When my husband and I decided to homeschool, I began reading every book on it that I could find. One particular method struck me as “the way” to teach children. So we began our journey using the classical method. It was described as how the great thinkers were educated, and it was rigorous. Rigorous—the word that makes the new homeschooling mother’s heart sing. I mean, who doesn’t want to give their five-year-old a rigorous education? Rigorous means thorough, demanding, and therefore better, right? May I say my five-year-old son wasn’t nearly as excited about a rigorous education as I was.
So I kept reading and researching. And as I learned more, my ideas about education changed. I started asking questions like:
- What is education, anyway?
- How can I help my sons develop a love for learning?
- What should they be learning about at the different stages of their education?
- Is learning how to learn as important as what is being learned?
- How would God want me to teach the ones he had entrusted to my care?
As I continued my research, I was drawn to the ideas of Charlotte Mason. We incorporated short lessons and found my son’s attention span increased. We read, and read, and read. I started using copywork and we took nature walks. I “chilled-out” a bit and my son started enjoying it more.
Then my oldest son began his 3rd grade year, and I read Dr. Beechick’s You Can Teach Your Child Successfully. It was then that I had that “aha” moment. What she wrote just made sense. Slowly I began to incorporate more and more of Dr. Beechick’s methods into my teaching, especially in the area of language arts. A few years later, I wrote a literature based unit for a small co-op that included reading, language lessons, art projects, and notebooking. I had a friend encourage me to write a language arts curriculum at that point, but I didn’t think too much more about it.
However, in 2009 my husband was laid off from a job he had worked at since before I had even met him. We found ourselves in a very different place financially and I began to try to think of ways that I could help out while continuing to homeschool. I had discovered Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Exploration the year before, and knew it was an answer to prayer for my youngest son. I loved Dr. Beechick’s methods, and here was a complete curriculum based on those methods by women who truly understood them. It was a perfect match.
As I watched my youngest son’s growth that year, I realized I wanted my oldest son to join us the next year for Paths of Settlement. I wanted us to be learning together, but he was older than the target age groups. That is when I had this crazy idea to e-mail Geography Matters about writing a middle school supplement. Several months later, they responded that yes, they would be interested. All I had to do was send them a prototype—which I did—which they complimented in any way they could, but it was not what they were looking for. Cindy Wiggers called me and graciously set up a meeting between her, Debbie Strayer, and myself to explain what they did want. After talking for an hour, they asked me to try again—which I did—which leads us to this blog. I’m Kay Chance, co-author of the middle school supplements and high school extensions for the Trail Guide to Learning Series. And now I’m excited to begin working with Geography Matters newsletter production and writing their blog.