Well hey there!
It's been a while huh?
I hadn't exactly planned to disappear last week, but it just felt right to unplug and enjoy some down time with Granny. We had a great visit with her, made lots of memories, and were so sad to see her go back home. We're already thinking about when we can get up to the woods to see her again.
Anyhow, I'm glad to be back here with you! I hope your week was a good one. I know many of you have just started back to school. I hope that you and your kiddos are all slipping easily into the new routine, and that it is a year full of fun learning adventures.
This past month has brought some new changes to our homeschooling too, and I promised to share that with you here, so I'm going to give it a go. It's bound to be a bit of a rambling tale, as it's been a bit of a rambling journey. It's going to take me a few posts to get through it. I hope I don't bore you all to tears!
First, let me say that I always hesitate a bit to talk in too detailed a way about our schooling. I've had experiences on a number of occasions where folks have felt like our schooling choices were somehow an indictment of their own. So I always feel a need to preface any discussion of our educational choices with a disclaimer… We are doing what works best for our family. What we do may not be best for your family, and that's just fine with me. Listen, right here in the blogosphere there are so many mothers whom I admire so much. Some of those mamas are very rigorously planned classical educators, others are SO good at following the passions and interests of their young unschoolers, still others fall somewhere in between, but one thing is clear… they are all dedicated to their children.
MANY of the mothers that I most admire are not homeschoolers at all. Take my sweet sister in law, her three boys attend public school and you could not ask for three more bright, sweet, funny, creative, well-loved kids or a more involved and caring mom. So, you know, when I start blathering on about our homeschooling path, please know that it's just that… OUR homeschooling path, and not some sort of doctrine that I'm preaching at you. Okay? Okay.
On to the show…
I get emails from time to time asking for specifics about how we homeschool. The next few posts will be my long and drawn out answer.
People often want to know what books we use or how our day works or whether or not I have to lock the youngest in the basement to get anything done. I never know quite what to say because a) we have no basement and b) what we do for "school" has, up to now, changed from week to week. I did make an attempt at answering some of those questions when I wrote a little bit about how we came to homeschooling, and what it looks like for us, a while back. You can see that here.
For the past several years, the sort of eclectic approach to homeschooling that I talked about there fit our family so well. Still, toward the end of last year I began to feel a little bit of a pull in a new direction. I wanted to retain the easy going, laid back, pursue-your-passions freedom that we had, but I felt like we needed to somehow work in a little more structure around the edges – some scaffolding.
My kids are getting older. Their ideas and abilities are growing by leaps and bounds. They are developing this incredible capacity for deeper understanding and their questions… dear Lord, their questions are growing ever more complex. I am so thrilled to be on this learning journey with them, but I will confess that it can seem so overwhelming sometimes.
How does one make sure that her children are well equipped for their future, that they have mastered all the essential skills that they will need, and yet at the same time ensure that all that acquiring of skills doesn't squash the love of learning right out of them?
I began to look at our forays into learning as a sort of ginormous garage packed to the gills with every imaginable wonderful thing, a treasure trove, but one in need of a little organizing.
And so I thought a whole lot about what exactly it is that I'm aiming for, what I want and need, and what THEY want and need out of this school experience. What resulted was a sort of statement of educational beliefs for me, and an essential first step in making some changes in how we school. I will share that with you tomorrow.
After that will come "the plan" – the dirty low down on the curriculum we chose, how we've modified it to fit our style and our needs, and how it's working for us.
Then I'll wrap it all up by talking a little bit about what a school day looks like for us.
So, sharpen those number two pencils, and grab your milk money, it's back to school time!