I have too much of an unschooler mentality to spend that much time on "schoolwork". Second, is that we just have too much going on. I can just get all my work done as it is, without spending the bulk of our day "in the schoolroom". I have cut every area that I can (including much blogging) in order to simplify life, and thereby free up time. So in a scheduling sense, no, we do not follow the plan outlined in the HOW materials.
Is God's Word the primary focus of our ever study in every subject? Yes.
Do we implement the Hebrew model of discipleship-style teaching? Yes.
Do we only use "real books" and not twaddle, per Charlotte Mason? Yes.
Per Robin's plan, we are walking chronologically through the bible this year, and making pages for our Bible Portfolios, incorporating all the language arts in the process. We are still deciding whether we will use Adam to Messiah for History. If we do, it will be an abbreviated version, without adding to our Notebooks. We have decided to not use the Science curriculum this year. That can be covered through our daily life living on a farm, being unschoolers at heart, and walking out Deuteronomy 6. Math, phonics, handwriting and Greek will be separately covered.
The picking and choosing is about priorities. The main point that truly struck a chord with me in my reading the Bluedorn's book was that "there is only so much time in a day". Taking into account our living on a farm (in the middle of nowhere) , having a large family, healthy eating and all that entails, and expecting a new baby in a few weeks, I am determining to focus on the basics of
school discipleship-the one thing needful, and expecting by faith that all these things shall be added unto us.