Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wish List Item #10

10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

This one is so timely! This is the time of year I both love and loathe, usually simultaneously. You see, usually by April we are finishing up our year. We are getting done all those last minute lessons that have been put off for one reason or another and making sure the kids are prepped for standardized testing (yes, we do that too!). The signs of spring are in the air, and the kids are re-energized and driven to finish all their work by May. Field trips begin to out number seat time, books are finished and filed and summer is on the horizon!

Unfortunately, this is also the time of year I start planning for next year. Curriculum is cheap on ebay as other families finish up and want to rid themselves of books. Vendors begin warehouse sales and conventions, there is really a whole season underway! For me, this is the most unrewarding and tedious part of homeschooling. Every year I have to sit down and put our family (and myself) under a microscope. We discuss what we loved and what we hated. What worked and what was a huge disaster. Then we look toward what we hope to accomplish and how we dream to get there. While this sounds really exciting as I type, the reality is much less pretty! This is the time of year I second guess myself and my choices. I never know if our oldest is getting enough of the right things, and if I have chosen work that is challenging and engaging without being intimidating. The younger two are easy, it's a "been there done that" sort of path with them. Certainly the books change, but the overall time schedules and subjects are always the same.

Our oldest will be doing 6th & 7th grade this year, and she has a real mastery of most math concepts. Every year I have to search and search for a math text that is not just repetition of what we have already done. I found one I really liked this year, but the whole book was a prep for NYS standardized testing!!! Yes, the WHOLE book! While the content was fabulous, the layout was horribly confusing. I ended up just using the Table of Contents and finding my own lessons on the topics outlined.

I can't wait to have all of our plans and books in place, I really enjoy teaching my children and being there with them as they successfully learn something new! There is no greater joy in the world than seeing your children succeed and feel the pride that comes with hard work.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Day of Silence

Religion is not the only thing that doesn't belong in school. I do not believe public schools are the place for certain types of political activism as well.

Did you visit the above link? Did you look at the list of schools that are participating? Southold is one of them..."right here in River City...."

In trying to be so politically correct as not to offend anyone, we are ending up offending everyone.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Wish List Items #8 & #9

8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

We happen to be religious, and homeschooling partially for religious reasons, but it did not start out that way. I may have shared this before, I don't recall.

We initially began homeschooling because our oldest daughter needed her family around her, for more than just 3 or 4 waking hours a day. She was experiencing some changes in her life that were causing her physical and emotional discomforts. Couple that with her coming home from school to discover a whole litany of new behaviors from her brother and sister, and you have a small child disconnecting from her family.

It is of utmost importance to me that my children be raised in the teachings of The Bible. It's really wonderful to have the opportunities to weave those stories and values into our everyday lessons and experiences. But there are plenty of homeschoolers, right here in our area, who are either not religious at all, or choosing not to school in a religious manner. Our homeschool group is a wonderful mix of many religions (including no religion) and cultures and lifestyles. There are loads of conferences and gatherings all across the county where homeschoolers can mix and mingle with families of every kind.

Homeschooling is about freedom. Freedom to do what is best for your family, whatever that means for you.