8.28.2008

home schooling lite

Jeremy spilled the beans on this one today - it wasn't a secret but it's been an intense few weeks leading up to the decision and I wanted to feel sure before I posted about it. It comes down to the fact that my bright, intense, creative, curious daughter has a wicked time adjusting to school in fall. What is even worse is to see her a month or two later, coming home either gray and monotone or feverishly bright eyed and manic, wildly assuring us that it's all good. Which it's not. I'd like to avoid starting Ella in the system altogether although I suspect she'd have an easier time of it (does that make it better or worse?).

For Ivy school is academically dull and socially isolating. I wonder if that applies to most kids, judging from what we've heard from other parents. Why is this something we should be adjusting to? Because it's "good for us" to "get used to the way the world works"? Ivy will have no trouble learning at home and will not become a social freak, as so many people seem convinced will happen with home schooling. She has some good friendships outside of school but the free for all that is called recess hasn't been "good socializing" for anyone we know. Can you feel the cynicism through the quotation marks?

We are enrolling both girls in the home learning program through the district this year (hence home schooling lite). They will go in to a class one day a week with other home learners from k-grade 7. The kids go on field trips together and are provided with other learning opportunities like music lessons. The other bonus of staying registered within the district is that Ivy can still go to her gifted class one afternoon a week - she didn't want to give that up. The thought of being given curriculum that I'm supposed to "teach" gets my back up but I'm willing to acknowledge that it's a reasonable starting point - I really have no idea what I'm getting into.

It feels good. Terrifying and exhilarating. I need to stay focussed long enough to quell the occasional panic and get the paperwork done, then I'll level off. Before long it will settle into the new normal and that will be the real test. I'm hoping I'll be motivated to provide honest updates once in a while. At this time it really feels like the right choice but who knows until you've done it? This has all lead to a lot of reflection on my own school experiences, or is it the other way around? I'll save that therapeutic spewing for a late night when I'm alone with a bottle of wine. Which isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

6 comments:

Chris said...

congrats on the decision to homelearn...we're at your back, and available for any advice, phone calls, skype or visits.

Strap on your seatbelts! Fun awaits!

Kaili said...

Oh man I am SO excited for you guys! I'm sure you know my family was homeschooled. We shoudl talk, we plan on (unless a waldorf school comes to town) homeschooling our children too!
Oh we need to get together and chat about this. Also my Mom would be SO awesome for you guys to talk to, she was the leader of our group in Abby (100 families I think) for years!
Anyways I think you guys will THRIVE as a homeschooled family!!! So awesome!

Tannis said...

Thanks Chris, watching your family in action has been a big influence in this decision!

Kaili, I had no idea...but somehow it doesn't surprise me too much! I have the waldorf curriculum sitting in my living room as we speak. Not that I've read much of it yet (Ivy has!). I'd love to meet with you and your mom to soak up some wisdom.

carolyn said...

HI from Australia,
the home learning programme sounds wicked!
I hope you'll find the curriculum a helpful time-saving guide you can tailor easily.

Lucky you - our education system won't provide something as nice as what you have - especially the gifted class which is what we really need and still do - we had to do it all ourselves with an out of area school. the kids he mixed with were all fulltimers and a nice bunch. The 'fun' day at school seemed a little unfair on the regular kids! it was expensive but worth it for a happy child. He's gone to high school now though - own choice, and definitely not a social freak or academically backward so enjoy! and be grateful your education 'system' is more advanced than ours!

PS. I read your blog because i have the same food allergies as you and sadly I live in a place with lots of nice orchards too :(

Tannis said...

Hi Carolyn,

We have realized since posting about our experience how rare these learning options are - we are indeed lucky. I got the curriculum and it's kind of hit and miss (predictable). We've done lots of learning this week but it doesn't necessarily correspond with the books. We'll figure out the balance over time.

On the topic of the allergies...all the reading I did on the net a few years ago suggested that it was lifelong and would likely get worse. This summer I had the opposite experience! When my body is in balance and not under too much stress they seem to ease off. I ate cherries! I have been able to eat some apples, particularly if I peel them. As soon as I had a week where I didn't have enough sleep, had too much caffeine and a few glasses of wine it went backwards again. It gave me hope though.

Lindsay said...

Good for you! I have so much respect for people who take action to make their families better - whatever that means for them.