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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sonlight Blog Party: How did you decide on curriculum?

We first heard about homeschooling after my husband spoke to a guy from Idaho whose family was doing it. I hadn't, personally, met the family, but my husband returned from a training trip with this zany idea and tried to convince me of it. At first I thought he was crazy, but he managed to pique my curiosity by talking about how we would be able to travel as a family when all the other families were in school. We could travel to Europe in the low season and take advantage of lower airfares, cheaper hotels and uncrowded cities! It's true. That's what got me thinking about it at first. We love to travel and we wanted to pass that love on to our kids. Plus I wanted to visit my family in Italy and it would be waaaaay cheaper to go in September/October than it would be to go in July/August. I was willing to give it a second thought.

Later, over time, and many discussions, research and prayer, we developed better reasons, loftier reasons. But it's true that at first our reasons were pretty shallow. No matter. In the end, the end justified the means, or the reasons anyway.

We decided that our school needed a name. People were forever asking where our kids were going to go to school. Our brother and sister-in-law's kids were attending Hickory Christian Academy (HCA for short) so we decided that DCA or DelCharco Christian Academy sounded good. In time, we got to where we would answer the Where do your kids go to school? question with a nonchalant Oh, they go to DCA.

We not only named our school, but we sat down one day to to develop our goals, mission statement and vision for our school. I'll recreate them here for posterity's sake. Plus it might help a new homeschooler out - inspire them to create their own goals and mission. Or you might just think we're crazy. Whatever...

DelCharco Christian Academy (DCA) 

WHY WE HOMESCHOOL: [So on those days when I wanted to call it quits, I could pull out this list and remind myself. If my reasons had changed, I could enroll them in Beauclerc Elementary. If they hadn't, well...it was time to suck it up and just.do.it.]

1) Nobody can love or teach my kids better or want them to succeed more than me.

2) We want to be the major influence in our children’s lives; to have some control over the influences in their lives.

3) We want our children to have uncompromising character; for us to be proactive in their character development and education.

4) We want our children to have compassion for others; a heart for others; time before money; people over things; a true love relationship with Jesus.

5) We want our children to be able to work at their pace; explore their interests further; fill their loving cup when they need it; pace their maturity with appropriate exposure to sensitive material; teachable moments extended throughout the day.
  
 Mission Statement:

To develop bright, intelligent kids, who have a strong moral character, a heart for God and others and a life-long passion for learning.
[We then defined what some of these key words mean.]

Definitions:
  • Bright
    • Clear thinking/think on feet
    • Common sense
    • Articulate
  •  Intelligent
    • Depth of knowledge
    • Well rounded/founded
    • No fear of any subject
  •  Strong moral character
    • No compromise
    • Clear on absolute truths
    • Biblically based – no situational ethics
    • Respectful
    • Well mannered
    • Gal 5:20 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness, self-control
  • Heart for God and others
    • True desire to be in communion with Him
    • Selfless – thinks of others as more important than self
  • Life-long passion for learning
    • School does not end
    • Research options to make well informed decisions
   
Goals:
5-year: daily QT, solid relationship with Jesus, voracious reader; strong math skills.
10-year: fully-orbed human beings; making wise decisions; not easily swayed by peers; to be capable sailors; finding their niche in sports; active lifestyle (camping, hiking, fishing, running, biking, etc…); wouldn't consider drugs because they're just stupid.
Life: loving disciples of Christ following His lead; Servant heart; discipling others.

We have mostly met those goals. Not all. And we are still homeschooling so we are still a work in progress, but for the most part, we are doing well. But I digress. I'm supposed to be explaining how we decided on curriculum. 

I had read several books on homeschooling. [I do that. I like to research and do my homework whenever tackling a new project.] I was deciding between Abeka and Bob Jones when I learned about a homeschool convention that was in my town. A friend from church had told me about it and had photocopied the workshop descriptions and schedule for me. She had circled the ones she was going to go see. I poured over the schedule and workshop descriptions and did the same, circling the ones that seemed relevant and interesting to me. For one particular hour, there were no workshops that grabbed me so I decided to attend the one my friend, Beryl, had circled. It was about Sonlight. 

Shawne and Katie, the consultants, spoke about learning from "real books."[I *love* reading!] They told of the world focus that Sonlight has. [I want my kids to learn about the world!] They explained how the founders' desire was for a missionary family to remain in the field for one more year by providing them with a box of books and everything they'd need to homeschool their family for one year. [I want everything I need to come to me directly!] They explained how you could teach history, Bible, science and do read-alouds with multiple aged kids. [Hey, that's gonna save me time!] And how these books would be able to be reused with subsequent children. [Hey, that's gonna save me money!

I was hanging on to their every word. [That sounded like FUN, not school!] I  was incredulous to learn that you could teach using real books, not textbooks. [Can you DO that??! Is that  even ALLOWED?!?]  I took the catalog home and poured over it with my husband. I was hooked. I was a BELIEVER! We started our first year of homeschooling with Sonlight's Basic K (now Core A). Best.decision.ever.

Linking up with Sonlight's Blog Party.

Sonlight Blog Party

4 comments:

  1. I love this post- your kids are so lucky.

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  2. Thanks Deena! I hope one day they will think so too. Right now the oldest doesn't think so. The middle one does and the youngest...I'm not sure. I'm afraid to ask! LOL!

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  3. Love it! It does sound very similar to our story... except I was never organized enough to come up with written goals or a mission statement. We decided on a name, oh, about 8 years in. LOL!

    Thanks again for joining in the party! I do appreciate your participation!

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  4. Ahhh, just love revisiting your story. Very inspiring. We can have a second round with our grandkids, right?

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