Preparing Our Minds — And Our Hearts

Each year, many moms on the Weaver email list re-read Teaching Tips & Techniques. It is amazing to re-read this book. After my first read-through, I’ve read specific chapters over the years, such as reading and writing, planning, and motivation.

Even though my teaching philosophy is similar to the author’s I’m still finding so many things to learn as I read. I’ve been telling mothers for years, “yes, Weaver takes time.” Weaver is not the type of curriculum that you place in front of your child and expect them to do alone. Weaver is interactive–you must teach it. You’ll spend less time reviewing with Weaver, too. I like how the author said it:

It takes more time to do, but the time is made up in review.

My other favorite quote is: “[Do] you teach Jesus?”

This is why I homeschool: so that I can teach Jesus. I will share more thoughts and tidbits from Teaching Tips & Techniques whenever I go through it. If you have something to share, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Schooling Year-Round

Summer is a great time to veer off the normal path of study, but it’s also a great time to continue with Weaver. Studying weather? Spend time outside laying on the ground, watching the clouds roll by. Studying space? Stay up late and do some star-gazing. Wildlife, plants, history… it’s all accessible during the warm summer months!

Your children don’t have to know they’re still doing school. Lay the math books aside if you wish, but continue to point them towards God as you study His creation. Read books while sitting outside, learn to swim, take lots of nature hikes.

Spend a few days looking through the units you will be covering during the cooler months, and take time to touch on them while the weather is warm. When you get to that unit in Weaver, it will be a nice review for your children, regardless of the weather.

Life continues to happen, whether you are formally schooling or not. Take advantage of that and keep teaching–keep weaving God into your life!

Digging into Volume 3

What do explorers, composers, artists and presidents have in common? Leadership! In Volume 3 you’ll be studying about leaders in various professions. From George Washington to Fanny Crosby, from Michelangelo to Christopher Columbus, you’ll find many people who were unafraid to step out-of-the-box and be leaders in their field.

Perhaps you are the first generation in your family to homeschool. That makes you a leader, too! You have stepped out-of-the-box to educate your children. Your children will learn to be leaders from you because they won’t be “following the crowd” at school.

Use your time in Volume 3 to explore music and art with your children. Discover what it means to explore nature. View the world with new eyes, and see what God shows you!

Character Studies

Teaching character is big business these days. There are many books and “studies” that you can purchase to supplement your curriculum in this area. That’s not necessary with Weaver if you own Volume 2. While you immerse your child in God’s Word daily, you’ll also be given 9 different character traits to study, such as respect, humility, faith and joy. Why spend extra money on something you already have? Weaver is a great way to train our children to bring glory to God!

Continuing the Journey

I’ve been on my homeschooling journey for twelve years now… a little more if you count pre-school. My oldest is preparing to graduate this spring (May, 2008). A few weeks ago we completed Volume 5. Because of many interruptions and side-tracks, we’ve only been through the volumes once. I’m thrilled to be able to say we’ve accomplished that! But, we’re not ready to go back to Genesis just yet. We want to continue the journey of the New Testament churches in the Bible.

Some other Weaver moms have taken on the challenge of writing lessons that will take students through the remainder of the NT. My job is to edit those lessons, add activities where needed, and place everything into a .pdf document. I am having a blast! I spend every spare moment working on this, going over things again and again to be sure everything is consistent in formatting, to be sure there are no typos, and to make it user-friendly.

Unfortunately, my spare moments are few and far between–maybe an hour each day, or two if I’m lucky. But, I’m almost finished with the first unit. I have been teaching from the material as I go, so I have to get it done!

There is so much great stuff here, I have a feeling it will be a two-year program. But that’s okay. My youngest is in second grade this year. I’ll be on this journey for awhile!

(Author’s note 3/3/2015: I had to turn this project over to another weaving mom, who has much more discipline than I do. The completed project can be obtained in the File section of the Weaver7-12 email list.)

Which Volume?

I’m often asked, “Which volume do I start with?” or “Can I start in any volume?” Before I answer that, I need to explain something: The Weaver Curriculum was written in order–Biblical order. Volume 1 covers Genesis 11-50. Volume 2 covers Exodus and the Books of Law. Volume 3 covers Joshua, Judges and Ruth. Volume 4 covers the Old Testament Period of Kings and People. Volume 5 covers the Life of Christ.

If you are new to homeschooling, I highly recommend that you start with Volume 1 and work your way through the volumes in order. But, you know your child(ren) best. If you’ve already extensively covered the story of Creation, the Flood, and the Exodus and Laws of the Old Testament, then you may wish to start with Volume 3. Or, perhaps you’ve done an in-depth study of the Old Testament and you’re ready to study the Life of Christ–start in Volume 5.

Check the Volume Overviews listed at the Unofficial Weaver Pages to see what each volume covers. If you still have questions, leave a comment or contact me directly.

The Wrong Seasons

Often, while working your way through a Weaver volume, you’ll find that one of the activities asks you to study bugs, or collect specific plants–and it’s the middle of winter! What do you do when the activities don’t correspond with the seasons? Many moms have solved this problem by scheduling mini-units during the spring or summer months.

Sometimes it’s a preview of a unit to come, while other times it’s a review of what’s already been discussed. When the activity comes up during the normal school year, do what you can by using the Internet, books, and lots of discussion. When the weather warms up, take time to go back to that unit and study those bugs.

As you look over the volume for the following year, take time to map-out which units will be done in which months and make a note of the ones that fall in the wrong season. Feel free to go over that science information while it’s warm. Then, when the subject comes up during the cold months, your children will have a good jump on the information.

Continuing Education

Many moms spend some time during the year organizing, planning and preparing for the next school year–I’m no exception. One of the things I do periodically is re-read Teaching Tips & Techniques. If you’ve never had the opportunity to read TT&T, you’re really missing out! This is the one and only book from the Weaver line that I recommend to people who are not even using Weaver. Anyone can benefit from this book–anyone.

Written by Rebecca L. Avery, the author of the Weaver Curriculum, this book is a treasure chest of support, encouragement and edification for anyone who homeschools. Within the covers of this book you will learn about teaching multiple children in varying grades; motivation; the three Rs; spelling, science and social studies; and everything you can think of that relates to homeschooling.

Many moms who teach with Weaver read over this book each summer. Some refer to it throughout the school year, reading specific chapters as needed. For example, one year I re-read chapter 8, to help me understand about teaching spelling. (You’d think by now I’d have it down pat! 😀 ) Another year I re-read the beginning of the book, for encouragement.

Whether you pick-and-choose sections to read, or start at the beginning and work your way through, this book will inspire you! Get your copy of Teaching Tips & Techniques today!

What Really Counts

I can spend plenty of time organizing my supplies and scheduling my children’s classes. I can spend time online, offering encouragement and getting support from women around the world who use Weaver. And I can seek God’s wisdom to teach my children His ways. But, the only thing that really counts is if I get up and actually teach my children!

Weaver works best when you ditch the ‘teacher’ mentality and pray for God’s leading. Whether you’re prepared for the day or not, spend time talking to your children, read to them from the Bible or a good book, ask their opinions on how they think something happened or why they think someone did what they did. Teach them how to safely use the Internet and find information on whatever their heart desires. Reward them for their participation and thinking skills with a fun game, either online or offline.

YOU are the teacher. You are the one who can make school fun. Be enthusiastic: get up and do it!

Is Weaver Easy? Does it Include Answers?

Whenever someone asks “Is Weaver easy?” my first impulse is to say yes. But, when they tack-on that second question, I know I have to say no.

Weaver is fun.
Weaver is educational.
Weaver will teach your students how to find the answers they need in life.
Weaver is based on God’s Word, the Bible.
Weaver will challenge you as a teacher, as well as inspire and encourage you.
Weaver can be as easy or as hard as you make it.

Why do you want an easy curriculum? Perhaps a better question would be, why do you want to homeschool? Do you feel God has called you to educate your children? If that’s the case, then He will show you the curriculum He wants you to use, regardless of how easy or hard you feel it is.

Are you homeschooling for academic reasons, or location/flexibility reasons, or even for safety reasons? If you merely wish to have school at home, perhaps you would be more interested in a Work Text format, such as Alpha Omega’s LIFEPACs. However, if you are looking for a curriculum which will ground your students in the Word of God, then Weaver is the right choice!

Forgive me if that sounds harsh–I am only trying to save new homeschoolers some time. If you are truly serious about educating your children, then you need to know that homeschooling is hard work. It may come easy to some women, but to most mothers this is a full-time job that is worked along with our other daily household chores and responsibilities.

Many women write to me asking about the ease of Weaver because they have commitments at church, extra-curricular activities for their children, toddlers and babies that need their attention, and a part-time career or hobby that they do not wish to give up. (How much time does that business/hobby take up? How much of it are you willing to give up to educate your children?)

When my children were young, it was very easy for me to have hobbies and activities aside from schooling them. Now that they are older (I’m teaching five now, between 2nd and 12th grade) I spend more time devoted to their education and less time on my hobbies. This is a choice I have made–I want to give my children the best education I can, and for me that means giving them more of my time. Other women have not had to make the same choices–we’re all different, as are our families.

So, is Weaver an easy curriculum? I think so. I have been using it from the day we started homeschooling, and I have a wonderful group of women who support me online. You can have that same support through the Unofficial Weaver Pagesemail support group. Some will tell you it is easy, some will tell you it is moderately hard… but all of them will tell you how much they love the curriculum!

Does Weaver give the teacher the answers? No. Weaver teaches your students how to think for themselves, not how to memorize answers for a test. Many women have stopped using Weaver because they just couldn’t teach without answers. But, many have also come back to Weaver after realizing that their children retained more information when they used it. The choice is theirs, and now it’s yours, too.