Family and Friends Friday: Swanson’s School

I love learning.

I love teaching.

I love instilling the love of learning in others.

We home school.

My husband graduated from private school. I graduated from public school. We both attended public universities. If truth be told, I never thought we would home school. I investigated many educational opportunities for our kids when they were younger: public, private, home schooling, charter schools, etc.

Personally, I have taught just about every age group from preschool to college. While I knew I enjoyed teaching, I wondered, “Could I teach my own kids?” That was the BIG question.

Although Jadon attended a private Christian school for Kindergarten, I think Jon and I always knew we would wind up home schooling our kids. There are a lot of reasons, but the main one is we really enjoy spending time with our kids and seeing their faces light up when they learn something new.

As well, I just wasn’t so sure that a one-size-fits-all education model was the right choice for my children, specifically my son, at least in these early years. He is an active boy, who is very bright. I could just see him getting labeled in traditional classes. Finally, Jon and I didn’t see why kids needed to be in school for seven or eight hours a day, when we could teach them the same material in two or three hours.

A few years ago, I came across a website discussing various home schooling philosophies. One in particular stood out to me like no other, the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason.

While I am still learning about this method, what I have gleaned from her is the importance of short lessons, especially for younger students; a lot of physical activity, specifically outside exploring nature; good literature, or as she calls it “living books” and a strong emphasis on character development by developing good habits from a young age.

There were many curriculums to choose from, or I could have created my own. In the end, I chose My Father’s World, along with using the reading lists from Ambleside Online , in order to expose my kids to even more great literature.

This year, Jadon is in 2nd grade. As his primary curriculum, we are using  My Father’s World Adventures. This is a one-year unit study for 2nd and 3rd graders, which includes U.S. History and Geography, Bible, Reading, Handwriting, Science, Art and Music. Although this is Jadon’s primary curriculum, Jamison joins us most of the time, too.

Jadon’s other subjects are Spelling by Sound and Structure, Primary Language Lessons (Language Arts) and Singapore Math.

Although, Jon and I are both musicians, we didn’t want to push music onto our kids. However, Jadon asked to continue piano lessons, after participating in a group music class for two years. This year a friend, who is a piano teacher, and I are trading piano lessons for her son and Jadon. He has his first official piano lesson next week. He is so excited!

Miss Jamison is in Kindergarten. For her main curriculum, we are using My Father’s World from A to Z. Since she joins us for most of the Adventure’s subjects, we are focusing on phonics and reading in the kindergarten program. However, this program includes Reading, Math, Science, Bible, Creative Thinking, Character Development and Art.

Jamison and Jadon are both swimmers, and continue to take lessons at our local YMCA, which is their PE class. As well, we spend a lot of time outdoors, playing games, running, jumping and enjoying nature. We are so thankful to live in an area of the country that is absolutely gorgeous and has much to discover.

Our family participates in two co-ops, which holds classes on various Fridays throughout the year. One co-op is just beginning this year. It has been fun to be a part of this collective endeavor with other families. During Fall quarter, Jadon is taking Science in the Kitchen and PE. Jamison is taking Arts and Crafts for Young Kids and Bible Stories in Action.

Additionally, we are beginning a new co-op this year for science, using the Apologia Science curriculum written by Jeannie Fulbright. This year, the study is Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day.

As an elective, the kids are taking a Lego Lab class, where they will learn to collaborate with other students, think analytically, logically, and creatively, and to integrate different experiences and knowledge to form reasoned judgments and solve problems. All using Lego kits. What fun this is going to be, especially for Jadon!

For us, home schooling has not been the easy decision. We have made many sacrifices, but they have all been worth it. Our days don’t always go smoothly. We have moments where I wonder, “What WAS I thinking?” Balancing ministry, a home business, and home schooling is hard at times, but the time I get to spend with my kids is amazing!

I am thankful to have a supportive husband, who encourages me to pursue my occupational and ministerial pursuits, along with being hands-on in assisting with our children’s educational goals.

Will we always home school? I can’t answer that. For now, though, it works. Actually, it more than works. It’s the right decision for our family for this season of our lives. Although it requires a delicate balance, our family wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything. We will take it one year at a time.


2 responses to “Family and Friends Friday: Swanson’s School

  1. Hi Jada!
    Love your post. After teaching in the public school system, once married with kids, our family started with private Christian school, then homeschooled for several years and ended up full circle in public school. As you know, now our 2nd oldest is at a private Christian college. I’m so glad that the Lord directs us to do what’s best for our families in His perfect timing. Reading your post makes me miss the HOMESCHOOL DAYS!

  2. Oh, I have heard WONDERFUL things about the Apologia Science. I can’t wait to hear what you think about it later this year!

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