together in a way that is similar to a one-room schoolhouse approach. Instead of
spinning like a top giving three separate
spelling tests at the same time and darting
from one desk to the next helping with
handwriting or grammar, we do most of
our school day together.
I shape my children’s worldview by
personally teaching many subjects. I
strongly believe in hands-on teaching.
Last year we used the same art, music,
science, history, and Bible curriculum. By
teaching my children together as much as
possible, I spend more time with them on
a daily basis.
We try to begin each day around 8 o’
clock with Bible. Spelling, grammar,
writing, and history follow, with a morning
break. Then my children do their independent math and reading lessons. After
lunch we come together again for science,
art, and music. Of course, this doesn’t
happen every day, but it is our plan.
Yearly, I tweak my homeschooling
plan, eliminating curriculum that doesn’t
work and searching to find something to
replace it. One thing I can never be
accused of is the fear of trying something
new. It took five tries before I finally
stumbled upon the spelling curriculum we
have tried this year, Sequential Spelling,
which seems to be a perfect match for my
clan. Finally, my children love to learn
spelling! Since all of my children were
weak spellers, I use the same program at
the same level with all three.
We have always used Saxon math.
Kindergarten through third grade is
teacher-directed, using many manipulatives. In fourth grade, we introduced the
coordinating DIVE (Digital Interactive
Video Education) CD for independent
learning, so I am able to instruct the
youngest and help with problems.
For grammar and writing, we enjoy Bob
Jones materials, because they offer two
weeks of grammar followed by two weeks
of writing. I teach all three of my children
from the same book but expect higher-level proficiency from my oldest. I don’t
stress diagramming sentences and complex
parts of speech. The most important goals
in language arts are to learn to read and
write skillfully, which are essential skills
for any child to gain.
A well-used classroom can’t stay perfectly clean!
To enhance our lessons at home, we
select distant-learning classes or classes
taught online by a personal tutor. We sometimes use a local co-op, tutorial, or partner
teaching with another family. It has been
beneficial for my children to receive
instruction and feedback from other adults.
I carefully protect our homeschool time by
not running to frequent activities. In our
early years, it often felt like we were car-schooling instead of homeschooling,
because we participated in so many private
lessons, field trips, and classes.
I have learned that homeschooling is
not for the faint of heart. In our tenth year,
we have moved past the experimental
stage, and by God’s enabling grace, we will
homeschool through the high school years.
Perseverance has required a steadfast
commitment to God’s calling. Now, even
more than ever, I am convinced that upper
grades are not the time to release children
to humanistic teaching.
I treasure the blessing of getting to see
my children grow up right in front of my
eyes. In the tween and teen years, we
thoughtfully discuss issues in history,
science, and the Bible. It is a continual gift
to be able to “be there” when I need to
address and teach about a character issue.
Knowing that my children are learning to
be knowledgeable of the world through
God’s point of view gives me the assurance
that they will be ready to be used by God
as He wills.
Academic lessons intermittently move
aside for real-life lessons. When “life
happens” (whether that is an illness, a
water pipe bursting, a job change, or an
out-of-town visitor), I feel so very grateful
to have my children at home, giving me a
continual opportunity to influence their
lives. I cherish seeing my boys, who are
taller then me, still enjoying the fresh air
outside on a swing, and I never tire of
being handed one of the first flowers that
bloom each spring. These gifts are the
special treasures of every homeschool
parent. I know deep in my heart that I never
will regret our decision to homeschool our
children through all of their years of
school, including high school.
Lindy Abbott is a licensed nurse and
a certified elementary teacher. She married
her college sweetheart at 21 and has been
married for twenty-four years. She has
been homeschooling for ten years. She
takes care of the prayer garden at church
and helps in Bible classes for the youth.
Lindy loves to teach, cook, garden, blog
( http://lindylou-abbott.blogspot.com), and
sing to her Lord.