We're Considering Homeschool

Since their birth, I have deeply felt the profound demands of my role as a mother and so have never seriously considered (or had interest in) adding to it the responsibility of personally delivering the boys' formal education. Always with an open mind, but also having little experience with homeschooling methods, I've held preconceived ideas and curiosities about the kind of family who chooses to homeschool, what motivates them, what their intentions are, what their learning days look like, and how the decision translates for their children in the short and long term.

With that said, Roscoe turns five in May and planning for the 2014 school year has been in the works for months already. We are confident that Roscoe should have a play kindergarten year versus an academic one. We submitted our application to Waldorf last month although interviews won't begin until after the New Year.

Recent conversations I've shared with a few mothers outside my circle, whose ideas, philosophies and perspectives on child-rearing (and life) I really respect, have sparked a sudden shift in my thinking on the subject of formal education. Given that 1. every kid has different emotional, developmental, and educational needs over time, and 2. every family unit has changing needs and priorities as a function of finances, proximity and access, career paths, childbearing, and more, it makes sense that a child's education doesn't have to be all or nothing whether public, private, or home school is chosen.

I'm learning that children from many families I know have experienced a mix of these educational models; weaving in and out in a nonlinear progression that reflects the needs and resources of their family at given points in time. With this mindset, to choose to homeschool feels less a commitment, and more an opportunity.

Our primary motivation to homeschool is the freedom and flexibility that our family would have to live, work, and learn together (we only have one short lifetime!) and the resources it would free up to do some serious traveling as a family throughout each year. 

The kindergarten year feels ideal to begin with, and the leap from play-based Waldorf to home-based learning doesn't feel that great. Maybe we'll love it, or need to tweak it (probably!), or learn that it's not for us. However it manifests, it's exciting to think about what the upcoming school year could be like for us with the river city as our classroom, taking advantage of the well established local homeschool network to support our learning, and then stepping out to explore the world together.

This year I've grown to love even more the Reggio-Emilia approach that the boys are engaged in at preschool, which highlights project based learning. If we decide to move in this direction, we would probably adopt that approach.

We are definitely in the exploratory phase of this inquiry, and right now I'm honestly working through my ambivalence on a range of topics and what-ifs that stem from this surprising change in heart. While I will attempt to figure out the biggest pieces, I am compelled to be bold in making decisions that feel right, knowing and trusting that we will figure it out as we go.

 

This could be the craziest idea we've had yet, or the most incredible, right?!

If you are considering homeschooling your kids, where is your process taking you? If you are a homeschooling mama do you have resources to share?

A few resources I've been pouring over:

The Camp Creek Blog: project-based homeschooling

Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring self directed learners

Virginia Homeschool Groups: Community groups for local support and collaboration

VaHomeschoolers: the organization of Virginia homeschoolers

The VaHomeschoolers Connection: the VaHomeschoolers blog

The Home School Legal Defense Association: learn the laws in your state

 

Other books on my radar:

Working in the Reggio Way

An Encounter with Reggio-Emilia: Children's Early Learning Made Visible 

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