How We Came to Homeschool Part 2: Saying yes to the BoldHeart Life, saying yes to homeschooling
This is Part 2 in a series about how we came to our decision to homeschool.
If you haven't already, check out Part 1: Let Me Start at The Beginning
My favorite fridge magnet from the lovely Colette Paperie
A few weeks ago we received an acceptance letter from the Waldorf School for Roscoe's kindergarten year. I waited until the very last day to respond knowing that it would make our decision final. In my note I shared that we had recently made the unexpected decision to homeschool and that Roscoe would not be enrolling for the 2014-2015 school year. The Director's message back was to the point: “Well, that is a surprise!”
After years of assuming that our kids would attend public school, and then the last two and a half years spent establishing a relationship with the local Waldorf school in anticipation of that kindergarten acceptance letter I wholeheartedly agree, it has been a rather quick and unexpected change of heart. I’m giving myself at least a few months to let it fully sink in.
I rely on my short and long term plans, which umbrella numerous lists and goals. If it's in my head it gets put on paper. The exercise gives me mental clarity and a sense of direction while it also offers some semblance of control. Though I haven't always given myself the freedom to change my mind or to stray from the Plan, my mothering presents a very compelling circumstance. The big and little decisions I make deserve my full attention, particularly the ones that affect my kids, my work, and our family life. Allowing myself flexibility to diverge from even the best laid plan gives me the greatest chance to get it right, to grow with my kids, and to give everyone a voice in how our journey unfolds.
I’ll never say never again.
Back in December Andy and I shared some wild conversations in the dazzling calm that followed Christmas. By wild I just mean that I doubt our former childless selves would have guessed that their future parent selves would be the kind of people who give birth at home, or bedshare, or breastfeed into the toddler years, or quit their jobs, or change their worldviews, or homeschool, of all things.
I couldn't have seen it coming, but lying nose to nose in the pitch darkness of winter provokes courage in the same way that difficult or passionate discussions are often made easier by riding in a car while staring out of the window at the streetlamps passing or far off into the distance where the sky meets the road. In the face-close of night, the illusion of infinite space exists to fill it up with what you really mean to say, to be bold with new ideas that come to life and grow big above our heads and then drift late into the sleeping hours. And that moment when I mistook Andy's silence for having fallen asleep? He surprised me with words that rang like truth, affirming my greatest hopes with his enthusiasm and support.
I came across Lori Pickert's blog about project based homeschooling (PBH) on a whim internet search of homeschool and Reggio-Emilia—an approach I've become familiar with through the boys' preschool. Really I was just exploring the possibilities for after Roscoe's kindergarten year in an effort to look at all of our options. While I had my own misunderstandings about who homeschools, and why they homeschool, and how it looks or how their kids fare, I was immediately struck by the ways in which the PBH approach offered a natural extension of our parenting and really embodied the vision that Andy and I have long shared for our family life. Project Based Homeschooling resonated in ways that for the first time made it possible to see myself and my family as the homeschooling kind.
Homeschooling really took hold of our imaginations when we considered how we could more creatively use our time and money to live our big ideas. At the time we were considering just the kindergarten year, but what if instead of paying $7500 for private school we homeschooled and used that money to begin to travel to all the places we've always wanted to go?
I was soon on the internet reading “Top 10” and “Best Of” family vacations, pinning to my Family Travel Adventures board with wanderlust that suddenly felt surprisingly within reach.
Admittedly, we are inexperienced travelers, particularly with children and especially internationally. We quickly tapered down our expectations and found equilibrium mapping out several small East Coast trips that we could really get excited about. When I booked a small lakehouse in Maine for 6 weeks this Summer it felt like we were really getting on to the good stuff.
With more discussion about finances, and priorities, and the life that we really craved to live, I committed to the idea of homeschooling with ~68% of my heart.