Saturday, March 10, 2018

I Made a Vlog...?!


Yes, I did. I know! What am I thinking?!

Truly, I have no idea what I am doing, but it was something that would not leave my head and, having some time on my hands on my own, I thought, "Why not?" So I set up The Wholehearted Home on YouTube.

This is so scary for me and I really have no idea what I am doing! I'm such an introvert and cringe when I hear my voice! 😅 But I have so been enjoying watching other vloggers sharing their faith and lives that I want to have a go, too.

So I would love it if you watched my intro below, then head over to my new channel (!) and let me know what you think :D


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

My Son is Five (Why I Am So Thankful For Time)


Our Boy

At 8.19pm on the 2nd March, 2013 our son, Josiah, was born into this world. Pudgy, wiggly, and beautiful - he's been a joy right from the start. "He's an old soul," my midwife told me, cradling him in her arms, his little blue/black eyes staring back at her. I loved him deeply. 

He was the child we would not have had if we had not lost our two previous pregnancies. He was such an answer to prayer after many heart-longing pleadings. His name was the direct result of a very vivid dream I had, totally changing the name we had thought we had chosen.

He thrust me into the depths of motherhood full on and all the sacrifices it requires in those early days: sleep deprivation, confusion, desparate midnight-hour Googling to find the answer to a million pressing problems. Despite being waist-deep in pits of anxiety, I fiercely fought through it to give him what he needed.

Warrior. Tender-hearted. Competitive. Funny. Goofy. Gentle. Clever. He's our first born boy and he just turned five. 

How We Could Be Living

Five! It is amazing how quickly the years have passed. The saying really is true that the days are long, but the years are short.

And this is what I really want to share with you today, something that has been on my heart these last few weeks, something that I really am thankful to the Lord for...
I am so grateful for time. That is one of the key blessings of homeschooling children.
According to our culture's status quo, now that Josiah is five, that's it - he  doesn't need to be at home anymore. He's "old enough" to start becoming independent from family life and parental care. Parents matter, of course, but it's time that there are other people having more influence on his mind, his heart, his will.

If we had not been led to homeschool our children, that's it. Our time with him - and his time to just be a kid - done. A mother said to me today, "It feels so unnatural to send my kid away for six hours a day" (she isn't homeschooling...yet). Over twenty-five hours a week away from home. School children spend more of their waking hours with their peers and their teachers.

I sit here and feel really sad. Somehow, that just doesn't seem logical. Or a good idea. Or right.

What We Have Instead

I'm so thankful, therefore, that these school days for our son are not in a separate life that we, as his parents, have little part in. I'm so thankful that I'm with him as he learns to read, as he discovers something new that he is so interested in, as we explore the world - together.

Since five is little and really does not require all that much "school", we really only spend 45mins - 1 hour on our learning each morning. Then, the rest of the day, we are free to continue doing life together that we have been doing since he (and his little sister) have been born.


Do You Want That Too?

So I just really want to encourage you if you have been considering homeschooling but haven't quite taken the plunge...

I am so new to this and there are definitely sacrifices to make (though, in some ways, they don't feel much like sacrifices at all) - but the joy, the blessing, the gift, and the wonder of giving your child breathing space to be the unique person God has made them to be, and to be there with them, it's an incredible honour and privilige.

And, from mothers who have gone before me, whom I have spoken to or have read from, they all say this one thing: they have never, ever regretted keeping their kids at home. Homeschooling has it's hard moments, but it is just so worth it. There is so much freedom in this lifestyle.

We're free to go to the beach at 1pm and play in the early Autumn water.

We're free to play Lego for two hours, following instructions to make a robot.

We're free to follow whatever interests him right now (World War II and the Titanic) and find different ways to expand his interest further.

We're free to follow rabbit holes.

We're free to just chill on the couch, read books, play with a friend, or watch Magic School Bus.

Freedom and time. 

The best possible combination for learning, growing, and maturing. And as a mother, what other priority could I have as I steward these children?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Our Plans for Homeschool - Kindergarten (Term 1, 2018)


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Before I Begin

Can I just share with you that I have no idea what I am doing? Truly 😲

Even though I have been reading, and reading, and reading about everything homeschool for the past three years...

...have scoured through every possible curriculum that sparked an interest and changed my mind on as many as I have read...

...and have thought so much about why we are doing this and what I hope our homeschool life will look like...

...In reality, I just have no idea. I am just beginning and really am just leaning on the Lord to guide us, change our direction, reveal His will for these children of His.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9

So even though these are my "plans" (and even then, I hold that term so loosely), and I believe God has directed me to come up with these goals for our kids, I know so well that we won't do this all, nor in the order or way I have written. Perhaps it will all go according to plan! But I am holding these ideas with an open hand because, like I said, I have no idea what I am doing.

You Homeschooling Mamas Rock, Thank You!

That being said, in my preparation for this year (our first homeschooling year), I have found the posts of other blogger homeschooling mothers on curriculum and how they plan their days so incredibly helpful. In fact, blogging homeschooling mothers are a blessing. I love the internet!

I can't imagine what it was like when no-one else homeschooled, and if they did, they lived in a different state or country so, the day-by-day and year-by-year mother's were doing this totally on their own...(Well, physically on their own, God had their backs). I can't imagine how hard that would have been.

So cheers to you, pioneer homeschooling mum's.

And, thank you, blogging homeschooling mum's - for sharing your lives, plans, failures, and successes. You pave the way for the rest of us!

The Philosophy Shaping Our Plans

If you have followed my blog for some length of time, you will know that out of all the home educating philosophies out there, the one that is most dear to my heart is the Charlotte Mason method.
The Charlotte Mason method really is very beautiful and to me, offers such a rich, well-rounded education for children that will spark their excitement for the world God has made, as well as feed them intelligent, worthy, and nourishing ideas and ideals.
A good summary is here and I found this one implementing CM for preschool years the best here. (There is also more on my Pinterest board for CM.)

That being said, I won't be a Charlotte Mason-purist. If I ever get that way, it will be far down the track.

Baby steps.

And the four main baby CM steps I am relying on in these early years are these:

1. Living Books
2. A Feast of Ideas (both planned and interest-led)
3. Nature Rich
4. Rooted in Faith-Based Resources

Briefly, we will use an enormous amount of books. Twaddle-free books (that is, not dumbed-down textbooks or stories), but living books - stories that bring history, a person's life, or a topic alive and breathing. In this way, the knowledge that our children will be growing on will be rich and meaty.

We will also offer them many subject forms, as Charlotte Mason said to give them a vast array. Their learning will really be feast-like. Putting them in touch with nature and God's creation will be a priority, both in getting into it and helping them observe it.

Tying this all up to deep stakes in their soul's will be putting them in touch with Him who made them and Whom they belong to - by His Word, by His World, by His Will.

This is the goal of my heart and hands for these two children.




Curriculum Plans

So what are we doing this term? 😀

Core:

Language Arts: Reading Eggs and Reading Eggs supplement workbooks
Handwriting: Copywork
Math: Math For a Living Education Level 1
Lots of pre-readers, picture books, read alouds (eg. Beatrix Potter)

Faith:

Memory Verse: "Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture." Psalm 100:3
Bible: Reading through this children's Bible book
Theology: Leading Little Ones to God
Hymn: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"

Enrichments:

Science: Sonlight K (not all, very basic implementation)
Geography/History: Interest-led (so far, really into the Titanic and World War II)
Artist Study: Claude Monet
Rhymes: Goosey Goosey Gander, Humpty Dumpty
Nature Study: Walks and journaling
Swimming lessons

I think in a few weeks I will write a post on how our mornings go and what we do with each of the parts. I'm very happy with what we are doing, I am still working out the how. We definitely do a lot of things with our Morning Basket (best explanation here), and I see that as our core time together before we move on to one-on-one time. Maybe I will write a post on our Morning Basket since we spend so much time each morning on it.

So here are our plans for this term. What are some things you are doing for your homeschool this term? Do you have a favourite?