Following the series of blog entries on the American educational system (available here and here), we thought it would be nice to share something much more positive! Below is an entry from Vanessa Hill. You may remember Samantha's great entries on her experience switching from a classical program to BFB this year. Well, Samantha and Vanessa are friends and are both in the midst of their first year using our curriculums. In light of the downfalls of the industrial model of education, we find it so encouraging to see mothers like Samantha and Vanessa standing up and taking a different route. This takes courage, tenacity, time, and diligence and we feel honored to be able to partner with them on this educational journey. Without further ado, here is Vanessa:
I hope this finds you well as I describe my homeschooling experience and the gem I stumbled upon with Beautiful Feet Books. Currently, I am going on my third year of homeschooling with my 10-year-old nephew and 15-year-old daughter. Both of my kids are adopted and come from much heartache and backgrounds of trauma. Homeschooling has been the best thing that has happened to our family. Last year, at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions, I heard Rea Berg speak on the importance of children’s literature and was moved. I then visited her booth and after much discussion, laughter, and insight, I realized that I wanted what she had. Treasured memories and countless deposits of love developed throughout the years by reading rich literature with her children. I was hoping to gain the same. Well, it’s almost been one year of doing two curriculums with two different aged children, and the bonding is unexplainable. First, I feel like my 10 year old finds the details of history so intriguing and his appreciation is expanding so much more. His favorite time of the day is cuddling on the couch and laughing together while we read together. Now, what is happening between my best friend, my daughter and I, has been truly transcending. We read Uncle Tom’s Cabin together and so many emotions surface my heart and soul just thinking about it. The connection of mother and daughter being together and apart, the tears we wept, and the spiritual lessons that were learned were more than I expected. My children, who have learned to deal with real struggle and pain, can correlate their experiences to the hardships of the men and women they are now learning about. I am convinced that history through literature and great children’s literature did wonders for my children who yearned for true connection in their inmost beings. This way helps gear us to just that and I would recommend it to anyone and any family. Thank you Rea and Beautiful Feet for inspiring me and my home to gear towards what really matters….connection and love.
Thank you Vanessa! I love her story because it shows that reading aloud is something that can continue long past the time your children learn to read themselves. Keep making time to read with your older children! It may seem unnecessary or awkward at first but it will be so worth the effort. Sharing the experience of stories like Uncle Tom's Cabin, To Kill a Mockingbird, Shakespeare's plays and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales opens doors of communication that can otherwise remain firmly shut. Sharing great stories together allows bonds to form and trust develop even in wary teenagers who are asserting their independence. Discussing stories together can allow children to develop and express their own opinions as well as encourage compassion and empathy. No, reading together will not solve all the problems you may face with a hormonal teenager, but it will provide a shared experience that may very will encourage communication and, as Vanessa so beautifully states, "connection and love."
For those of you who are interested, Vanessa is currently using our U. S. and World History, Geography Through Literature and our Early American History for primary students.
You may also enjoy these other entries written by homeschooling moms: