My Heart and Homeschool Curriculum

Other posts about choosing a curriculum:


Method counts – how you use what you choose
God’s method for education
Our curriculum choices for 2010

I have two main goals or passions when it come to this blog;  accepting children as God’s blessing and homeschooling.  Why?  Because these two things are fairly uncommon in the Christian community today and they bring amazing joy and blessing to our lives.  I wish that each of you could step inside my life for just a while and experience what I mean.  I wish that I was a more skilled writer and could better express my feelings.

Embracing these ideas together is difficult  for many people.  How can you possibly provide a quality education to each of your children if God blesses you with many?  God has given us that unique task and we have found joy, peace  and great blessing in the midst of fulfilling the responsibilities that God has given us.

I appreciate getting emails like this,

First I have to say that I’ve been in tears reading through your blog the last few days. …. Your blog has encouraged me that I can (homeschool and accept God’s blessing of children), with God’s help and some practical solutions! Thanks for taking the time and being willing to share your families life with everyone (especially me).

this

THANK YOU!!! i just recently stumbled upon your blog somehow, and it has changed my world…your direction & guidance related to kids & family life has been like a floatie to me as I felt like I was drowning in confusion between God’s Word and the cultural norm (even inside the Church!)

this

Your site has been instrumental in cementing and even inciting many of my convictions and ideals and goals.  It makes my heart feel like it could burst with joy when I read the reasons behind your homeschooling and how you put relationships and the Lord above all else.

and this

Your site was one that gave the encouragement I needed to make the decision to homeschool.

yet they humble and frighten me.

I am just me, a sinner saved by God’s grace.  We are still learning just like everyone else.

I’m burdened for the many, many moms and homeschoolers who are frazzled, frustrated, burned-out and overwhelmed.  My heart says that much of this frustration is because the homeschool movement is still trying to ‘school at home’ whether by using textbooks or other educational methods that are best suited for the classroom.

We believe that much of what we have learned can be useful.  I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced burnout (save for a few months when our family was obligated to use homeschooling products that were not a good fit for our family) and  I nearly always look forward to studying and learning with the children.  It is not always easy, but it is joyful.  We are grateful for the time that we are able to spend with our children and have been blessed beyond words at the people our children are becoming.

Don’t get me wrong, our life is not perfect. Each member of our family is a sinner and we struggle constantly with sin, but for the most part we do not struggle with our educational method.  Our curriculum and our methods work together with our lifestyle.  We are able to teach God’s commands to our children, and  talk of them when we sit  in our house, and when we walk by the way, and when we lie down, and when we rise up.  Our children’s education is part of our life, not a separate entity that we must ‘do’ 180 days a year.

But people put so much store in curriculum and method!

I had a friend tell me that because of their commitment to a specific method of education and the necessity of supporting that method, she and her husband were choosing something for one of their children that they did not believe was in her best interest.

I’ve had others tell me that sacrificing some of the strong family relationships that they desire or not protecting their children as they wish, are just part of the price that they pay for the method that they’ve chosen.

Since we’ve seen Christians sacrifice God’s standard (We believe that protecting your children Mt.18:6, Mark 9:42 and Luke 17:2 is God’s standard.)   and their children’s best interest on the altar of method, it makes us hesitant to post our opinions.  We do not believe that our method is the only right method, nor do we believe that it will or should work for all other families.

The Bible gives us the material to cover (His Word), the people who should do the teaching (parents, both mothers and fathers) and the format (relationships) for education, but it does not give us the method.  We believe this is purposeful, there is not one method that will work for every family or every child.

Mark and I believe that what we are doing is right (that’s why we’re doing it 🙂 ).  We have based our decisions to the best of our ability on our understanding of God’s Word and we are passionate about our choices because they work well in our home and with our family.  I pray that this conviction and passion does not come across as gospel.  They are simply our interpretation and application of Scripture as we educate our children in our home.

Choosing a curriculum is the parent’s choice, the parent’s responsibility. If a method or curriculum meets God’s criteria of training your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, does not supersede the commands of God and the examples laid out for us in Scripture and fits with your family’s priorities, then who am I to suggest something different.

All of that said, I am going to be posting about our curriculum choices, some of the reasons behind what we’ve chosen and how we use those materials to further our priorities.  The purpose is to give those who want help an idea of how our ideas and goals affect our choices and how they work themselves out in the practical aspects of our children’s education.    It is not our purpose to convince anyone to change a Biblical method that is working for them or to make anyone feel that their choices aren’t as good as ours.

Other posts about choosing a curriculum:
Method counts – how you use what you choose
God’s method for education
Our curriculum choices for 2010

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18 Responses to My Heart and Homeschool Curriculum
  1. Melodie
    May 4, 2010 | 10:58 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with your stance. There is so much pressure to home school a certain way that we forget to look where we should- The Bible. I appreciate your humbleness, one of the many great qualities of your blog. I too have felt reassured about my conviction to home school through your blog. Keep up the great work and I can’t wait to read more!

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  2. Renee
    May 4, 2010 | 12:57 pm

    thanks for sharing this post!

    My mother in law as been a great source of inspiration for me, she is a mother of 12 children and homeschooled them all (still have 6 young one at home under her care as write this post)

    We are letting God bless us with the number of blessing He wants to give us, and we are training out little one at home. Because our children are 3 and under we do not use a particular curriculum but right now I’m studying the word of God for guidance regarding what we should do regarding our children’s education (Gender specific education, and training etc…)

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  3. Holly Sentell
    May 4, 2010 | 1:40 pm

    I am new to homeschooling and I found it very hard and frustrating that there were so many curriculum choices out there. Because this was not planned, but rather put on my heart by God I felt even more alone and confused because I didn’t have the answers ahead of time. We are 7 months in to homeschooling our 2nd grader that has always been in public school. I think my husband is finally on board, (yes God put it on my heart by not his) and I have finally found a way to teach that works for us. Not a curriculum but a way to teach. I don’t know how you teach you children, but it doesn’t sound like you use a curriculum. I started with one and it just wasn’t working for my or my child. God keep directing me to different place such as your blog to help encourage me to step out of the idea of public school and into His idea of school. So just know that your words and your example are helping other homeschools. If people are letting God lead them and they rely on Him and have faith He will lead them where they need to be. He is using you to do that for those who are ready to understand. He didn’t tell me to do what you are doing, He used you to encourage me to do what He wanted me to do. So have faith and keep heart your words are helping those who need to hear.

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    Tami Reply:

    Hang in there, Holly! Kimberly has lots of excellent advice on her blog esp re a mother’s attitude toward her children and teaching. I’m a little more experienced than you, just finishing my 4th year, but no where near Kimberly’s experience. I started with a first grader who had attended church kindergarten, then added a kindergartener the next year, and then the next year pulled my ninth grader out of public school. My oldest finished public school last year – we just didn’t know any better when he was small. I was very afraid with both the 1st and 9th graders – I was so sure I would ruin them academically. I come from a very academic mindset. It helped me so much to think about overall academic goals rather than concentrating on all the specific subjects. For example, for primary school, I decided what mattered most was that she become a strong reader and really love reading, and that she understand basic arithmetic operations. That seemed to take the pressure off for me – as long as those goals are advancing, it doesn’t matter so much if she finishes her spelling program or has pretty handwriting, those minor things can take some time. It also helped that in TN, first graders are required by the state to study only language, math, and PE. So that’s all we did (and Bible of course). Since my older two had been in public 1st grade, I also had that for comparison – I knew how little they did. My oldest son, who was in 9th grade back then, kept telling me that her reading books were “so not 1st grade books”. I found Ruth Beechick’s three little booklets “The Three Rs” to be so helpful – she does a great job of explaining how to teach primary school with no purchased curriculum at all. (I think I bought mine for about $9 at Amazon.) I re-read those little books every year.
    Also – almost everyone I know starts with “school in a box” of some sort, and almost everyone changes within a year or two as they discover what works and what doesn’t for their own kids’ style, and for Mom’s style. That’s OK, it’s great we have so many choices today, but they are overwhelming, and hardly anyone picks their best fit on the first try.

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  4. Erika
    May 4, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    Just wanted to say “hello” so I’m not a blog stalker! I enjoy your posts and look forward to more of them in the future.

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  5. Dawna
    May 4, 2010 | 2:22 pm

    About six years ago my husband and I both felt God was telling us to allow Him to be the author of our family rather than trying to control the size of our family ourselves. What a joy and blessing it has been to watch our family grow. The peace we have received because we place our trust in the Lord has been indescribable.

    We too homeschool and would not have it any other way. It is a tremendous blessing and honor to teach our children at home and raise them up by God’s standard for living. We use a bit of this and a bit of that as far as “curriculum” goes. We use books that re-enforce our Christian beliefs (re: an apologia science book and Christian based history that includes Church history). This is what works for our family and it helps cement in our children’s minds what we believe and why we believe it and how all of creation tells us there is a God.
    I look forward to your posts Kimberly and thank you for continuing this ministry… your blog is such an inspiration and encouragement to me.

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  6. Beth Hudson
    May 4, 2010 | 4:37 pm

    Thank you for posting this. It’s such an encouragement to me. This is our first (half) year homeschooling, and I’ve really been struggling. I hope to spend the summer praying and studying my Bible to figure out what God has for our family in terms of “school.” I really feel like homeschooling was His plan for us, but I haven’t let Him direct our path thus far. Thank you for reminding me that it’s supposed to be about Him.

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  7. Kristina
    May 4, 2010 | 5:16 pm

    Hi Kimberly,
    I too have gained so much from reading your blog…and finding your site was undoubtedly an answer to prayer. I’ve spent hours upon hours reading your posts and sharing them with my husband, as you’ve encouraged and inspired me to seek God’s direction in all things. I think you write beautifully – in fact, I think your passion comes through loud and clear (it’s wonderful!). My hubby and I are not on the same page with everything yet, but I know God is at work and I thank you for answering the call to minister to so many of us here. Keep it up! I look forward to reading the rest of this series, as we are just beginning the homeschooling journey with our eldest and kindergarten.

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  8. Bonnie
    May 4, 2010 | 5:46 pm

    Kimberly,

    I am new to your blog, but the Lord has used it in amazing ways to encourage my soul! I was convicted 4 years ago to trust the Lord with the size of our family, since then we have had two amazing blessings to add to our three we already had! Praise God! I have homeschooled my children for the last 6 years, but I have done so under the Charter School heading in our state, so our cirriculum was paid for, as well as computers provided and internet etc., it was basically public school cirriculum and was not Christ centered or meant for teaching all of the ages and stages of children I now have in my home. The stress that this method put on me as a teacher and mom, robbed me of any joy! I have strongly heard God lead me away from this method for our next year of schooling, and for me to have Jesus be the center of our teaching and to trust Him to provide. Financially this will be a leap of faith! I am looking foward to your upcoming posts for ideas and encouragement to continue on this journey! May God Bless you and your beautiful family!

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  9. Holly
    May 4, 2010 | 6:03 pm

    I so agree with you about frazzled homeschool moms. I remember the first few homeschool meetings at our church. Inevitably one Mom would cry through the whole meeting (they still are, actually), ready to give up and put her kids in pubic/private school. It profoundly affected me. I made a commitment to try to find joy in homeschooling and to make choices that lined up with that commitment. No Abeka here 😉 I’d go out of my mind! A couple of years ago I saw it happening to me….the going to bed every night feeling like a failure, with a list in my head of everything I DIDN’t get done. I regrouped, renewed and lowered my standard until I could once again go to bed feeling good about how much I DID get done. And *poof*, we were having joyful, happy days again 🙂

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  10. Kimarie
    May 4, 2010 | 11:43 pm

    You know what curriculum I use 😉 and even with that, I’m regrouping and prioritizing, making it fit our family better and better, as God different events our way. I want to assure you that you’ve NEVER come across as thinking your way was the best way. You always prefaced everything with “here’s what works for us and why”. (It just happens that we have very similar goals and family size! 😉 )

    Your heart comes across loud and clear, my friend. 🙂 Looking forward to this new series. It’s been a while since you and I talked curriculum…

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  11. Jeree B
    May 5, 2010 | 11:03 am

    The comments you posted sound like what I have been meaning to write to tell you. By reading through your blog (and a few others about large families who see children as a blessing and not an inconvenience)I have opened my heart to God’s conviction for the same thing. My husband and I decided just 3 months ago to stop impeding God’s plan for us and our family. And wouldn’t you know, immediately God has blessed us. We will be having our first (after 6 years of marriage) in November. We don’t know how in the world we will make it work d/t finances and husbands unique career field; but we are ready and know this will make us lean on God that much more.
    Thank you for your amazing story and openness and honesty. I don’t know if I would have ever heard these things in my small everyday world had I not been reading your blog.
    Have a blessed day!
    Jeree
    PS. I just LOVE your ‘not me Mondays’. Hilarious!

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  12. Kat
    May 5, 2010 | 1:28 pm

    Though mainly referring to Curricula in classroom settings, I think this is an important article for homeschooling parents too. Pretty cool that a homeschool math curricula was the only one to meet the standards for scientific rigor (though there were plenty of others that didn’t of course…)
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/237118

    Be well!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I wanted to thank you for the link to that article. I finally found the time to read it and it is terrific. Thank you!

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  13. Sandpiper
    May 5, 2010 | 1:34 pm

    Thanks for posting this! With the upcoming birth of our 7th baby, I’ve been wondering how I’m going to meet everyone’s educational needs next year. I’ve been browsing curriculum catalgogues with this in mind. It’s good to remember to pray carefully over each decision and know that ‘I can do all things’ through His strength. I’m not left out there, dangling on my own.

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