I was wondering if you have your curriculum for the upcoming school year planned out? My hubby and I are VERY new to homeschooling and are always open to what other, like-minded, families are doing. Right now we only have 1 daughter of school age..she will be starting 1st grade - our other two are still little bity. We already feel a little bit overwhelmed about what to focus on and where to start. I did browse through your past curriculum posts - I was just wondering if you are still using much of the same stuff, or if you have changed things up a bit over the years?
Anyway. We hope you are having a wonderful weekend, and a fabulous SON-day! We look forward to hearing about your upcoming school year!
In His Name,
The Turner Family
Hello Turner Family,
I sure hear you. There are so many curriculum options; so many varying views on the hows and whys of education; our own backgrounds and of course the desire to best equip our children for an unknown future. As all of these considerations tug at our minds we can feel completely overwhelmed and lost. Choosing a curriculum involves so much more than just... choosing a curriculum, doesn't it?
Isn't it a comfort to know that God knows the future (Is. 46:10) and is a very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1)?
I absolutely want to share some specifics regarding curriculum choices for first grade, but please join me in first considering a few overarching ideas that just may eliminate a lot of the choices out there.
Your most helpful tool in homeschooling is absolutely free- it is wisdom from God through prayer (James 1:5). As a husband and wife I would encourage you to pray together asking the Lord to give you wisdom to know where you should stand on the following issues and the boldness to carry these beliefs into your homeschool future.
1. WHO ARE YOU ARE EDUCATING FOR? I know it sounds like a "no-brainer" for a Christian to make their number one goal to educate their children for service to God, but as Robin Sampson shares in What Your Child Needs to Know When, the educational ideas we have grown up with really mirror those of the Ancient Greeks rather than the Ancient Hebrews. Your own background and the opinions of men may tempt you to question if your goals are too simplistic at times... too dated.
The goal of Ancient Greek Education (and in turn, the goal of the current public school system) is to prepare individuals to serve the state, while the goal of Ancient Hebrew Education was always to prepare individuals to serve God.
I would encourage you to determine your goals for education. If your goals are different than those in the public schools, don't be concerned if your curriculum looks different than theirs as well.
Nothing in education is neutral- that is a Greek idea.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy
and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after
the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
- Colossians 2:8
2. WILL YOU SHELTER FROM EVIL? You will also need to decide if you plan to shelter your children from evil. Your stand on this issue will impact everything from curriculum to reading choices, to movies, music and so on.
Tom Eldridge points out in Safely Home:
The first conflict in recorded history was a battle over education.
In other words, there has been a war over knowledge that dates all the way back to the Garden of Eden. You will remember that Adam and Eve had the choice to walk in the knowledge and obedience of God; gaining only the knowledge He deemed best OR to take a different route; eat the forbidden fruit and know everything good AND evil.
As we prepare our children for their future we need to decide if we want them to be exposed to good OR to good and evil. I do not mean that we should shelter them from any conflict-- certainly conflict and consequence are for our instruction in the Scripture and in other godly books. What I am speaking against is the argument that our children should be exposed to evil (witchcraft, swearing, immorality) so they can become so accustomed to evil that it will not bother them in the future.
Does Scripture teach that we should learn to tolerate evil or flee from it?
I would have you wise unto that
which is good,
and simple concerning evil.
- Romans 16:19
Abhor what which is evil;
cleave to that which is good.
- Romans 12:9
3. WHAT WILL BE ESTEEMED AS A LITERARY CLASSIC IN YOUR HOME? You will need to decide what your family views as "classic" literature within your home. Will you defer to Philippians 4:8 or will you trust what tradition and the state school system call classics?
There is a long tradition in this country of resistance
to the wisdom of the Greeks: Thomas Paine,
Benjamin Franklin, and Noah Webster all judged
the classics to be of scant use.
- Learning from the Greeks, Commentary Magazine,
Valiunas, 1998/ Robin Sampson What Your Child
Needs to Know When, p.62
THE NITTY-GRITTY STUFF
Simply by deciding Who you are educating for; your view on sheltering from evil and whether or not you will embrace what the world calls a "classic" goes a long way in helping us to weed out what we don't want to cover, doesn't it?
What about what we would like to cover? If I were to start over with my first born in first grade I would likely choose the following:
1. My Father's World- Their created curriculum is sweet and Christ centered. We are loving their 1st grade reader Bible which is perfect for teaching little ones to have their own morning quiet time. They also sell resources created by other publishing companies. Those may need to be used with some care. One thing I like about My Father's World is that it is built to grow with the homeschooling family later combining lessons together with siblings. (BTW- half their profits go directly to Bible translation).
2. I would learn about the Charlotte Mason method and I would utilize websites like Ambleside which encourage Charlotte Mason methods including time outdoors, art, Bible and so on. I would skip the fairy tales and wait on the foreign language, but sweet picture books like James Harriott's Treasury for Children would be on my list of read alouds.
3. I would seek to develop a love for being read to and limit non-Christian videos. We love Cedermont Kids and Steve Green Hide Em In Your Heart.
4. I would also be sure they learned their Phonograms using flash cards (if you haven't had the opportunity to learn phonograms yet you may want to order the phonogram CD here) and teach them how to write just sitting side by side with a wipe off board. I would teach the formation of a letter a day.
5. And I would help them to learn simple math. We liked Rod and Staff for this age. I might even order a math CD (like this one) or play math games.
And I would just seek to enjoy them and teach them to enjoy being a part of our family. I hope you will relish these early years. It will go by so quickly...
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