Monday, August 15, 2011
School is all the buzz right now in Northeast Ohio. In our district, classes start in a little over a week and if you set foot in any store, mall, or even restaurant that is all everyone is talking about.
When I was younger I lived for the start of school... my book bag was packed the start of August even though in Western NY it didn't start until after Labor Day. I planned my locker decorations, re-read my summer reading books in anticipation of first day pop quizzes (yes, they did happen at my school!), and held my breath for that morning when I would go see all my friends again to catch up. It seems forever ago and yet only yesterday. And even though I loved school, my kids are not me and schools are not what they used to be.
I asked Gabby if she wanted to go to school this year, because I didn't want anyone to accuse me of not giving her the option. She didn't even hesitate before saying no! We talked for awhile about what we wanted to learn this year and then went off on another of our adventures. But it made me think about how our reasons have changed for homeschooling since we took her out of public schools last November and this is what I came up with:
1. I prefer my girls to actually experience real life learning instead of just reading about it. For example, to actually go to the zoo to see the polar bear instead of doing a worksheet on polar habitats, and use real money to pay for things instead of playing with fake plastic coins that don't resemble the real thing.
2. I want them to have a choice in what they learn and to make each learning experience matter to their daily lives, instead of stressing out about a test about something that will be forgotten as soon as it is done.
3. We enjoy being able to take a long weekend without having to ask permission or worry that something will be missed.
4. I like that I can follow the rhythm of our family rather than a forced schedule that doesn't fit us. Waking up at 7am is definitely not a Gabby thing! Sometimes we don't "school" until after dinner, sometimes we skip a weekday and then learn on a Saturday... it all depends on the kids.
5. The girls get to hang out and be with people of all ages throughout the day, just like in real life. They talk to everyone they meet, are constantly learning from their surroundings, and look for new experiences.
6. With budget cuts everywhere, teachers are hard pressed as it is to teach all that the states demand. There is little room for creative teaching, going off roading with lessons, or teaching to all the different learning styles in a class of 30. I know my daughter and how to help her succeed.
But, forget all the details and what it boils down to is that right now, this is right for us. I am pretty sure that if I can homeschool after just having a baby and having a husband who is gone 2/3 of an entire day, I can teach all the subjects that is required! I homeschool so that we can read Little House on the Prairie while eating on the beach in September, so we can sit and watch baby grizzly bears and talk about the animal world, and so that if my daughter has to go to the bathroom she doesn't have to worry about someone saying no to her.
So we will go get some new pencils, a notebook or two, and maybe even some new clothes. We will wish all of our friends well as they start the school year, and then go about our routine of learning and life. =)
Why We Homeschool