Thanks to the new addition we've had in our home the past month, my updates on this blog have been a bit lacking! I wanted to make sure I got my pictures posted of the kids first day of 1st grade :)
We are choosing to homeschool the kids again this year, but we're taking advantage of an awesome (and FREE) program that the Mesa School District offers specifically for homeschoolers - the Eagleridge Enrichment Program. Homeschooled students in grades K-8 can choose to attend this program for 1 or 2 days per week, and take part in enrichment classes such as music, art, PE, computers, library, etc. The primary (K-2) students are self-contained all day with one teacher who takes them as a group to their enrichment classes. Students in grades 3-8, however, get to choose the courses they want to take that interest them, and they switch classes during the day similar to a middle or high school model. Some of the courses offered for grades 3-8 include classes such as: Egypt, Creative Drama, Chess Club, Sign Language, Russian, Art, PE, Band, Photoshop, Spanish, Legos (yes, there is a legos course!) etc. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Eli and Mikayla are attending the 1st grade program one day per week, and so far they have absolutely loved it. They come home each day telling me all the wonderful things about "Mrs. V" and the new friends they played with. The only complaint I have heard so far is from Eli who asked, "Why does Eagleridge have to last so, so long?" (It is the length of a normal school day) When I explained to him that most kids who attend regular school have to go to school that long five days a week he said, "I NEVER want to do that!!" Ha! I guess he is realizing one of the many perks about our 2-hour homeschool days :)
And now for a random side note about homeschooling...
It seems like when it comes to homeschooling, many people fall strongly on one side of the fence or the other - some homeschoolers believe public schools are evil and they are fearful about sending their children there, and some parents who send their kids to public school think homeschoolers sit around all day wearing homemade clothes, singing hymns, and have no idea how to socialize with the general population. I don't identify with either of these schools of thought. For us, we believe that homeschooling is the best decision for our family, for right now. We have many good reasons to back-up our decision. But, we don't believe everyone else is supposed to homeschool. We don't believe parents are wrong, or somehow "less," if they choose a different educational route for their child. In fact, the only thing that I would look down upon when it comes to educational decisions, would be to NOT take the time to think through your options and seek the Lord as to where He may be calling you to send your child to school. Our kids spend so much time there, it's definitely worth giving the choice lots of thought and prayer. In the end, the "school down the street," might be EXACTLY where your kids are supposed to be. But, you may also find yourself choosing something different... choosing to drive a little further to attend a school of choice, maybe choosing to invest some money to send your child to a private school, or maybe you would find yourself choosing the option you said you would "never" choose. :)
I consider homeschooling a "season." Life brings many seasons, so whether or not the season of homeschooling will last for one more year, or many years, I don't know... but I believe we just need to be open to where God leads and follow his timing. It's worked out pretty well for us so far.
As for our current set-up...
I love the fact that my 6-year-olds still get to spend most of their days playing and exploring... not sitting in a desk.
I love that we are laying their educational foundation with a Biblical worldview that emphasizes Christian values.
I love that my kids do not spend 35 hours of their week in the care of someone else... not that I don't trust teachers (after all, I was one! teachers are amazing!), but I just feel lucky that person gets to be ME while my kids are still so young.
Now don't get me wrong, there are days that I long to ship my kids off down the street to the nearby school. I could certainly get a lot more done around here! Ha! Everyone needs a break, right? I am loving Eagleridge this year for that very reason :) But, all in all, I truly enjoy being with my kids. They make me laugh, and we have a lot of fun together.
I also personally, LOVE to teach (thus the reason I chose the career path that I did)!
The kids are also playing special roles right now in the life of the little one the we are caring for... I am so glad they are home each day to experience what it means to love someone simply because Christ loved us, and see what that looks like day in and day out, because it's certainly not glamorous. The life lesson they are receiving just from this alone, is probably worth more than any lesson they would receive in a 1st grade classroom.
Hence, the choice to homeschool is for US, the right choice. For right now.
So.... here's to a GREAT year of 1st grade!!