Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A New Venture

From the time Ella was just a baby people have asked what we would do when it came time for school.  Home-school?  Private school?  Public school?  We just always answered and thought that we'd do what seemed best when the time came.  As parents of an 8-month old there was no way to know where we would live, what schools would be like, or what our family situation would be when it came time to make that decision. 

When we lived in Louisville we met several families who home-schooled, and I even worked for one of the families who operated a business out of their home.  They had four children, and I got to observe what life was like for them.  Through this family I also got the opportunity to teach a Literature class for a large group of 7th-8th graders.  That was such a great experience.  I had several Anne of Green Gables-moments where I felt like I was really connecting with students, and they were responding and loving the books we read.  

Last year Ella had the privilege of attending school with several friends from church, and she did so well.  She had a great teacher, great friends, and learned so much.  We were so proud of her, and it was a good situation for us.  But if you've read my blog over the past year, you know how much I missed having that girl at home!  I also love reading and learning and teaching Ella so much.  Over the past several months I've thought, dreamed, researched, worried, prayed, and ultimately became confident and peaceful about home-schooling for this school-year.  

I'd heard about Sonlight in the past, and when a friend let me borrow a catalogue I fell completely in love with their core curriculum.  It was filled with all my favorite books.  How could I resist it?  Another friend already had several of the books that were part of the core I wanted so I was able to borrow a lot of materials.  I placed my order last Tuesday, and to my very great surprise and delight, it arrived on Saturday.

We were all so excited.  And that's been another exciting and confirming thing for me:  Ella's excitement.  She's over the moon about our new venture, too.  She called it "Free School," is glad I'm her teacher, that she doesn't have to wear shoes (a big perk for her, I guess), and that we won't have to rush around to get out the door in the morning (a dislike that she also inherited from me, I think).  She was so excited on Saturday and begged to start school right away.  So I read and organized all weekend, and we started yesterday.  I know it's still July, but that gives us some lee-way with holidays, right?

Our books for the week
 Ella is starting first grade, but we started with a review of old concepts with the Kindergarten Hooked on Phonics. 

We got a little bit of a later start yesterday because we had an overnight guest, one we were really happy to have on the first day of school.  She did Ella's read-aloud with her, and James wanted in a picture, too, of course.

We had a really great day.  Ella was so happy and agreeable, saying, "I have to do everything you tell me today."  Didn't she always?  The role of teacher is garnering more respect than my role of mother.  I'm not complaining.  After reading we learned about dinosaurs, the layers of the earth, and continents.  We made good use of my wedding gift to KJ 8 1/2 years ago.

   Note Lightening McQueen's appearance on the right.

We worked on phonics and spelling and math.  The kids watched Dinosaur Train and the Backyardigans episode, Journey to the Center of the Earth, while they ate lunch, and while James napped, the girls did a little Physical Education.

We just had a really wonderful day.  I'm so thankful.


  1. All year long as you talked about wanting to keep Ella at home, I wondered if homeschooling might be in your future. I am so glad that it is :-) I am planning on homeschooling my kiddos too. I have really liked what I have seen with Sonlight, but we have another year before we start. You will have to keep us updated on your thoughts and pro/cons etc! Good luck and lots of prayers!

    1. Thanks, Laura! All I know so far is that I just inherited another full-time job: teacher! But it has been really good. There's so much to learn, and I'm sure I'll be writing about it.

  2. Oh, Lynn! I'm so happy & joining you in giving thanks for your "really wonderful day"!

    Here's to the New Venture!

  3. I am so happy for you and Ella - and James! This is an adventure that will be full of so many wonderful irreplaceable memories. Welcome to the homeschooling life. If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to ask! Include James in as much as he can handle and he will develop a love of learning along with Ella at supersonic speed! I can't wait to hear more about your journey.

    1. Thank you so much, Julie. We really should meet in person some time so we can discuss these things. :) Yesterday when Ella was counting to 100, James joined in as soon as she went to the next group of ten each time. It was so sweet.

  4. Please, keep us updated! I know you will. I can't believe that we still have two years left until Sterling is officially kindergarten age! I love Sonlight's approach to learning by using literature. I think their philosophy is very close to my own. It will be great to be better informed about their approach through reading your journey!