Thursday, May 30, 2013

teach yourself first

What to do while you wait to formally homeschool your children.
(Or what I should have been doing with my time when I had more of it.)

- history(multiple accounts of the same period), not everything you've been taught is correct, be willing to relearn
- literature (preread the books you will be asking your children to read), make notes
- theology, politics, and economics;  here is a partial list of writers I would recommend:

Matthew Henry
John Calvin
Jonathan Edwards
J.C. Ryle
Gordon Clark
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Francis and Edith Schaeffer

Rousas John Rushdoony
Greg Bahnsen
Robert Reymond

D.A. Carson
Doug and Nancy Wilson

Os Guiness
Ronald Nash
David Chilton
Ken Gentry
C. Greg Singer
Hillaire Belloc 
Thomas Sowell 
Gary North
Glenn R. Martin
Pat Buchanan
Otto Scott
George Grant
Abraham Kuyper
Elisabeth Elliot
Amy Carmichael
Sally Clarkson
Jean Fleming
Nancy Pearcey
Joni Eareckson Tada

nature study:
- go for walks, pay attention to what you see, get field guides and start to identify what you see and find
- collect specimens
- do not buy the trendy, cheap science kits, (i.e. no bug vacuums, no bug magnifiers with lights, just the regular stuff adults would use, but made for kid's size and strength)
- plant vegetables, flowers, vines
I have found very inexpensive tools and specimen kit items here:
For Small Hands
Home Science Tools
Acorn Naturalist

- collect sturdy artwork of various artists
- buy inexpensive used art books and rip out pages for study
- collect books, cds of classical composers, get to know the music
- teach yourself  the folk songs
- learn psalms and hymns, esp. lesser known Reformation era hymns

- if you do not draw well, start learning. I have used Drawing Textbook by Bruce McIntyre with the most frequency and success.
- practice drawing nature items found on walk
- buy good art supplies for yourself and eventually for your kids, we like and use Prismacolor colored pencils, but I recommend Barb at Harmony Fine Arts for supply lists.

- CiRCE talks
- Society for Classical Learning
- Greg Bahnsen
- Ken Myers

- most tv and movies, be selective, for you and your children
- most mommy blogs, be selective. if I could only read one, I would read Sally Clarkson, I Take Joy.

- minimal amounts of clothes and toys
- minimal amount of kitchen gadgets
- purge regularly, stuff accumulates very quickly for most of us
- keep the best, open-ended toys easily available and attractively arranged

- do not buy curriculum years in advance
- do not buy curriculum because all your friends use it or recommend it, because when you encounter some difficulty with it, you will more easily be tempted to ditch it because "it didn't fit my child's needs or my parenting style".
- do not buy curriculum because "it will be fun" for your child.  Your child thinks that eating cookies and cheese puffs for all his dietary needs is "fun". Offer him the best and he will learn to like it, just like he learned to like strawberries and fresh garden peas eaten out of the pod in the warm sunshine.
- buy curriculum because you believe in the method of teaching it utilizes and you know that although you may tweak things along the way, you can still use it successfully.

I know this is a rather abrupt list with short, curt phrases and lists.  But I have had this post swirling around in my head for months now and I thought a quick list would work better than spending hours crafting paragraphs. And please forgive my tone if it makes me sound bossy, I do not intend that at all.  Please feel free to ask questions or give suggestions that have worked for you.  I'm always glad to hear from each of you.


  1. Heather,
    I so appreciate all of your homeschooling posts! I was nodding throughout this post in agreement.

    I'm not as well-read as you are, so now I have some authors to check out and some things to listen to!

    (I especially liked your cookies and cheese puffs comment. *grin*)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Stacy,
      That author list is a reflection of people I believe are worth reading, I have read enough from each of them to stand by my recommendation, but please know that I am not as well read as you think I am.
      Thanks for adding your agreement and your thoughts. I'm so glad to have you pop in here and share your comments with me.

  2. Anonymous8:36 PM

    Great post Heather - I will now limit my mommy blogs to you and Sally Clarkson... ok, and maybe Soulemama... and maybe Pioneer woman... yikes - I really do waste a lot of time.


    1. Kathleen,
      Just because you are spending time reading blogs does not mean it is wasted time. I only meant that as a caution, to be selective of who you are getting your mothering encouragement from, as per our quick conversation this morning.
      I like Soulemama too (and a whole host of others as my sidebars clearly show), but I don't go to her for mommy stuff. :)

  3. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Heather -- thank you so much. I need to talk to you about Folk Songs, Ambleside and Poetry.

    I love Sally Clarkson :) And quite a few of your recommended authors I have read, though not recently, and some I don't even recognize!

    This is super helpful and encouraging :)--V

    Love ya!


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