The twins are about to turn sixteen, and my youngest will be twelve next week. It is crazy to think about how old we are all getting and also how long we have been homeschooling. There has been a few bumps along the way in this journey, but it is something that I would never change. Homeschooling has brought all of us closer and has created a family lifestyle that I appreciate so much. Homeschooling has also helped shape the kids, and I have to say that I love the young adults they have morphed into. Truly, homeschooling has been a blessing to us in almost every way.
Looking back on this adventure I am not sure I could have predicted where we would have ended up. Of course we are not done with this journey yet, but I still could not have imagined the place we are today all those many years ago. When we first started out on this path the twins were 4 and my youngest was a baby. The twins had spent a year in preschool and although it was a wonderful preschool, I knew it was not the place for my quirky kids. I had already decided I was going to homeschool when they were elementary age but our preschool experience pushed me to get started even sooner.
So how did we start and what did those first few years look like? I started with researching on the internet, and I stumbled upon a wonderful site called Tanglewood Education. This small site was run by a mom who was homeschooling her children, and she had put together a year 1 curriculum. I was intrigued by the year 1 package because there were no textbooks (especially no Abeka books that were constantly being recommended to me), and it seemed to be made up of mostly classic books that I would love to share with the kids. Little did I know that my kids would go crazy for the books. This was the start of our homeschool journey.
Actually, no…Although I do think that was the official start, our journey really started when they were toddlers. I had so many board books and picture books in our house, and the twins loved them. They would actually choose books over toys most of the time, and I found myself reading to them for hours a day. In addition to that they had outdoor time and free play time that consisted of Thomas the Train toys or Legos. The rest of our days were spent cooking, playing in the sand, and exploring the world. The twins were learning everyday when they were little, and it was a joyous process to experience.
Then came our Tanglewood box in the mail and the joy of learning and the joy of homeschooling become known to all of us. In the box was Story of the World and First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer, a few I Wonder Why science books, some beginner readers and a handful of classic books for the kids and I to read together. It was a small little box, there were no extras in there like you might find today in many curriculum sets. It was perfect for our first year though. A nice, gentle beginning to our homeschool journey which I am grateful for. The pace was set for us, the tone of our homeschool was established.