Wednesday, August 26, 2009

how we homeschool....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

week one: wrap-up

We’ve wrapped up our first week of school and we’re still on friendly terms, so that’s something. I’ve revised the six-week schedule about 3 times now (particularly for the 7th grader), but that’s about 3 fewer times than it took me to get it right last year. The kids are waking up at about 7:30 a.m. (give or take) and that’s definitely better than usual and we’re getting quite a bit done. They’re getting enough sleep and are beginning the day wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. So, life is good.

Things are off to a good start. We just need to stay focused and pace ourselves. We’ve got about 2 more weeks before all the extracurricular activities kick in and by then I’m hoping that we’ve begun to develop a healthy rhythm that can withstand more demands on our time. That’s the goal, anyway because this year my 11-year-old’s ballet schedule is going to be brutal.

As an aside, the funniest thing keeps happening when people ask the kids what grades they’re in. They have a moment of total confusion. Wait, am I in 7th or 8th? Is it 4th or 6th? It’s really no wonder, either. They are working on various grade levels simultaneously depending on the subject. Some things are at their grade level and many others are above. They don’t have the same sense of definitive grade level boundaries that they had when they went to (traditional) school. So today when my sister asked Nico what grade he was in, he said, “College.”


Well, not quite—he’s in fourth grade and even by generous measures that’s not even close (thank goodness). He was being funny, and yet there’s some truth to what he was saying. Homeschooling feels more like college than traditional schooling, doesn't it? The children have more freedom, more challenge, more flexibility, and more responsibility for learning. It’s refreshingly like college without all the Animal House antics. Oh yeah, and they get more sleep and eat healthier than your typical college student. It doesn't get much better than that.

It was a good week. We are so blessed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to [home]School

We started early this time.

Well, earlier than last year, anyway. I just don’t want to feel rushed this year and I definitely want more time for field trips and family days and even lazy, hot-chocolate, go-out-and-play-in-the-snow days.

For one thing, I want to be poised to savor the Christmas holidays—I’m depositing school time into the “knowledge bank” so that I have time for baking cookies, caroling, and making old-fashioned Christmas cards this year instead of worrying that I’ll never get through lesson 120 by spring if we don’t hurry up. I want to double up on assignments less often, and instead take a surprise day off to visit the science museum or some random exhibit that tickles our collective fancy a little more often.

I want to be more like the ant and less like the grasshopper.*

It does mean we’re cutting into summer, though; I’m trying to be sensitive about that. I want my kids to go out and enjoy the sunshine while it’s around, because much too soon these sunny days will be a distant memory that blows away with the autumn leaves only to be replaced by the chill of the very, very long New England winter.

So, the compromise is that we’re easing into homeschooling this year. Still doing the serious stuff, but trying not to over-do it. I’m keeping the school days as efficient as possible so there's time for the pool, a bike ride, or a leisurely daydream out on the swing set.

I’m actually enjoying the relative quiet that August has to offer. Not yet time for ballet, or soccer, or music lessons, or karate, or scouts. Nowhere to run off to at 3:30 because we’re going to be late again. The days are just long enough to do some learning and still go out for a bike ride or to the pool in the afternoon. We can eat our meals late or early or whatever and everything still works out perfectly.

I’m working hard to not work too hard: trying not to take the schedule too seriously. Goin’ with the flow and remembering that if an irresistible invitation to go to the beach comes our way, I have permission to be flexible. There is ample time for all of it.

“That’s why I homeschool,” I keep reminding myself. I’m the boss of the schedule; not the other way around.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

plays well with others....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tonight's teachable moment

Okay, it's Friday a.m. on the East Coast and we still don't know if the GOP candidate is going to show up for the presidential debates scheduled for this evening.

Sorry to infuse politics into homeschooling, but gee whiz, I'm mad as all get out about this. You see, my children and I had been looking forward to the debates and really getting to know the candidates better. Not only would this be a perfect homeschooling "moment", but one of these candidates is going to directly impact the future of these little people with whom I share so many important things.

As my children cannot yet vote, they depend on my husband and me to make the best informed decisions on their behalf. They are going to inherit this mess and the least I can do at this juncture is do my homework. That includes watching the presidential debates.

What does this teachable moment teach my children? That when things are looking challenging and the situation is getting complicated and frightening, it's okay to shirk your responsibilities and just not show up.

That's not okay. It's not the lesson I want my children learning today or any other day.

Leadership is about courage, wisdom, and fortitude. Sometimes, it's just about just showing up.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A little tongue in cheek

How I Homeschool

Homeschool Summer