Freshwater Academy

Fresh Water Academy was founded in 2010. It is home to four lovely young ladies of learning and their dedicated teachers. Located in the wilds of Wyoming, the name Fresh Water Academy was chosen as a Western analogy to Christ. Just as He is the Living Water, and we must have Him to have eternal life, any desert dweller knows the importance of fresh water to life, both for self, and the nourishment of crops or livestock. By taking nourishment in God and His word, we strengthen our own relationship with Him, our faith, and the quality and abundance of our fruitfulness.

Our keystone verse is from Jeremiah, Chapter 17, Verse 8: "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

The fruit that we speak of is mentioned in Galatians 5:22
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

And the heat could be anything we experience that might test our faith in God; trials and tribulations, relationships, anything that focuses our love and attention anywhere but on Him...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New to Homeschooling?

Community Question from The Pioneer Woman's Site this morning:
“My name is Kanecia. I have 4 children (ages 13, 7 and twins who are 4) that I want to homeschool this upcoming year. My question is what are good programs for me to use? I am stressed trying to make this decision. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated. This will be my first year and I’m afraid I might fail them. Please help.”
Many of us have been in Kanecia’s shoes and many are currently walking her same path. What programs or curriculum would you recommend for her children’s ages? Why? Please offer any specific help or experiential guidance. I’m sure a bit of encouragement wouldn’t hurt either.
There was another mom who had posted before me that has a family of Learning Adventurers.  I was excited to see this, and added a few comments about the different forms of curriculum our family uses.
We also use Learning Adventures.  When we first began homeschooling, we tried to approach it using the exact same materials that some friends of ours were using, and we quickly came to the realization that all families are different and what worked for them would not necessarily work for us! 

What kind of structure would you like to have?  What kind of learners do you have?  What kind of teacher are you?

We also have four at home, all girls, and all of different ages and styles.  The best curriculum for us was an eclectic mix of a Unit Study and some independent materials in other subjects that we wanted to emphasize.

We also looked at Weaver, which I do like, and probably would have tried, but I was frustrated at my inability to get my hands on it to look at and go through to see if it would work for us.  While we were searching, I got a chance to visit with a mom at our State Homeschooling Convention who was using Learning Adventures.  She told me all about it, and how they had decided to go deeper and stretched one year's study into two.  At this point, we are well into our second year and just finishing up Volume One ourselves!   I do build and find supplements to go even deeper into some areas that we find fascinating and want to learn more about, but it does cover everything quite well.  There are lessons in history, geography, culture, language arts, science, fine arts, art, and many other areas.  It has read alouds in every unit, and they are all Newberry winners that can be found at your local library, or on Amazon for just a few dollars. 

We also use Math-U-See as our primary math program.  I like the fact that the girls can work through at their own pace.  It is all hands on, with great instructional DVD's, interesting, and enjoyable for them. 

Prima Latina by Memoria Press rounds out our regular classroom materials, though I do use some online programs like http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/, pbskidsisland.org, starfall.com, and some printables that I find here and there.  Bottom line is, try to decide what style you think will fit your family, and what your budget is.  And, while you need to give it enough of a chance to see if it will work, don't be afraid to change if something isn't working for your family.  We're looking at adding Apologia next year for science, just because we think our kids need even more, and we love that creation base.  Our high schooler especially is going to need a solid foundation and I want to be able to clearly show course delineation on her transcripts.

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