By Amber Schoessow
When given the opportunity to show and tell about our family and homeschooling, I thought, “Wow, it’s going to be so fun to share with others what God is doing in our home!” But after I started writing and rewriting my article umpteen times, I realized how difficult it is to express in just nine hundred words who we are, what homeschooling looks like in our home, and why we do what we do.
I think it was tougher than I expected because I didn’t realize how deep homeschooling runs in our home. Life, homeschooling, discipleship, and family all kind of blur together—and that’s a lot to talk about! To really give you the whole picture, I should start at the beginning.
Homeschooling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom took me out of public school when I was 6 years old and homeschooled me (excluding one year) until I graduated. My experience wasn’t a bad one, but I wasn’t a big fan either. During most of my junior and senior high years, I struggled with making good friends as well as prioritizing God and family in my life, which I tended to blame on homeschooling rather than my own sinful decisions.
After we married, Tim and I considered whether or not we would homeschool our children, but we leaned towards not taking that option. Our son was born in 2005, and it was soon after that I realized the Lord was calling me to homeschool. Tim was still a little leery, but by the time Treyton was school age, the Lord had softened Tim’s heart as well.
We consider homeschooling to be the best method to fulfill God’s call on our life as parents. During the last six years, the Lord has impressed on our hearts over and over again the realization that parenting has an eternal value. As we continue learning what parenting Biblically should look like, we take our role and our time with them seriously, and we see that having them home with us is the best way to disciple them into strong men and women of God. Our ultimate desire is for our children to grow in wholehearted, genuine devotion to the Lord, and to learn how to love and glorify God as they serve others in their home, community, church, and the world. Notice that our goals do not specify education or socialization. Our children do receive an education and grow socially, but I wanted to point out that those areas are not our priority or motivation.
God has blessed us with three children, so far: Treyton (6), Alexa (3), and Audrey (18 months). Treyton loves math, games, and science experiments. He is also really great at map studies and geography. He is one of the most inquisitive young men I have ever met, and God has blessed him with wisdom far beyond his years. Learning doesn’t always come easily for Treyton, but he has a love of learning that fuels his determination, which blesses this mother’s heart. Alexa is a natural learner; most of the time she learns things without me even realizing it. She loves reading, writing, crafts, and singing. She begs to do school, and I never have enough to keep her busy. I consider this a good thing, as it keeps her coming back for more! Audrey has just begun being a part of our “school.” She loves books, balls, dancing, and pushing things around. We are working on learning the names of body parts and basic manners, neither of which she shows much interest in learning yet.
In our house, school and home exist together. We homeschool year-round, with a few small breaks throughout the year. While we have our primary curriculum, we strive to incorporate (and create) as many real-life teaching moments as we can, as we see this as the best and most effective way to teach lasting lessons. We do this by reading living books, serving others, going on field trips, enjoying traveling opportunities, and having lots of discussion. I do the majority of the planning and day-to-day teaching, while Tim leads our family worship and Bible time. He also does a lot of reading with the kids if we don’t get to it during our school day.
As far as our core curriculum goes, we definitely fall under the category of eclectic homeschooling, with a strong Charlotte Mason center. We focus on reading good literature, which we then complement with hands-on crafts and activities. We combine Adventures in My Father’s World with Five in a Row (Vol. 1& 2); I tweak both programs to suit our needs. I find lots of additional activities online to stretch the age ranges we have. In addition to our history and literature programs, we do nature study, artist study, and piano lessons. We use slightly more structured (i.e., textbook type) programs for our math, spelling, and language arts, adding hands-on manipulatives to reinforce concepts learned.
While the days can sometimes be long, I never forget what an amazing gift the Lord gave us when He called us to homeschooling. It’s more than I ever could have hoped for or dreamed possible. His ways truly are higher than ours. (Isaiah 55:8–9)
Amber has been married to her best friend Tim for eight years and is the blessed mother of three children. They make their home in northeastern Wisconsin. She authors a homeschooling blog, Refined Metals Academy, where she records many of their homeschooling memories, at refinedmetalsacademy.blogspot.com.
Copyright, 2012. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine, April 2012. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.