Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Introducing Karyn!

Throughout this school year we have had the pleasure of introducing you to several homeschooling moms as they share their experiences in using literature to teach history. Today I'm excited to introduce Karyn Chung. She's been homeschooling her two boys for a couple of years now and shares her family's journey from public school to learning at home. I loved reading through her story and know that you will enjoy it too! Here she is:
"Our LOVE for Beautiful Feet Books began two years ago, when my husband (Will) and I first set out to homeschool our two fun-loving and creative boys – Nathan 11 and Shane 7 ½ years old. To give you a glimpse of our life before homeschooling, both boys attended a 'high' rated public school and academically did quite well. I was EXTREMELY active as a Room Parent, PTA Board Member, Carnival Co-chair and numerous other activities. I LOVED being part of our local school, building relationships with other great active parents, giving back through my time and providing aide to the teachers.

"However, despite both boys doing well academically, they lacked what my husband and I felt was most essential – a love for learning. Once we decided to homeschool, the task of deciding which materials to use was daunting! Viewing myself as the “non-academic” type, we initially considered a classical approach through a program that seemed to fit our need to navigate us through our first year. A month before we were scheduled to start, my spirit continually probed me to look in a different direction. Filled with anxiety, I had NO idea where to start. Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson became my guide. I became confident that whole books could bring to life what textbooks could not – story. A story is designed to interest, amuse and give knowledge to the reader. That’s what I wanted for my family and what boy does not love a good tale! As I came across the Clarkson’s recommendation for Beautiful Feet Books, I took to the internet to take a peak. After reviewing and comparing numerous other options, I continually felt myself gravitating back to BFB. I LOVED the idea of teaching history in a way that would come alive instead of the usual case of boredom (insert usual as my own personal experience). Teaching two boys, I knew history needed to capture their attention, and to be honest, mine too. History never appealed to me, or so I thought, and I would soon come to find my own LOVE for the past.
Ancient History Through Literature

"Our first year, we started with Beautiful Feet Book’s Ancient History, History of Classical Music and Teaching Character through Literature (Primary and Intermediate Grades). Of course, the process of mummification appealed to my boys and they LOVED knowing specific details of how it was performed but it was in Teaching Character through Literature that solidified the choice we made. Books like Munro Leaf’s The Watchbirds, How to Speak Politely and How to Behave (another glimpse of what we were working on) brought out bellowing laughter from simple stories with stick figure illustrations that made sense to my sons. We’ve loved The Boxcar Children, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Selfish Giant and many more. Characters and story-lines have become a part of our everyday life, giving teachable moments the
Teaching Character Through Literature, Intermediate
connection needed to take root in my sons’ hearts. I love the continual requests to extend free reading time to allow them to get through “the best part of the book” or “I’m almost finished with this page.” I’ve become known for taking an unexpected walk into a used bookstore, by myself or with the boys, to search for a book that might be added to our collection and it’s not uncommon for me to come home with several books found during an excursion with dear friends who love to do the same.

"Early American History for Intermediate has been the most exciting for us this year! Although our youngest is primary level, I just could not wrap my head around two history guides. I felt confident
that our youngest was mature enough to grasp information from the intermediate level and he has done extremely well, making observations that neither myself nor his older brother catch. Exploration, adventures, Vikings, Indians, Pilgrims, and inventors are drawing the boys into history without a sense of boredom. Elizabeth Janeway’s The Vikings, Bradford Smith’s William Bradford, Pilgrim Boy and the D’Aulaire’s Benjamin Franklin bring (what I now come to expect) pleas from my boys to continue reading past the several pages assigned for the day. In addition to notebooking, Nathan and Shane create their own trivia questions for their dad, who has come to be affectionately known as our personal walking encyclopedia. Now they find an incredible amount of enjoyment “stumping” their dad and being able to be the ones sharing their knowledge with him. There is so much history that I myself do not know, which amazes me as I have a private school education with a tremendous lack of the past. What a privilege it’s been for me to learn alongside two of my favorite people, my sons, and infuse our lives with well-written literature that brings life to who we are, builds our own personal character, invites laugher into our moments of learning, creates a bond between a mother, son and brothers, opens our hearts to compassion and awareness of the struggles of others, inspires us to live out good moral character and connects us to parts of who we are that might otherwise be ignored.

"This is the reason I now believe my spirit gravitated to Beautiful Feet Books 'whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is praise worthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received from me, or seen in me-put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you' (Phil 4:8-9 NIV)."

Thank you Karyn for sharing your heart and journey with us!

You may also enjoy these other entries written by homeschooling moms: 

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Karyn for this articulate and heartfelt post. It is such a privilege to walk this journey with engaged, devoted and fun parents like you!