Posted by : Karen Monday, November 07, 2011

Every journey that you take starts with a small step.

Whether it's a physical journey, a diet, a relationship, starting a new job - you name it (I dare you!), it's got to take something small first.

I really believe that that's what we've done this year, in our first year of homeschooling.

We took our first steps.

After deciding to homeschool our eldest son this year (step one), we chose to use Sonlight (step two).

We chose it firstly because we strongly felt God leading us to it as the right fit for our eldest son. I am passionate about books (would one day love a house that has its own library; am always on the hunt for books; need more get the picture!), and so is he. After this year, I also realize how much of an auditory learner he is!

Secondly, it just made so much sense to me to chose a literature rich program: what child doesn't love to have stories read to them? Thirdly, most of the the great writers of old learnt how to write by reading, appreciating and copying the masters that they studied. I want my children to be critical thinkers and fluid writers - what better way than to expose them to great literature? And furthermore, literature can present you with ideas that are dissimilar to your own, forcing you to really think about what you believe and why, allowing children to 'own' ideas from an early age.

Once those steps were taken, the year took on an easy keel. This clan was really fortunate to start off with a Core A from Sonlight - an 'all in one' package. I loved the fact that the year was all planned out for me initially, and that I didn't have to think terribly much about what needed to be done/covered each day. But as the journey got easier, I progressively found my feet.

With each step this year I've been able to see so much clearer about what it is that I want for my children, what I want out of homeschooling. I've been able to see my blind spots...I've been able to evaluate our growth. And I've been challenged in reading other philosophies.

I find it so helpful to refer back to the word picture of setting out on a journey - let's use hiking for example. It would be foolish to pack a backpack and not test out its weight on a short walk before embarking on an eight day trail. So too, is it unwise to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to subjects, electives and curricular. Start...and then as you go you can see what you need to lay down and unpack, and you will notice what you are lacking and what you need to pick up - and those things will change from year to year, from child to child.

I've become more and more attracted to Charlotte Mason's philosophies, and have spent time reading some of her works. I'm really hoping to incorporate some of her principles into our next school year. And I'm looking forward to allowing creativity to flow more freely too - it's refreshing for all of us!

And remember, at the end of the day?

Image from

This is the 11th SACHS Blog carnival under the theme "Philosophies of Homeschooling" which is part of the South African Carnival of Homeschool Blogs. To join the carnival or visit past carnivals visit the SACHS Blogs page. We hope you enjoy browsing!

2 Responses so far.

  1. Linnie says:

    Hi Karen
    I love your picture of hiking to illustrates the homeschooling journey!
    Thank you for contributing this post to the SACHS Blog Carnival.

  2. Taryn says:

    Soo true! Love the analogy! It's been so great for me to read about your journey down the road of homeschooling. The ups and the downs. Remember those early days of questions? Brought me so much joy seeing your excitement. And so much joy now too, So very exciting!!!

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