I've not talked about homeschooling on my blog, so I thought I'd see if I could find anything interesting to say on this topic, mostly because I haven't been able to think of anything else to write about today!
We do use a packaged curriculum, and follow the guidelines, loosely. The curriculum we have chosen emphasizes the use of literature, rather than textbooks, and we all enjoy the times of reading aloud together that come with our schoolwork. We don't follow a planned yearly schedule, with breaks at certain times, we just do school whenever we aren't doing something else. Often, I'm reading aloud to the younger children, while they do ministry work, like sorting donated clothing.
If a team is visiting, we take the week off school, and the kids participate in the ministry that week, to whatever level they are able. My children are learning to be dental assistants, assistant pharmacists, translators, construction supervisors, and many other things! Currently, the children are taking turns having days off school, so that they can help with our big construction project.
This version of schooling has resulted in an unusual education for our children. They love to read, and excel at math, but they also have learned some very interesting, non-classroom skills.
Spanish - this one is huge, of course. Officially, this is a classroom subject, but it has been my experience that few people actually learn to communicate in a foreign language through being taught in a classroom. We are blessed to have this opportunity to live where we can learn Spanish through immersion. Each family member has a different level of ability, with Russell at the top, being totally fluent. It's safe to assume that none of us would speak as much Spanish as we do now, if we didn't live here!
Construction skills - all of the kids have a great deal of knowledge in construction. Kirstin wired her own bedroom for electricity when she was 18. Bethany drives the front end loader, at 11. Russell, Kirstin, and Christopher can all lay bricks in a very professional manner. Kirstin can draw blueprints using a CAD program on the computer. Russell is a very competent carpenter, and has lots of experience leading construction crews, in both languages.
Commercial cooking skills - this is mostly for Rachel, who began her cooking career making breakfasts for visiting teams back when she was about 11. For the past few years, she has been cooking dinners and breakfasts for all the teams, which generally consist of 35 to 50 people (including our family, 'cause we eat, too).
Nevertheless, I've had my doubts over the years, that this unorthodox educational method was going to bring about great results. We have so clearly underemphasized the traditional academic subjects and traditions!
However, Kirstin is in college now, taking courses online with Taylor University in Indiana (a very heavily academic school). She hasn't taken a large number of credit hours (she is doing college part-time, so that she can continue to invest some time in the ministry work), but after completing 8 classes, she has maintained a straight 'A' average, so I guess I'm gonna have to get over the idea that she wasn't prepared for advanced academic work!
So, those are the basics of how we do school. Somehow, in addition to everything else we're doing here, we manage to squeeze it in.