Sunday, August 26, 2012

New School Year...New Goals

Well, it seems summer has about wound down.  Tomorrow we embark on a new year...a new journey...and we are excited!  Last year after some nudging from Howard, we decided to try homeschooling Luke, and while I was skeptical, overall it was a good year.

To be clear, we didn't decide to homeschool because we are afraid of public school or that we think it is bad.  I am not here to bash public school.  I know many amazingly talented teachers, and am a product of that system myself.  Our choice to school the kids ourselves isn't a commentary on other people's choice to send their kids to school.  We as parents have the hardest job ever and I don't begrudge anyone who makes informed decisions for their families.  I am grateful to live in a country where we have decisions to make and have a choice to send our kids to public/private school or homeschool.

I went to school to be a teacher and was a teacher before having Luke.  I love kids, and I love education.  Luke went to a great school.  He had great teachers and he genuinely liked school.  The trouble is that I quickly saw my once inquisitive, creative, risk taking boy turn to a timid, people pleasing, afraid to make a mistake kind of kid.  Now while I am not saying those are necessarily BAD things...but it made us think...and ultimately we know the school system inside and out.  We know what it is designed to do, and creativity and problem solving are not strong suits of public education.  The turn we saw in Luke was staggering so we decided to see what would happen if we kept him home.

Well the year was good, but honestly I just replicated public school at home.  He did all the same work, all the same tests, and all the same complaining.  Some days it was torture as I followed the curriculum and forced him (my 8 year old) to write a persuasive essay complete with bibliography.  The kid who used to write elaborate, intricate, creative stories now pouted at the mention of writing a word.  We were frustrated, and some days exasperated with eachother.  I know he is capable of the work...but it was so uncreative...and even I hated doing it.  We got to the point that we just were not enjoying each other and that is our main reason for homeschooling!  I LOVE being with my kids and couldn't imagine someone else getting the opportunity to be with them more than me! 

This year...we are embarking on something new.  After spending the summer studying John Holt and John Taylor Gatto's research and philosophy, we've decided to take an entirely different approach.  This year we are going to enjoy eachother.  We are going to live life.  Life is education.  We learn what is important by DOING what is important and we are going to do all that stuff.  I am beyond excited.  We have plans for museums, art exhibits, zoos, playdates, nursing home visits weekly, service projects, recipes, journaling, photography, explorations outside and many more things.  My hope is to focus largely on relationships this year.  We are going to make new friends and grow in the friendships we have.  We are going to have fun, enjoy each other and serve others!

I am hoping to take some "first day of school" photos tomorrow, but in addition to some fun projects I have planned, we have Jake's OT and we are doing a little respite foster care and expecting a visit from some family.  We will see how the day goes.  I am excited to journal all of our fun experiences here!

I'd love to know...are you setting any new goals for your family, whether you send  your kids to school or school at home, I'd love to hear some of your goals for your family this school year! 


Nicole said...

I don't know if I've ever commented on your blog before, but I've followed you for a while. Ever since Hope was born. :)

I am a homeschooling mama to 3 kiddos, a 7 year old, 6 year old and 22 month old (yes, he sits in with us and adds a ton of "fun" LOL).

We've homeschooled from the beginning with our children and we all enjoy it very much. We use My Father's World curriculum. We are doing Adventures this year (a MFW program).

I know you weren't asking for advice, but if I could just offer encouragement instead:

Have FUN! Take it easy. Don't rush anything. Let him learn in his own time. Find some homeschool support whether in your area or online. It's nice to have a place to ask questions or get opinions. (There are tons of groups on FB.) Don't add too much. Just do the basics and only add as interest leads. And I'll repeat, HAVE FUN!! Okay, you probably know all of that already. ;)

It sounds like you will have a wonderful year. Learning through life is the best way to learn. Take lots of pictures and make memories, the years fly by too quickly.


asplashofsunshine said...

I love love love how you homeschool, yet are not bashing public schooling! I despise that way of thinking... which goes both ways. Our public schools are amazing! Clearly, many are not. I'm a teacher myself, although am lucky enough to be home with my kids for the last 7 years. I know the good, bad, and ugly side of it. Same with homeschooling. I'm the only one of 6 siblings who send my kids to public schools. All other of my siblings have such a hatred for public schools, and tell me I'm going to hell for sending my kids to such a horrific place.

Enjoy another year of homeschooling! Enjoy the memories, and the learning. And again, thank you for your openness and respect for choices that other families make as well.

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

I love the idea of focusing on relationships. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey. Hears to a wonderful school year!