Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

A New Adventure Begins

Today, we pulled our 2 boys out of school. On one hand, that seems like such an easy thing to say, to do. On the other hand, that is an overwhelming position to find myself in.

I always knew that I wanted to homeschool my children. I was homeschooled during high school and it was a great experience. Though I wasn’t always the most cooperative student, my mom rocked the homeschooling scene. She singlehandedly organized field trips, playdates, outings and other creative learning opportunities for several homeschooling families that she found. Socialization was never an issue – with over 300 people crowding our home for my graduation party, I think it’s safe to say that with effort, homeschooling can yield just as many social opportunities as public school!

We had always planned on homeschooling. Our plan changed when a new charter school system opened a branch in our city. With a focus on math, science and technology, small class sizes and a mentoring program, we felt that it would be foolish to deny our children what they were promising. We told ourselves that it was an experiment; I honestly did not think that we would last through the first week. But things went surprisingly well, and though it was not without problems, it was a good environment for my boys… at first.

They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that proved true in this case. With my oldest becoming increasingly more discouraged and my youngest just coasting by in a school that made big promises and little evidence of follow through, we decided that we’ve had enough and instituted a change. I want to see my kids happy to learn. I want things to move at their pace, not because a book says this is next, or it’s time to move on or because all the other kids have either still not grasped that concept or have already mastered it. I want to let their interests guide them and cultivate their desire to find out more.

We always said that we would “do” school for as long as school worked. If and when it stopped working for us or for them, we would have no problem pulling them out and going back to our original plan to homeschool. So it was surprising to me to feel nervous at the prospect of pulling them out of school. The show of support from my friends has been tremendous. Their confidence in my ability to successfully meet my children’s educational needs is both humbling and encouraging. Since we made our decision and made that public knowledge, and now that we’ve actually withdrawn the boys from school, I guess now it’s time to put up or shut up, right?

So, over the past week, we’ve sacrificed the laundry room/game room to create a dedicated space for learning. We’re very fortunate to have space in our home to accommodate a dedicated space. We’re still not quite done, but we’re almost there. We will be sharing our journey as a new homeschooling family with you here. Our plan is to begin classes on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. We’re following an eclectic path, with heavy influence by Charlotte Mason and Well Trained Mind, and some Holt and Waldorf style thrown in for good measure. Our “school year” is a year-round plan, beginning in January. We will have class for 6 weeks, then take a one week break. That will give us 7 six-week grading periods and leave room to take the month of December off. We’re not going to stick with traditional grade levels. We’re following Ambleside Online’s CM style curriculum and we’re beginning with Year 1.

If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!

Warmly,

~h

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