Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Classical Conversations Part II

As soon as the thought of tutoring occured to me, I thought why not? Afterall, I had been a teacher. I gave it some thought and decided to call president of our local group for details.

It turned out that I was able to tutor for the fall and she was thrilled. We set up a meeting time to discuss details about the job, the training, and the group. It was a perfect fit for me, and I signed on to teach the K4/K5 class in the fall.

Now the interesting part of this is that I am a former middle school math teacher with an elementary education background. The only elementary grade I felt equipped to "handle" was 5th grade. I just never saw my strengths as including the little ones.

But God knew I'd feel that way and decided BEFORE this moment to prepare me for what was coming. In February, K (age 5)'s Sunday School class was without a teacher when her husband was relocated. They needed someone to take over and to do it immediately. I didn't want her class to be without a teacher, so I signed on. Afterall, it was only the remaining 4.5 months, so I thought I could give the 4 and 5 year olds a try.

Surprisingly, I really liked it. And yes. This was a surprise to me. I was also pretty good at it. Which was a real shocker. After a few weeks, I began to learn what worked and what didn't with their age group. I also got a good handle on their skill levels. We were set. I had a great time with them. Wow. I can teach little ones! Cool stuff!

The really cool part for me was that God was preparing me for what was to come. He knew that the K4/K5 class in this classical group would need a tutor. He knew that He was going to lay on my heart the thought of teaching them. He knew I would not feel confident with this age group, so He took care of that ahead of time.

God is good. All of the time. I love when we get a moment to recognize His hand in our lives in an "ah-ha" kind of way. It is a faith builder and a reminder to me that when we follow His leading, He takes care of all of the details for us.

Can't wait for my training at the end of this month! This next year holds a lot of change for me, but the teacher in my is getting so excited. I am ready to look at curriculum and host a parent orientation! Yippee!

Oh, it feels great to be back in my "niche"!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Classical Conversations

The search began in the spring for a homeschool group or co-op to join for the coming fall. My church hosts one, but it meets in the afternoon. The afternoon is not my preference due to my morning napper, but I thought I would go to a meeting before deciding.

Before trying the group at church, I learned about a new group coming to my area in the fall, Classical Conversations. I had never heard of this group, but have always been attracted to the principles of a Classical Education, so I went to the informational meeting.

I loved it. Everything about the group suited me perfectly!

1. AM meetings. The group would meet in the AM, one morning a week for the younger grades.

2. Kindergarten. This was the first classical education group I found that began in Kindergarten. In fact, they began with K4, so T could join in too!

3. Diverse. The group was amazingly diverse! Yes, they were diverse in ethnicity, but they were also diverse in their curriculum choices and their implementation of the classical model. I was particularly excited about this. These women pulled from a variety of rescources, NOT just classical, to enhance their child's education. I was excited about the idea of a classical education framework, yet a diverse set of moms implementing it!

4. Mom's in charge. This group doesn't assign required homework or assignments. They introduce a "framework" of memory work each week. As the mom, you can determine how to implement the learning in your own home. You can do a lot with the memory work, or very little. The fine arts and sciences would be covered each week by the tutor, which was a nice bonus.

I came home SO excited, but we had to pause. The money was a bit more than we had planned and we weren't sure.

I visited the group at my church and it was also a GREAT group. But my husband could certainly tell that I didn't come home with the same enthusiasm. I knew we'd have a great time, but I still felt the Classical Conversations group was the right "fit" for us.

After some thought and prayer, we signed up, feeling that it was the right direction for our family. We knew we could cut back in some other areas and trust God's leading on this one.

A few days after registering, a thought occured to me: What about signing up as a tutor for CC? I wonder what that involves...

More on that next post...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So why do it?

A few years ago in my mom's kitchen...

Mom: You know I wanted to homeschool you kids, but your father thought it was a bad idea.
Me: (looking at dad) Thank you dad!

Really? Did I say that?

Yet here I sit on the brink of my first year of homeschooling, totally excited, totally convinced that I always thought homeschooling was a great idea.

Clearly, I didn't. So what changed? Why homeschool?

I have no clue what changed, but I am so ready for our homeschool journey to begin! Why? Why do I want to do it?

So in NO particular order, other than the order they came into my head:

1. God's leading. Ultimately, I am choosing to homeschool because my husband and I both think that God is leading our family toward homeschooling. At least for this school year. And for these kiddos. We feel a calling to homeschool them until late elementary school. For now. We remain open to God's guidance in this area.

2. Freedom. Freedom to travel when we want. Freedom to study what we want. Freedom to call a PJ day in the middle of the week. Freedom to start school at 7, 9, or even noon. Freedom to explore interests outside of the school curriculum. Freedom. Good 'ole freedom. I think this is what I am most excited about!

3. Extra-curricular Activities. I refuse to be the mom with a kindergartener who goes to school from 9-3:30 and then rushes off most days to sports, dance, piano, or church. For our family and our children...that is too much. Homeschooling allows us a bit more free time to pursue some activities without feeling like our kids never see their home.

4. Their education. While I have no major issues with public schooling AND think highly of the public schools in our county, all educational options have negatives. (including homeschooling) I find myself becoming more excited about the education I can provide my kids that they won't receive elsewhere. Not to mention, the teacher-student ratio can't be beat!

5. My education. Right now, I am just as excited about the education I am going to receive! All this cool stuff I never paid attention to in school, I am going to get to learn again. Yippee!

6. Family Focus. I am excited to give the kids a bit more time to be at home together. I can't imagine K (age 5) going to school all day next year while her little brother (age 17 months) is so young. They are just getting to know each other. This will give them more time to foster these sibling relationships before they are apart all day.

7. Time. Time to chase the butterflies. Time to watch clouds. Time to run around the park. Time alone. Time with siblings. Time with God. I hope this will give my children a few extra years with the beautiful gift of time to fill as they desire.

8. Relationship with God. I hope some extra years at home will ground them more firmly in their walk with the Lord before they "head off" to school. I hope create habits of spending time with Him.

9. Field Trips. We live very close to Washington DC, Annapolis, and Balitmore. Philidelphia, New York City, and Williamsburg are all possible day trips! (well, maybe overnight to Williamsburg) Who could ask for more? We are surrounded by history and culture! We can take advantage of these places at off hours, off season, and during homeschool weeks. (where they offer GREAT discounts) I love to get out there and "go", so I can't wait!

I think that about sums it up for now!