Benefits of Homeschooling

Many people look for effective alternatives to educating their children. What makes one parent search for an alternative, may not be the motivation for another parent. However, why a parent chooses an educational alternative like homeschooling is not important. The reasons are infinite. For many parents, the conventional educational system leaves a lot to be desired. Regardless of the reasons, the benefits of homeschooling can be substantial.

 

Personalized Education
One of the most obvious benefits of choosing to homeschool as an alternative is the ability to personalize the curriculum. Of course, many states have rules and guidelines, however, there is still a lot of room for personalization. This can be a huge benefit if your child responds better to a certain style of learning or is struggling with a particular subject. You even have the ability to add subjects to your curriculum if you want to, or if your child has a very specific interest in something. More often than not, you are not teaching from the journal of clinical dentistry, so the topics lend themselves to personalization and flexibility.

 

Control
Another major benefit to opting to homeschool is the ability to control your child’s surroundings and influences. This can be helpful if your curriculum has a Christian or spiritual focus. You don’t have to worry about competing philosophies being taught to your child. This is often a problem when it comes to public schools. The curriculum generally doesn’t embrace spirituality on any level. Instead, a child may be taught acceptance of certain theories that you may disagree with.

 

The Ability to Adapt the Teaching to Your CHild
The conventional school system often requires that a child learns in a particular fashion. However, this may not always be beneficial for your child. Your child may struggle to learn something under strict time constraints and in a noisy classroom. As a result, there may be some topics that your child doesn’t learn as well. The homeschooling environment seeks to create understanding and learning for the individual child, more often than not. A parent can try different teaching techniques to help their child learn something. The traditional school setting doesn’t have the manpower, time, or budget for this level of flexibility in teaching.

 

Deciding to homeschool can be an extremely beneficial move when it comes to helping your child grow and learn in a more personalized and focused environment. Your child doesn’t have to compete for the attention of the teacher with 20 other students. More often than not, personalized attention is a natural byproduct of this style of schooling. It allows the parent to adapt his or her teaching style to the child to help them learn.

IDMC 2017

I was able to attend IDMC or Intentional DiscipleMaking Conference in Singapore from August 31 to Sept 2 this year. It was unplanned but the Lord blessed me with the airplane and accommodations for the trip. It was my first IDMC experience and it was a beautiful one. It was a heart probing and deep reflection type of conference. I went there with an expectant heart and the Lord has used this conference  to rekindle my spiritual passion.

It was awesome to be with 5,300 delegates from all over the world and be worshipping God together. It was even more special to know that I’m not the only one who wants to  draw nearer to God and have a deeper relationship with Him.

The topics were divided into 7 plenary sessions. And each one focused on how to rekindle our spiritual passion. If you asked me which one was my favorite – I would have to say every session was equally relevant and important. Rev Edmund Chan was able to divide every lesson into bite-sized life application and gives enough time to really reflect on my life after every plenary.

My heart needed to be broken so that the Lord can do an inner work in my life. I must “break up the fallow ground” so that my spiritual passion will be restored. There are 4 areas in my life  which needs to be checked upon – “primal wounds of the heart”, “cyniscism of the mind”, “paralysis of the will” and “overcrowding of the soul”.

I was also able to attend workshops about “keeping fresh in the ministry” and “living the intentional life”.  The workshops were panel discussions among different individual sharing their personal lives and how they relate to the topics. It was a very candid sharing of lives and experiences – which allows the attendees to get a glimpse of how God is working in each of their lives.

I went home broken yet filled because I know that the Lord is with me. His love propels me to move forward in the calling He has set in my life. My spiritual passion is renewed and I pray that in the coming days, I shall always be reminded of all that I have learned from the conference and that I experience God in a deeper way in my life.

 

Review of 7th Grade Curriculum

By the grace of God, we’ve finished our 7th year of homeschooling.  I shared the different curriculum we’ve used for the school year 2016-2017. Here’s a rundown of how it went for our 7th Grade Curriculum:

  • Teaching Textbooks Math 7 – was the biggest discovery of our school year. My daughter who previously couldn’t work on Math by herself and least loved Math is now able to do Math independently and nows understands the concepts better. I see her looking forward to doing her Math lessons now. It probably has to do with the fact that she is a very visual learner and Singapore Math just wasn’t the curriculum that fit her learning style.
  • Voyages in English 7 – She continued working on Voyages in English specifically the grammar part. She continually enjoys the sentence diagramming part and is challenged by the grammar lessons she goes through. We don’t do the Writing part of Voyages as she uses another program for that.
  • Writing with Skill 1 – She completed her lessons in Writing with Skill 1 and finds it challenging. I see a tremendous improvement in the way she writes and I like how Writing with Skill is very organized in the way it teaches outlining and other components of writing.
  • Bob Jones Explorations in Literature – This is our first year to use Bob Jones Literature and I can honestly say that it is a very rich curriculum. We weren’t able to finish reading all stories and discussing everything. I find the Teacher’s Guide complete and sometimes overwhelming.  The literary pieces were interesting and covers a variety of  literary forms.
  • Mystery of History volume 3 –  This is the subject that we do multi-level. I read aloud to them and we discuss the stories together. Each child does their own notebook and try to do activities together to enrich learning.
  • Apologia Young Explorer’s Chemistry and Physics – We’ve finished all the Young Explorer books and this is the last in the series. My daughter learned so much about how things work and made fun notes for every topic. She isn’t a very “Science” person so I am thankful that Apologia Young Explorer series was a good fit for her.
  • Bible Study Guide for All Ages Unit 4 – After 4-5 years of using Bible Study Guide for All Ages, we’ve finished going through all the units. This is also a subject that we do multi-level and this curriculum helped us walk through the entire Bible in chunks that was just appropriate for the ages of my kids. We read through the whole Bible together and discussed the different lessons we learn from every story. There were coloring activities, mapping activities and a timeline of the events in the Bible.
  • Rex Publishing’s Asian History for Social Studies – We only used this textbook as a spine. My daughter read the historical portions but for majority of the lessons, I asked her to use the book as a guide upon which topics to research on. She was able to learn about the different countries in Asia and know more about historical details of the Asian countries.
  • Jo-es Publishing’s Parola for Filipino – This is an easy reading textbook and also has up to date contents about the present condition of our country. It also has Ibong Adarna at the last quarter. We are used to Jo-es Publishing’s Binhi for Elementary students so Parola was a good fit for us.
  • Middlebury Middleschool German – Even after our review of Middlebury Middleschool German, my daughter continued on learning German and is almost finished with the full year course of German 1. She is enjoying and actually learning German!
  • Calligraphy practice set for Arts – She didn’t finish the brush calligraphy worksheets that I bought for her, but she attended a workshop instead.  She also watched several videos from SkillShare for arts. She also attended a painting workshop over the summer and joined the exhibit.
  • Daily exercises for PE – She jogs at least 3x a week.
  • Music – plays the keyboard and learns new songs.
  • TLE – she sew clothes and worked on some crochet projects

Homeschool Help: Note Taking is Important

I believe that as a homeschooler, we should teach our children to take notes. As young as 2nd grade, we have been starting this habit at our house. When we are studying a lesson in Science, History or Social Studies, I require my children to write down important information on their notebooks. This allows them to remember what they are learning, process the information and practice their dictation and spelling skills as well.

When the children were in lower grade school levels, they  used the simple lined notebook which can be bought from the bookstores. They would write and list down information as they hear it. I would indicate to them what information would be important – like the what, when, where how and why of whatever we were learning. As the years go by, they eventually learned what information to record.

There are some children who are highly artistic like my daughter, and she has began to take notes using diagrams instead of words and sentences in her upper grade levels. Here are some samples of her work:


While my son continues to take down notes using words and sentences. Sometimes, we also use special pages. We have used Notebooking Pages before and it was helpful too. You can also check out Mind Mapping.

Whatever format your child wants to use, I believe that it is an important skill they need to learn as we homeschool them.

Learnings from Homeschool Curriculum Online Summit 2017

A month ago, I signed up for the free Homeschool Curriculum Online Summit. I was looking forward to learning more about homeschooling  since I am now homeschooling a 7th grader! The summit was accessible online and was available from May 3-10.

The summit started with a keynote session from Davis and Rachael Carman talking about preparing for a Christ-centered homeschooling. Then every day, there were several sessions tackling particular subjects like Math, Science, Language Arts, History and Finding the Right Tools for You. I wasn’t able to listen to all the sessions but was able to catch a few of the sessions.

I listened to Tom Clark as he talked about “But Algebra isn’t the same as Arithmetic! What do I do now?” I learned that math shouldn’t just be something that the children memorize but internalize. The curriculum we use should help the children understand and learn the “whys” of the different math concepts. I also learned that when the children find out what went wrong in the equation or the answer, it helps them remember the concept more than just correcting the math problem for them.

Diana Waring was such a bubbly speaker as she talked about “The Timeline of Teaching History to Your Children”. It reminded me the following truths in learning history:

  1. There are always 2 sides to a story. Even in teaching history lessons.
  2. Use various sources for history.
  3. Use wisdom when to introduce hard topics like the Holocaust
  4. Walk through the history at least two times.

I hope that the Homeschool Curriculum Online Summit will be an annual event as I really learned a lot from the few sessions that I was able to attend. I am looking forward to more homeschool conferences, as they say learning never stops!