Monday, August 31, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Bright faces, bigger obstacles, sharpened pencils, unbroken crayons, clean backpacks, growing minds and bodies starting a new school year. I get excited about back to school :-)
We started a few fun traditions with my oldest starting his official kinder year. He's doing a 1st grade curriculum so it's a grey area on 'grade level'.
Bottom left: first day signs.
Bottom right: men's large shirt with his graduating class to take annually. I'm sure I'll cry when he can fit.
Middle right: class board and subway art.
Top right: his favorites at 5 years old.
Top left: end of the first week video party.
This week is also a new opportunity since we did preschool at home to answer questions as to what, why and how we do education in our family .
There isn't as much support, understanding or resources outside our own decision for what we do. I haven't found a children's book or videos around the topic of preparing specifically for homeschool ( And I do not lack book resources, maybe we will make our own ). I was raised attending public school, so this lifestyle is new to me. We have chosen the road less traveled and I don't regret it. We have found more than one co-op and have spent the last year starting to make some beautiful friendships so our boys know they aren't alone.
I don't judge what others chose and I can't control others opinions, statements, thoughts and views on ours. They don't understand our journey, but it's not for them anyway . I'm doing this for my family and that's all it's about.
With being in the minority in our area comes misconceptions and misunderstanding mixed with downright judgment and scorn. We 'must' be type A or afraid to let our kids go or think other educational choices are evil . We 'must' not be concerned about socialization, being exposed to different view points or being a light for others . We 'must' want to control our kids and tell them everything to think ... I'm also not a saint ( been called that), my kids do no always listen to me or want to learn. We don't have it all together, my house isn't always clean. Yes, I do raise my voice and my house is not always clean. We are often in our pajamas and yes my son asks when we can leave the house and where are his friends. So, we are not on a pedestal either. The truth is realistically in between the ideal and the worst case fear of homeschooling. We are just regular people doing the best on the path we believe is right for our family.
I can put my myself in a public school mamas shoes and understand letting your baby go 7 hours a day with a stranger you don't know is hard. I cried hard for at least five minutes outside my 3 year olds classroom door for his first speech class in our local school district's early learning center last spring. It was hard, but I did it because I was convinced that was and is the right best thing for him at this point in his development . And I think others could understand the struggle teaching a child who isn't always willing, figuring out curriculum or being an introvert but continuing to put myself out there is attempts to sidestep the pitfall of a lack of peer group exposure (aka socialization) . Neither answer is to change our choice necessarily but to understand, support and be compassionate on this imperfect journey of educating our children.
So much that is not up to me to convince anyone of the value it holds for our family or unravel public notions, perceptions and expectations for others . My middle sons has some delays and other special issues, should he require more assistance in his education than I can provide, I will with out pride or ego, ask for help as I am accepting help from our local school district for him. We all wants our kids to have the necessary tools to be productive members of society. It's ok if that looks different not only for each family, but also for each child. It's not a rejection of you , your choice or your children, just as your different choices aren't about me, my family or children. If you've met one homeschooler than you've just met the one homeschooler. A large reason why the people I know chose this is to make it personalized for their family whether it's special needs, family schedules, faith, community, competitive sports etc etc, so you can't stick all of us in a gate and slap a general label on intent, approach, method, curriculum etc.
This year I find joy in looking forward to teaching my almost 6 year old more about bible, reading, history, science , math, character, social studies, writing, art and music. In the midst, we will do home ec, problem solving, critical thinking, stewardship, conflict resolution and a hundred other intangibles like forgiveness and love while making family memories .
I look forward to contuing both in-home and group speech and behavior therapy for our 4 year old . He'll learn new stories , how to write, count, do shapes and counting, sorting , patterns, phonics and so much more at his pace.
I look toward to seeing my precious almost 17 month olds personality continue to grow along with his fine and gross motor skills and talking. We'll guide his relationship with his brothers as they become more equal with daily and hourly opportunities to practice love and kindness with their best friends, each other.
I look toward to having a brand new school year with enrichment classes, therapy, play groups, the library, field trips, friends and family as our learning environment. Here's to fresh beginnings ...