Tuesday, October 6, 2009

To be or not to be...homeschooling that is.

Since falling in love with sewing all over again and stalking the blogosphere for tutorials and inspiration I have found that many of my favourite blogs of late are also homeschooling moms as well. As I followed these blogs I noticed that their lives with their children were all that more enriched and rewarding and the gears in my ehad began to creak and moan but the turning began and I thought that maybe homeschooling was something that I should be considering. But as I kept reading these few blogs I thought more and more that maybe I was not cut out to teach my daughter anything more than her ABCs, 123s and colours and it made me sad. I too wanted to share in the wonder that is a child learning.

I talked to a few moms at Livejournal (my favourite place for instant feedback and answers) and my fears were quickly abated. Most importantly I was reminded that children do not start off learning grade ten algebra (seriously, if algebra was a person they would be my arch nemesis) and that was probably what I needed to hear most. After a few discussions I learned that homeschooling was very parent friendly and that not every parent need be a teacher in one of their former lives. *phew* Also I was informed that if I thought it necessary I can buy lesson plans and teaching aides that even tell you when to "point at the board". *phew*

That night during a leisurely drive through the country I (as nonchalantly as possible) asked Ron how he felt about the subject. Since I was expecting him to put up a fight (seriously, I was waiting for him to draw the line at my crunchy behaviour right then and there) I was speechless for a moment (even a little flabbergasted) when he said he was for it. After I closed my mouth and collected my thoughts a moment we talked about all the reasons to do it. We talked about how rewarding it would be for the entire family I had to mention how it would ensure the library I had been building (and moving cross country multiple times) over the last few years would be put to good use! By the time we got home we were both quite excited about it and have even discussed it with a couple friends who think it is a great idea too. *phew*

So, with some reassurance and a little advice I began looking into homeschooling. First exploring the aforementioned blogs in more depth. Then I googled for any support networks in my area (one lonely Christian homeschooling network) and then I started requesting books from my local library network. My first book made it to my hands yesterday. The Homeschooling Handbook (1st Edition) written by Mary Griffith.

This edition is more than ten years old (I realized that when I tried googling a cover image and could only come up with the 2nd edition until I found the one pictured above. Regardless, the book has already given me much food for thought such as theories of learning, learning practices and grading (or not). A definite jumping off point for more research. And although the book is definitely written from a very pro-homeschooling perspective it does give a lot of anecdotal evidence from other homeschooling families who use different techniques, schedules and disciplines.

Particularly interesting is the case for unschooling. At first when I kept coming across this term in my research I shied away from it more and more. I was worried that it was another neo-crunchy term that would serve as yet another pissing contest between parents. I have my own thoughts on the crunchy movement even though I feel that I am firmly entrenched in it. But I digress. This book actually turned me around. A little bit. Like much of my life and parenting 'style' (for lack of better word) I found comfort in knowing there were a lot of parents out there who found a way to blend the best of both worlds (school at home and unschooling). I am of the 'everything in moderation even moderation discipline' in life.

The book is also written for homeschoolers in the United States and although Canada and Canadians are very similar we can be worlds apart when it comes to bureaucracy and laws so I will definitely be researching further into Canadian laws regarding homeschooling most likely through the internet and support groups because I just have not found a lot of Canadian titles on the subject. Expect updates on that area most definitely.

Also something to note is how the homes of homeschooling parents are most definitely full of life, chaos and thereby the mess both create! It is nice to know (even if it just secretly) all of these wondermom blogs I read have messy kitchens too. That will just be our little secret though. ;)

I have a few more books to pick up though, I had thought they were to be sent to my local branch but apparently I must go to the next town over. I can't wait though. I am so very intrigued by the entire idea that sometimes I forget that Wednesday just turned two in July!

So, that is where we are right now. Still very early in the research stage but definitely falling in love with it the more and more we look into it. I will leave you with the aforementioned wondermom blogs I mentioned that are truly inspiring (and even a little intimidating).

In no particular order because they are each equally wonderful.

Ordinary Life Magic
Lapaz Home Learning
Collecting the Moments
5 Orange Potatoes

Happy Tuesday!