Today’s Chat will hopefully equip you with some resources to give to a mom who asks you about homeschooling! Have you ever had a friend ask you about homeschooling, but you really didn’t know what all to tell them? Or maybe you couldn’t explain it very well? I’ve been there, and I felt so badly afterwards because I didn’t think that what I shared was very helpful to her. The idea behind this post is based on real life situations and questions that I have encountered over and over as I’ve spoken with moms about homeschooling. So that is the inspiration behind this post. In this Chat I’m going to pretend that you are a mom who is interested in homeschooling and has asked me lots of questions about it. You don’t mind pretending along with me, do you? Of course you don’t! So you are the one asking me questions (it will be the black, bold, italic font), and I’ll be the one responding (it will be the regular gray font). Thanks for pretending along with me!
I am interested in homeschooling, Bridgett, but I really don’t know what to do. Where do I even begin?
That’s a great question with which to start! If you don’t have a vision for your homeschool, then you’ll flounder around and add way too much to your plate which can be detrimental and discouraging for a mom just getting started in homeschooling. Having a philosophy of education is SO important. I recently had a Chat with Emily Kiser from A Delectable Education, and she shared with me some real gold nuggets of wisdom. I’ll quote here something she shared that I think is super important.
First, I would say how important it is to have a philosophy of education to refer back to and give the underlying structure to your homeschool. I have worked with homeschool moms for over a decade now and have seen, more often than I would wish, the insecurity and indecision that all contributes to loads of guilt we feel in not giving our children the very best. No one needs that burden! A philosophy of education can help you weed out at least 75% of all the options available to you–all those “amazing things!” that work really well for your good friend but seem never to live up to your expectations.
What philosophy of education do you have?
Before I ever began homeschooling, I read and researched and read and researched and read some more. The beginning of our homeschooling journey started way too early and way too hard. You know how a momma does with that first child? Umm yeah, I was “that” momma, unfortunately. I so badly wish I would have waited until my daughter was 6 years old like Charlotte Mason recommends. But anyways, although I had read a bit about Charlotte Mason back in the beginning when I was reading and researching, we began down a neo-classical route via Classical Conversations and then after a few years went to a more traditional route via textbook-style curriculum and then last year at the end of spring, I came back full circle to Charlotte Mason via A Delectable Education. It felt like I had arrived home! I knew this was it. The End. Finito. No more late nights searching for the next best thing that had come along on the popular homeschool blogging or podcast scenes. No more late nights reading about what I could do to fix what was so messed up in our mornings. No more late nights researching the umpteem thousand curricula out there that promise a mother success with end results of genius children if she only follows the x+y+z formula prescribed in the curriculum guide and teacher’s manuals.
Tell me I’m not the only person who has done this?! I wasted so very much time because I didn’t have a philosophy. The philosophy is the “Why”, and it’s vital because your “How” on Monday morning during lesson time will be determined by it.
Ok, then what would be my next step to get started with a Charlotte Mason education using her philosophy as our basis?
Oh this is hard because I get downright giddy when someone wants to talk about Charlotte Mason haha! There is so much I could tell you, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much stuff. Let’s keep it simple. I’ll tell you just enough to get you started going down the right path.
~~I would listen to the first 3 or 4 episodes over at ADE’s podcast. Be sure to have a pen and a notebook to jot down notes because you’re going to want to remember what they say. It’s chocked full of wisdom!
~~Look for a copy of Charlotte Mason’s Volume One, Home Education. It’s the pink one. If you can’t find a copy of it for a decent price, you can read it online for free.
~~If you live in South Mississippi, come join our mom’s study group! If you don’t, then find one or two other moms who would be interested in reading CM’s Home Education along with you and get together once a month to discuss it. And don’t tell me you don’t have time. This is your kid’s education we are talking about here! Your child deserves a good teacher, and you deserve an evening with adult conversation 😉 You can look on our Google map in my Facebook group Charlotte Mason Soirée for like-minded moms who live near you, or you can check on Charlotte Mason in Community for groups that may already be established near you. When you find a mom or two, let me know and I’ll hook you up with a couple of resources that will help you organize your meetings and discussions.
~~While you’re over at Charlotte Mason Soirée, request to join the group. It is a wonderful group of women who are so encouraging, and it offers a unique approach to Facebook homeschool groups in that its focus and vision is true to Charlotte Mason’s principles as outlined by A Delectable Education.
~~Now this next part might be a tad overwhelming, and if it is then I would say scrap all of it and just schedule a consultation with ADE!
But here is what to do if you want to try it on your own. Check out this Subjects by Form Chart. You can use it to build your “curriculum”.
And many times there will be suggested books if you click over on that subject’s podcast episode and scroll down to the show notes and also the comment section. You’ll see what I’m talking about on that form. If there aren’t any books listed, then ask in the Charlotte Mason Soirée fb group. Tons of book lovers/hoarders/addicts over there! Oh, and a great place to buy books is used.addall.com
~~And it also wouldn’t hurt to take a couple of subjects at a time from the Subjects by Form chart and listen to the podcast episode that matches it. Consider it “professional development”. You need to continue your own education. And on that note, let me share with you another quote from my Chat with Emily. This is what she said when I asked her for what advice she would give to a mom pulling her kids out of school, but I think this is equally applicable to ANY mom because we all have to shift our perspective of what education is.
I would encourage her to expect a major paradigm shift in her own understanding of education. Most likely she was not educated this way and it is hard to get out of the mindset that education means answering comprehension questions, filling out worksheets, and stuffing a child with “all the right facts.” A CM education takes faith and requires a lot of grace to be shown *to ourselves* as we work through and figure it all out–which will most definitely be a lifelong process. In essence, it’s a very simple method, but as we learn more we go higher up and further in.
Wow, that’s all super helpful! But it does seem a little overwhelming since I’m so new to this to try to get it started on my own, so what are the consultations that you talk about from ADE?
Oh my goodness where do I begin to explain what an absolutely fabulous resource those consultations are! Well, I do have a post here and here, and they both have reviews about the consultations. These posts will probably answer a lot of your questions. But the short version is this…the consultation is personalized and customized Charlotte Mason help. It has two parts. The first part is a two hour phone consult with Liz Cottrill, and she is so wise and so easy to talk with. She instantly puts you at ease and wisdom just rolls off her lips as she talks with you! The second part of the consult is the “curriculum” portion that you will receive by email a little while after the phone consult. Emily Kiser, Liz’s daughter, cherry picks books for each subject for each of your students based on their abilities and your family’s specific dynamics. And this gal knows how to choose books…she’s a Living Books Librarian! You’ll get a copy of the scheduling cards, and there’s also post-consult email support because you will surely have questions after receiving all this good stuff! An ADE consult is the best thing since sliced bread 😉
And that is what I would tell a mom who is interested in homeschooling. Do you have any friends who are interested in homeschooling, but you just don’t know which direction to point them or what to tell them? This should give you a good start! Thanks for pretending with me, and let me know by leaving a comment if you have other questions that I didn’t answer.