|First gaze on a first book|
Help! I'm getting stuck in the homeschool interwebs! In an online world of slick sites and shiny blogs, everyone's got a printable, an ebook, a newsletter, a podcast, a planner, or a curriculum that will be the one simple thing you need to either organize or revolutionize your homeschool experience! The homeschool universe is ever expanding, and there are enough ideas out there to keep you learning to infinity - and beyond!
The trouble is, I don't have till infinity. I have a few precious years with my children, and only so many hours in the day. There are many homeschoolers out there doing many wonderful things, and I have found inspiration and ideas from more than a few. But I find it all too easy to become dizzy and distracted by the plethora of options, which leads to comparison and second guessing at best, and panic at worst.
When I start to feel overwhelmed, I find it helpful to log off, sit back, and think about the core ideas behind our family's commitment to home education. I'm a person who needs to constantly reorient myself to the big picture, which focuses me and energizes me to then think about the details.
I remind myself of our underlying philosophy of education (thanks Charlotte Mason):
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.
I remind myself of basic governing principles for our family life (thanks Auntie Leila):
Order and wonder.
I remind myself of our own family's goals:
To raise children whose affections are ordered toward truth, goodness and beauty, who are growing in the wisdom and skills needed to follow Christ along the unique path he is leading them in life.
I remind myself of our chosen method of getting there:
When I consider these ideas, I can already feel my focus returning. (Maybe I'll expand on these in another post. For now, I'm putting them out here purely for my own benefit.) I can sift through all that good information out there and select the things that best fit our own approach to education.
Like I said, I'm energized by philosophy and big ideas. So for me, the websites I find most helpful are those that feed this area. I need my own mind and spirit fortified by truth, goodness, and beauty, and then I can handle how that gets worked out in everyday life. I get bogged down in too many details. For me, the details have to flow out of the big picture.
Having said all that, here are the websites that I'm personally finding helpful as we begin this home education adventure:
Like Mother, Like Daughter - Common sense education, Charlotte Mason style (Auntie Leila introduced me to Charlotte Mason, and I have been a faithful follower of her blog since my oldest was a baby)
The Read-Aloud Revival - Cultivating a family culture around books; fun and inspiring literary podcast, with book lists and other resources
Schole Sisters - A podcast for the classically inclined, big picture meets practical application (I also enjoy the blogs of the podcast hosts)
Ambleside Online - Free Charlotte Mason curriculum and living book lists, with links to Charlotte
Mason's works online
The Circe Institute - Classical education resources, blogs and podcasts
Education is a Life - Charlotte Mason the Canadian way, written by a friend and fellow homeschooler on the island
They Call Me Blessed - A blog by another friend showing the many sides of home education