letter A unit.

Even before we had children, Jesse and I discussed schooling. A lot. We went back and forth, between decrying the evils of public schools to the merits of diversity in public education and the fact that both of us (public school kids) turned out just fine! We still have mixed feelings – for example, there are many things wrong with our education system, but if we opt out of the system entirely how will it ever get better? And isn’t it just out of my place of privilege that I can choose an option other than public school – is my child better than other children who don’t have the choice? BUT for now, since Further is only 3 and he is already home with us all day, we are trying out a very loose homeschooling curriculum.

My main goals for the year are to establish a rhythm of school and work within our days, to introduce Further to structured learning, and to basically just see if this is something that is going to fit for our family and for Further and my relationship. That’s it! No real pressure on him or me.

So far, our days have ended up being mostly play, outside time, reading, art, and anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour of actual, structured “school.” It is pretty free and relaxed – I have been trying to take cues from what Further is interested in, what his body language tells me (as in: sitting down for a craft vs. turning him loose outside to get the crazies out), and involve him in practical life skills tasks (as in: just doing our normal life stuff like chores, farm work, cleaning, cooking). That being said, I have very much appreciated having a curriculum to guide my days and give me structure: we are using The Peaceful Preschool along with resources from Simply Learning. I’m stretching the “one letter a week” units to two weeks per letter, so that I have lots of flexibility for those “nope not happening” sort of days.

Essentially, I have no idea what I am doing. Within just these first two weeks I have had days of feeling like “This is amazing and I am a rockstar and Further is a genius and the online homeschooling community is so inspiring and helpful” to “I am failing and we are accomplishing nothing and why can’t Further count correctly and the online homeschooling community is a horrible, dark place of shame and guilt.” FUN! I would love to know your thoughts! Are you homeschooling? Public school? Private? I obviously have no judgement on choices either way – we hope Further likes it but also want to respect his choice if he someday wants to go to school. I hope to hear from some of you!

– Hannah.

art table.

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3 thoughts on “SCHOOL AT HOME.

  1. I homeschooled my two boys-now 13 and 11-for the first 6 years of their schooling. We have a secular homeschool co-op in Berea that meets once a week we were members of. When my oldest was going into 6th grade, we transitioned to public school two and a half years ago. It’s been a smooth, happy transition. I have felt both ways about homeschooling that you’ve experienced! It can be both utterly delightful and crushingly difficult. I so value our time at home together, and introducing them to an alternative way of living and learning than our cultural norms. Now that they are in school I’ve been able to spend my time primarily on my creative business-a satisfying shift. It’s such a complex issue! My advice is to take it a year at a time, and continue listening to your kid and yourself about how you should do things. Though it can be a great community, there can be a special sort of awful competitive, opinionated streak in homeschooling folks at their worst! Best of luck!

  2. It sounds like you’re doing your very best for your son and that is commendable no matter what you decide.

    We live in a small farming community and our two sons get picked up at our door and ride the bus for fifteen minutes to the small k-12 public school in a town population 20. They go to school with farm kids and kids that live on acreages, many of whom own horses, pigs, sheep or cattle. In fact, of the 150-ish students all but 1 are rural and are bussed to school!

    It’s my opinion that where parents go wrong is expecting to send their kids to school and wash their hands of it. Kids need to continue working on their schooling at home and all those teachable moments need taught and discussed. So whether you send them to school or school at home, trust your instincts and stay involved either way. Volunteering at the school has been a great way for me to get to know the students and teachers and feel a part of the community :)

  3. I would LOVE to homeschool, but I feel so selfish when I reflect on my schooling reasons to not:
    – I don’t feel patient enough to be able to teach the important things or follow a homeschooling book (which I would need in order to find direction)
    – Would I be creative enough and present of mind enough to get my girls (1.5 & 3.5 yrs) excited about learning.
    – I wouldn’t have any child-free time to work on my creative business (which I’ve decided will be used to pay for their schooling, ironically(?))

    So for now I have my 3 yo in a church preschool. I wish they had more parent volunteering opportunities because that is something I would LOVE to do, to still be present and know what my child(ren) is learning. <- this is my reconciliation with not being the homeschool leader, but by volunteering to still be helpful and in-the-know.

    I look forward to seeing how your journey goes and any insight you can share :) :)

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