Tuesday, September 2, 2008

back to (home) school days

You know those ads for back to school sales that feature celebrating parents? You know the ones. The parents, fed up with the kiddos who've been annoying them all summer, are overcome with glee. The kids will be back at school, no longer in their parents' hair. The grown-ups lives with now be so simple. No more cares!

How ridiculous. Even when your kids go to "real" school, they're still your kids, and they're still there to annoy you. They are still there to be your responsibility. And, GASP, they are still yours to ENJOY.

Today our family is "back to school," which has a very different meaning when you are homeschooling. Like "regular" school families, we buy school supplies, and sometimes even get haircuts or new shoes. But on the first day of school, mom is not enjoying a latte after sending the urchins out the door. She's wondering, once again, what she's gotten herself into. She's excited about spending the year teaching her children and learning right along with them. She's a bit overwhelmed with the responsibility, but ever so thankful for this opportunity to form her children.

This year my homeschool has only three students: a first grader, a fourth grader, and a high school senior, all boys. I have an idea about what I want to teach them this year, but I know from experience we may end up learning something else entirely.

Here's a sampling of what's on our bookshelf:
Math 54 by Saxon. A true classic. Starting this book is considered a true milestone in our family: it's the first in a series of "real" math books. Love the content, style and repetition. No surprises here, just good solid math. Love it.

George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster. What a great book! When my Joey read this book history came alive for him. I know John's going to love it too. The others in the series, like Augustus Caesar's World, are just as awesome.

The classic religion series "Our Holy Faith." Published in 1961, they are rock-solid, easy to read, and filled with information. I learned more about my faith through homeschooling with these books that I learned in 12 years of CCD. (But that's another story entirely!)

"Wordly Wise 3000." This vocabulary building series is the best I've come across. It's very challenging, so I have the kids go a grade level lower than what it says on the cover.

Understanding God's World, from Abeka Books. An amazing science book if ever I saw one! Joey and I learned so much through this book when he was in fourth grade- I'm looking forward to using it again this year with his younger brother.

Speaking of science, the Jaye Wile books are out-of-this-world! They are actually written for home schoolers, and the experiments contained in them are easy to do.

I'd like to add more, but as I'm writing away here my young charges are asking to start school! This, like the lovely summer days, will not last. I know that soon (probably by tomorrow) they will complain that they would rather be watching Spongebob.

But I'll be here, ready to teach them what I can, when I can. And I'll try to keep in mind that all those great books are just tools, and that the most important lesson is one I will teach with my life: we are here to learn to know, love and serve God. If we are aiming to do that, everything else will follow.

No comments: