Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So my Things are almost done with their school year. This should be the last week. They are done with testing and have just a few things left to do.

Next year we are sending Thing One to the local high school.
It will be the first year we haven't homeschooled.
It will be a huge adjustment but we are all looking forward to it.
We started homeschooling in Italy when our educational options were very limited. He did NOT want to learn Italian, which ruled out most of the possibilities, I didn't want to send my kindergartener to the DOD school which offered only a full day schedule, beginning and ending each day with an hour-long bus ride featuring all grades,
including high school,
alllllllll together.
Mama said no.
Instead I found an amazing group of gals and started homeschooling.
A new friend gave me the book, The Well-Trained Mind, and I loved it.
In a former life (right after graduation) I thought I wanted to be a teacher so I had a little foundation for this, and the Well-Trained Mind gave me all the false confidence I needed to plunge headlong into the venture.
(Thing One on mid-tour vacation at Gramma's house in 2002)
(Classic science experiment on the balcony with dad, baking soda/vinagar volcano, 2001)

By the beginning of his first grade year Thing One was bringing in National Geographic nature books to read to me instead of his primer. They were more interesting, you know.
When he reeled off,
"Marine biologists learned the migratory patterns..."
I realized I was not teaching this child to read.
I was merely standing in the vicinity while he learned to do it.
In a shocking display of competence I've managed to get the help, materials, and cooperation of my child to the extent that he is ready for high school without ever having been in a traditional school.
I regard that as a miracle in some ways.
Thing Two will be entering the middle school years officially.
I am rather looking forward to only teaching him next year. Of my two kids, he is the only more similar to me. Unlike his big brother he doesn't need to know what is on the schedule for the day, and if I want to jump in the car and just go somewhere to do the rest of school...
he can dig it.
I've been sorting books this week (which for me is somewhat akin to deciding which children to keep) and after passing on some to friends, putting some into a sale, and deciding I just can't part with others, I have bins of books that need assigned quarters somewhere in my house.
I love my books.
More than that though,
I love that for my kids' whole lives (so far) they've thought of me as the someone who knows the answers, which is a role more often given to teachers than to parents.
I love that we've slept in when the mood struck, eaten breakfast and lunch together, cuddled on the couch during reading time, baked cookies for chemistry and measurements, watched Discovery channel and TLC for history, visited the Science Center nearly monthly, visited museums often, done school on the beach, cancelled school to help friends and relatives who needed us, and spent an absolutely absurd amount of time together every single freaking week of their little lives.
My goal has been that they would love to read and learn, and as far as I can tell so far,
it's working.
Life is good.


Charlene Amsden said...

You know you could bring them out here and Amoeba would take them on a tour of a working science facility.

Nessa said...

A truly fantastic achievement.

Anonymous said...

Kudos. I stand in awe of your determination and results...

actonbell said...

Wonderful experiences! And it will be so exciting for your older son to experience something so different next year, too.

lime said...

you've done a great job. best wishes to everyone for a relaxing summer and a great next school year.