Monday, March 12, 2012
Foreshadowing of Homeschooling
So, what exactly were some of the signs that foreshadowed our radical departure from the traditional educational system? Our radical beliefs? Our radical lifestyle? Our radical career choices? No, no and no. Geez, there is nothing radical about a two lawyer family with two children living in the suburbs driving a minivan and owning a dog and some goldfish. No visits from Super Nanny or Real Housewives of Atlanta. We would make for snooze TV, definitely not a ratings grabber. Perhaps then, what I view as "signs" are subtle. Merely things that my husband and I should have picked up on over time.
One of our first signs was our extreme dissatisfaction with the local public schools. We knew many families who were very happy with them, but our discontent was such that we knew it would not be the right choice for our family. Private schools were our only choice because only nut jobs, weirdos and Little House on the Prairie types homeschooled.
(Now I freely admit to having all sorts of ill-informed, preconceived notions about homeschooling. That is not, however, the reason for this parenthetical comment. It is because I feel confident that my mom is just dying to scream into cyberspace that I certainly qualify under the "nut job" and "weirdo" categories. Point well taken, mom. To be fair, she is probably right too.)
Our eldest started her traditional educational career of kindergarten at a Catholic International Baccalaureate school. It is a school that we still highly regard, but it is no longer a good fit for our family. A clear sign, which was missed by us, came on a "sick day" when she was in first grade. Did we spend our time watching Dora the Explorer reruns? No. We researched totem poles and then she created her own totem pole out of an old wrapping paper roll. Quick email to the teacher and she took it to school and gave the class a presentation on totem poles and the native people who created them. Neither my daughter nor I can remember now what sparked the interest, but whatever it was, we followed it. Now that is a definite homeschooling type activity.
Western North Carolina Nature Center. Great place to wander and see animals native to the region. It has always been a family favorite. However, we gave our son pencil and paper and asked him to sketch the animals he saw. Mom took pictures and put together a power point presentation on all the animals for his class.
Family trips are spurred on by our interests or topics about which people are learning. "Night at the Museum 2" was a video my daughter really wanted for Christmas one year. So our Spring Break trip was naturally a family trip to the Smithsonian.
Book Warehouse. Please don't get me wrong, we do go to Downtown Disney for souvenirs and the Lego store. But our very last stop, which is eagerly awaited, is always the Book Warehouse. We spend hours piling up books for each member of the family. Having just left there two days ago with a mountain of new books (55 in all, photo is just some of the kids' books) is what triggered all these thoughts of "signs" that we were destined for homeschooling.
Significance of the signs? Not too much other than I should stop being so surprised that we are now homeschooling. Guess it is time to relax and enjoy the adventures in learning together.