This is a weird phase for my blogging. I look back on previous posts that are well written and filled with honest emotion and I can place myself in the very spot in my house where the post was written and remember with perfect clarity the issue/adventure/opportunity I was writing about.
Lately my posts are a scrapbook of how we are home educating, where we are traveling, and what we are doing as a family. More often than not, I catch grammatical or spelling errors, or Grace catches them when she is reading my posts and alerts me that I did a sloppy job with my editing. Editing? What editing? This is my life right now, unedited.
I am committed to keeping this blog going. I began it years ago as a way to share our adventures with homeschooling to my family members and turned into a record of our family memories. I am often asked if the girls will go to high school either at the public school or an arts magnet, or Catholic school. We are planning to homeschool through high school. I want to document how we are doing it and how it is a beautiful choice for our family. I don’t expect everyone to understand it, nor do I ask them to take my hand and step off the ledge and join us for the enormous leap of faith that we are about to take. However, I do encourage those who may not understand why we are making this choice, or rather, renewing our commitment to it, to ask thoughtful questions, inquire about our plan, and engage in a dialogue about how a child can take control over their own education and set out upon an education experience unlike any they would experience in a brick and mortar high school building.
I have never felt more capable of homeschooling my daughters than I do at this very moment. Why? I am not entirely sure. I have prayed...hard. I look at my girls and I look at my friend’s children and my own nieces and nephews who are doing very well in school. They have access to sports, theater, band, orchestra, math teachers, and lab sciences. When I was told that my friend’s son is doing pre-algebra in 6th grade, I would be lying if I did not admit to myself that I had a moment of anxiety and began to compare. But then I took a deep breath and realized that my 6th grader is also doing pre-algebra. She writes her own games titled “guess the function” and stumps me every.single.time. If I were to put her in a traditional classroom with a traditional text titled Pre-Algrebra she would shut down. Her stomach ache would return almost as quickly as her “I hate math” attitude. Her self confidence would plummet and we would be back to the place we were years ago.
I have had many open and honest conversations with the girls about school. I never want them to look back and feel that I kept them out of school. I have told Grace that we can visit schools, attend open houses, shadow students for a day, and compare and contrast what schools have to offer vs. what homeschooling offers. She does not want to go to school. She does not want to have the hours of homework and try to fit guitar lessons, piano lessons, and gymnastics lessons into the after school hours. She quite enjoys sleeping until 7:00 or 8:00 on the few days we don’t have an early class, and she enjoys spending quality time with her father when he gets home from work.
Since I am using her 8th grade as a test run for high school, we are exploring how to increasingly add difficulty and challenges in her work while allowing for an interest led experience. She is working for an average of 5-6 hours a day, which while at first glance would seem less than a schooled child, keep in mind this is one on one tutoring, not one of 25+ and a teacher. We are watching documentaries in the evening, listening to audiobooks in the car, reading history aloud, partnering with other families for classes, attending classes outside the homeschool community, reading and discussing the Bible, visiting museums, traveling to New York for concerts and theater, and buckling down for our one true textbook led subject, math. Our days are full and rich and rewarding. When my head hits the pillow sleep does not allude me. I am tired. Right now, in this moment of our journey, just about every day is a very good day. I have always said and I continue to hold true to my mantra that we will homeschool for as long as it works. It is working.