Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Joy of Learning

There is nothing like seeing your child light up when exploring what they love. John loves nature and this grasshopper was like finding precious treasure! As long as he sticks with grasshoppers and not snakes, we'll be just fine :)

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NIV
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates"

I love this Scripture because it implies teaching as we are living our lives. As a mother, my goal for the day is to love the Lord. These verses say that loving Him is to be upon my heart first and then I can pass it on to my children. And I am to share a love for the Lord as we are living...not as a carved out devotional time but as a part of real life.

"Education" doesn't happen from 10am-11:30am each day. Learning happens from the moment our eyes open with the sunrise until our eyes shut at the end of a full day. Educating at home simply is living together and learning in the context of real-life interests, real relationships, and springs from felt needs. Children learn so much from eating breakfast together, reading living books together, doing chores together, cooking, exploring nature, watching movies, imaginative play, traveling, building things, puzzles, games.... Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to live and learn together in a natural way. A "lifestyle of learning" is what our goal is. We want to encourage our family's natural love of learning and create an environment that is experience-rich and resource-rich. To be experience-rich we are seeking to prioritize taking trips, exploring our surroundings, getting to know our community resources, and investing in like-minded relationships with other families. To be resource-rich we invest in wonderful books, excellent games, art supplies, the Internet, the library, and non-consumable tools (microscopes, gardening tools, carpentry tools, sports equipment, etc)

Years ago, I read this wonderful article of a mom's lifestyle of learning and have implemented many of these things in our family. I have also been very influenced by the writing of Marilyn Howshall who encourages us to listen to the Holy Spirit in teaching our children instead of our fears.

Proverbs 22:6 AMP
"Train up a child in the way he should go (and in keeping with his individual gift or bent), and when he is old he will not depart from it."

From this verse, I also believe that learning should be directed by their identity. Who did God create this child to be? What is his gifting and the purpose for which he has been called? What is my role in nurturing his identity instead of forcing my ideas for his future?
This is a great article on the concept of identity-directed learning.

I also wanted to share my favorite homeschooling books with you. Each one on this list has made a wonderful influence in my thinking about what I want our family to be and to experience.

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Educating the Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson
The Relaxed Homeschool by Dr. Mary Hood
How to Create Learning Centers in Your Home by Dr. Mary Hood
The Joyful Home Schooler by Dr. Mary Hood
Wisdom's Way of Learning by Marilyn Howshall
The 3 R's by Ruth Beechick
Better Late Than Early by Dr. Raymond Moore
The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola

I think the Lord gives the gift of homeschooling for mothers as much as for our children. This is the process the Lord is using to show me His love for me, His grace, His easy yoke, and that His plan is not burdensome but life-giving and nurturing. We are not to mimic a worldly system that is rote, boring, and soul-killing. We are to enjoy the freedom of being at home...an organic, living, changing, nurturing place where we experience joy, peace, growth, and above all, real love. What a blessing! What a priceless gift!

Enjoy the journey of living and loving together. It is rich, real and what "the good life" is all about.


Andrea said...

What wonderful encouragement, Aimee. You have a wonderful perspective. I will definitely be checking out your resources. I always say that "For the Children's Sake" and "Stepping Heavenward" are the 2 books I must read once every year.

Mama J said...

Hi, Sweet Girl...

Just read some more of your blogs...and loved all of them. I also love the pic of John. You have such a gift of encouragement and I know the Lord is dancing over you with singing (Zeph 3:17 - one of my favs...love you, MOM

dorothy said...

Thanks for the recommended reading list. I've read some of them, but never anything by Mary Hood or Marilyn Howshall. I'll have to check them out!

L.L. Barkat said...

Sounds just like what I hope for in our homeschool! I like the way you express it.

Mrs. Pivec said...

Just found your cheerful, encouraging blog. We have a lot in common (homeschooling Christian mamas who aim to live simply and with a great affection for God's earth), so I thought I'd say hello. I'll be back too; I've enjoyed your posts. :) Stop by and visit me sometime too if you like; I love company.

Erin said...

I so cherished the earlier days of homeschooling. As the boys have gotten into high school the wonder has diminished some. There is a lot of rote learning that has to be done. I have truly tried to find "mandatory" subjects that are presented in a real-life way but that isn't always easy. I still prefer this to traditional schooling. I love our rabbit trails!! Will sorely miss this when the season is over.BTW, why don't we try to find some neat field trips to do around Holden?!

David said...

Aimee-it is truly amazingly weird and kinda eery how similiar we are. I was reading through some of your older blogs and David (my husband) and I just keep shaking our heads. This one caughtmy eye-we have actually taught a young marrieds class on raising your child according to his/her own "bent". My boys are "big" now-about to be 14 & 16- and we are still very passionate about helping them find out who God designed them to be. My oldest(Sam) came home from the Sr. High winter ski trip(after owning the black diamond courses) and let me know he was going to be an efficiency-living, guitar-playing, web-designing, ski instructor! My response was-Cool. go for it. This is my passion during this stage of my life-to raise young men who know who they truly are(not what the world says)so that they can impact the kingdom in their own unique and divine way. Have fun! Each day is a blast if you choose for it to be!
Indy Aimee K