I feel the push and pull of following a curriculum and following your heart. We slip back and forth between the two. Some weeks we are home and we just plow through work. Other weeks are filled with interest-led activities, like taking two hours with a sewing exert to wander through Joanne Fabrics in search of the perfect material and the right supplies like snaps, grommets, zippers, and thread. That is valuable too....it is developing an interest and a talent in the same way doing a math lesson is developing a skill and addressing a need.
I have my “educational” goals for the week:
- as much math as possible
- one chapter of history
- one chapter of science
Then there are our interest-led “lessons”:
- weather study
- fashion design
There are what would be called “specials” in school but are really “vitals” in our home:
- art journaling
- ice skating
That is the life of our homeschooling family. We no longer compare ourselves to traditionally schooled kids, although in my mind it still does slip from time to time and I think that in Greg’s mind it slips even more because he is not here to see what takes place when the books are not open.
For example, at dinner our friend Scarlett gave us the most amazing review of a non fiction book she read and recommends. As we were leaving the restaurant Lilah commented that she felt like she was leaving the Lotus Casino. Grace had a very mature conversation with Amy at the table and I just sat back and took it all in.
I think that because Grace would now be in middle school, I am revisiting the issues I had when we first began homeschooling, only now I am much more confident in how our family works together at home. Gone are the days of sibling angst, gone are the days of math drama, gone are the days of driving past the school wondering if that was a better place to spend a day.
However, creeping in are the thoughts of what we need to do to make a decision about Grace’s high school years. Creeping in are the feelings of missing out on opportunities to play sports on a high school team. Creeping in are the thoughts of prerequisite classes for college admissions. These are very real and they must be carefully addressed. Over the course of this year I must work with Grace to figure this out. Right now she does not think she wants to go to high school, in which case we can get her the classes she needs online or at a community college, or perhaps at the university where she will be interning. Much research and questioning has to take place.
I am re-reading Grace Llewellyn’s book: Teenage Liberation Handbook from an entirely new perspective. I want Grace to be in control of her education and the direction her future will take. I want her to feel like it is in her best interest to push herself in the maths and sciences. I want her to work hard at accomplishing her goals. I want her to know that she has plenty of options and her future does not need to be decided in the 7th grade. I want her to know that she can always change her mind, just like I did, twice! I want her to know that no matter what her choice is, I will always be her biggest supporter.