We are a Christian family of 4 living in the midwest. Both of our families live within 20 miles of us and are accepting of our decision to homeschool, for which we are thankful. I have been a stay-at-home mom since our first child's birth. We had planned this for years and I was thrilled when I was finally able to leave the corporate world behind and begin my 'dream job'. People sometimes ask how I like staying at home with the kids all day and I can truthfully say that my worst day at home is better than my best day at work ever was. It's far from perfect, but this is where I know I'm supposed to be and that's a great feeling. Now if I were home all day with other people's kids, I probably would go crazy.
I satisfy my need for 'busywork' by surfing the web looking for homeschooling resources, working on our genealogy, scrapbooking (paper and digital) and designing graphics and web pages. I made the graphics you see on this site. I'm not sure I should admit to that as I'm not completely happy with them all, but redoing this website is yet another future project. I also do freelance work for several homeschool companies - ad creation, web development, database management, etc. I'm also an Internet junkie, belong to numerous mailing lists and I helped start a now flourishing homeschool support chat room. I also have a blog at www.homeschoolblogger.com that I post on sporadically. Now you see why there aren't any recent entries on our journal calendar - no time!
We became interested in the homeschooling concept before our first child was born. Later, we became convinced that this was the right thing for our family and we started reading all we could on the subject. The more we learned, the more confident we became in our decision. We are the kind of people who tend to research everything into the ground before we act, so it's a very good thing that we made this decision early on!
We had decided not to start schooling with our oldest too early because we feel it's important to let our kids be kids and learn when they're ready. He had other ideas, however. He finally wore us down with his pleading to learn to read and 'do school' at age 3 1/2 - how could we resist a child who was begging to learn? We tried to limit what we did each day for 'pre-school' to just a few things in under a half hour. He loved it! I waited for him to ask for school so that I knew he really wanted to do it and it wasn't something I was making him do. You can see what we did by checking out our online journal calendar beginning in December 2001.
He is currently a 4th grader by age (2007-2008 school year) and continues to have a love for learning that is so much fun to feed. His little brother is a 1st grader by age and also loves to learn, on his own timetable. Their learning styles are quite different, I'm afraid! I continue to research different homeschooling methods & philosophies, picking up tips here and helpful web pages there. As far as what methods we use, I've decided that I must be an eclectic homeschooler because every method and resource I see looks great and I want to use them all! I think most would consider us to be 'relaxed' homeschoolers, also, although I know I do need to get into more of a regular routine.
The Web Page
That leads to the purpose of this web site. Basically, I'm continuing to gather so much information, mostly in the form of internet links, that I can't keep track of it all. I decided the only way to make my link collection truly usable was to categorize them with descriptions so I can remember what I have and find what I'm looking for when I need it. So I decided to turn my bookmarks into a web page so I could add my 'notes'. And I figured if I'm making a page of links, I might as well put it on the Internet so others can use it, too. Being the web junkie that I am, I couldn't just put a page of homeschooling links on one of my existing sites, I needed to build a whole new site just for homeschooling. Any reason for a new project works for me!
My plan is to build this site up over time to include a wide range of items of interest to homeschoolers (and those who like to supplement their children's private or public school studies), with special consideration to Christian homeschoolers. I've got lots of ideas and will be adding to these pages as frequently as possible. As our children grow, so will this site.
Why "Homegrown Hearts"
I can think of so many parallels between raising a garden and raising children. You need good, fertile soil and quality seeds. You need to constantly nurture the garden, watering, fertilizing, and propping up the plants when they start to fall over. You must tend to each type of plant separately, making sure that each gets what it needs to thrive - what is good for one sprout may not be good for the others. You have to be vigilant to discourage the weeds and destructive animals. It's a lot of work which is sometimes fun and sometimes difficult, but rewarding nonetheless. Not original thoughts, exactly, but they do reflect how we see our role in our children's lives.
As parents, we are committed to taking full responsibility for these tasks through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We will strive to incorporate our family's values into every part of our children's lives, including their education. For us, homeschooling means that 'home' and 'school' aren't two separate functions, but one integrated way of life. Our faith is the central theme of that life. To instill a love of learning that will serve our children well throughout their entire lives will be our main educational goal.
In our homeschool...
...our children's needs will be individually met.
...interests will be given time to fully develop.
...God will not be off-limits.
...character will count.
Our children will have Homegrown Hearts.