School Books 101

August 27, 2008


WARNING! Lengthy article ahead about homeschooling! lol

Well we’re gearing up for another school year here. Like I’ve said before, I homeschool, but it’s a unique homeschool. Our church has a small group of administrators that distribute curricula, give tests, and (best of all) handle all the administrative paperwork. We pay tuition to cover these expenses. We parents teach the children at home, grade all their bookwork, and ensure that the children do well on their tests. The standards are extremely high and the children have been receiving an exceptional education. This type of schooling is not exactly private schooling, and it’s not exactly homeschooling. The term I have heard is “umbrella” school. Parents teach the material and enforce the discipline, administrators regulate the curriculum and distribute and record tests and progress. It’s the best of both worlds. But I call it “homeschool” just because it’s easier for others to understand the concept; very few people know what “umbrella” schools are and I tire of explaining it to every nosy person at the supermarket, lol.

We parents also regulate music, art, and languages. The umbrella school handles the curriculum for topics concerning mathematics, grammar, science, and etc. In elementary grades, books on art and music theory are designated. However, once a student reaches 7th grade, the pursuit of electives materials is up to the parent. Music is mandatory, but the curriculum and/or instruction is up to parents. Same with high school art or other electives.

Elementary school grades are pretty cut and dry. There are a lot of resources available for the lower grades. I use the Abeka books system and absolutely LOVE it. We’d tried the ACE system and that was so lame it wasn’t funny. ACE is too easy, too dumbed-down, and doesn’t emphasize history and science like the Abeka books do. I like Abeka because it has more of a thematic feel to it– it’s orderly, the questions can be tough, and the tests are not direct repeats of the book questions (shame on you, ACE!!).

As for high school, once you’ve got elementary school under your belt, high school is a BREEZE. The kids are pretty much independent workers by age 13. The real fun part is watching your children develop likes and dislikes and interests in certain topics. The child’s personality really starts to come out. If you’ve been strictly disciplining during those early years, the student absolutely shines by grade 8.

I’ll give you a glimpse into our little world of curricula. I’ve tried a lot of books and various programs. I’ll share some of the neat books I’ve found, books that have helped the kids in their development. I am a history/art/language buff, and my husband is a science/music/math buff, so our kids have a terrific advantage right from the start, by working off their parents’ interests. I know not all families are like so fittingly blended, but homeschool is still Number One for education, no matter the style of the parents. Parents just have this keen perceptive about their kids. And the home, with it’s simple tools is well able to teach a child. You don’t need a science lab filled with beakers and pulse oximeters to educate your kid! Homeschooling is easy!

I think the primary reason homeschooling has been so successful in educating a child is because there is a built-in, vested interest in the parent to encourage hard work and self-discipline. These elements are missing from public education. Education isn’t about how many facts a brain can hold, how much trivia or data a person retains. True education is the ability to receive knowledge and APPLY that knowledge. There is a big, black hole of nothingness when it comes to public schools with this concept, because public schools cannot enforce the application of knowledge and critical thinking; they can only dump facts into the kids’ heads. So that’s why I believe that homeschooling is superior to public schooling, even with parents who have only a basic education. Like me. I graduated high school and was a “B” student.

Anyway, my husband and I have been “around the block” with books for the kids. I’ll share a few of the best ones in future posts.

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2 Responses to “School Books 101”

  1. Kathy@brazoscowgirl Says:

    Wow you have the best of both worlds. Dunk did Abeka in Kindergarten through christian school, then when Dunk got sick I brought him home to continue to homeschool with Abeka. When I brought Sconicle home I looked at ACE but I was blown away by the cost. Abeka was just too fast for Sconicle. For Math we love Math U See. I have just ordered the American Heritage History course. We pull and push all kinds of curriculm, with where Sconicle came from he had huge holes that no one curriculm can fix. I use between 2 and three grades of subjects.

    My opinion is whatever works for your kid is great!


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