Thursday, July 9, 2009

School Plans

Since Jonah is four now, there's been a lot of thinking about future school plans, so I thought I'd write a bit about our tentative plan for his education. It's on my mind a lot anyway. For now, we're planning to start out homeschooling Jonah, though we don't have any idea how long we'll continue that. It just makes sense for us to do it for at least kindergarten. Maybe longer, but we're just taking it a year at a time. Our desire is for him to be in a school at some point during his elementary years anyway, but we're really not in a place right now for that to happen. All doors to that are closed at this point. And homeschooling seems to be the best fit for a while. I honestly don't think it will be for very long, but I also want to stay completely open to whatever the Lord has for us. I'm learning not to voice strong confidence in what I know God's will to be for our future! The past has shown that He often surprises us with new plans that differ from our own, so I want to be expectant and aware of how He might work in our lives. But for now, it looks like this is best for our family. For a number of reasons.

One of my main motivations for wanting to homeschool Jonah right now is the desire for my kids to have a classical Christian education, and providing that in a school setting is currently not an option - although it may be at some point. The concept of classical education is something I was confronted with in a college class and then had validated to me through the lives of some families I met (like this one). I'm totally sold on its effectiveness. The more I learn and read about it and observe in other families, the more it makes sense to me and the greater my desire for my kids (and me!) to learn this way. The whole idea is that the best education is one that teaches us how to think, rather than just teach us information, and classical education employs the time-tested learning system of the trivium, which you can read more about through the following links:

About Classical Education

Classical Christian Homeschooling

Classical Education of the Founding Fathers

The Lost Tools of Learning

Ten Things to Do with Your Child Before Age Ten (I love this! Not that I plan on doing every single thing they say...)

Definition for Classical Education

I'm excited about this! I struggle a little with starting out not knowing how Jonah's education will be completed, being unsure of where he will eventually go to school. But it's just an area I'll have to trust in God's direction for the present and His capability to finish what he starts. It doesn't look like he will go to a classical school later because there's just not one that's affordable and what we want. But attending the Christian school that our church is associated with is a probable scenario at some point. It's not classical, but the elementary principal has a background in it and definitely pushes their curriculum and structure more towards classical. That's ok with me because I don't think I need to trust in a school and in teachers to provide my children with everything they need educationally; I believe I should still take responsibility as a parent for my child's education regardless of whether they are at home or in a school. The trick would be for me to know how to continue the elements of classical that I feel so strongly about, in our home, while my child goes on to a nonclassical school. How will that work? I'm not entirely sure. But I'm intrigued by the challenge. Another school option would be a university-model school here that we're interested in that would provide a classroom-learning atmosphere as well as more time for teaching my child the things I feel convicted about teaching him. Non-elective courses don't really start there until third grade though. Maybe we'll homeschool for a while, then go there for a while, and then go to the full-time school. We don't know. But these are some of the things that have been occupying my brain lately. I'm trying to learn to live more in the present and not "have my life all figured out" and trust the Lord to lead day-by-day. That couldn't be a bad place to be.