Alternative Education (Dare I Say... Homeschool)
I know, it's crazy. After all, I was the mom who audibly groaned at the mention of homeschooling. The idea terrified me. Terms like unschooling and worldschooling were less scary, but I basically still equated them with homeschooling. So what caused me to make the switch? It's complicated. And also very simple.
First, I recognize that I'm privileged to have choice in the matter. I work from home. I am able to homeschool and I'm grateful for that. I realize that many parents have no such option. Another important point to make is that I have loved every teacher my children have had during their time in the public school system. That said, I cringed every time I heard myself say, "You have to stop reading so you can do your homework." And I hated dragging them out of bed though they clearly needed more sleep. The time that school took from us made our children more dependent on me than ever. I wanted them to learn to make their own breakfasts, to put away their own laundry, but I'd end up doing these things all in the interest of time. We'd rush to get to school, rush to complete homework, rush to get to bed on time.
We'd dabbled with the homeschool model during our travels. We never confined our trips to school breaks and at times have traveled for months at a time, so it was necessary to take a more active role in our daughters' education. When we returned from our most recent trip, we decided we would not enroll the girls back in school.
So, what does homeschooling look like for us? Is it hours of tears doing worksheets at the dining room table? No, though I'll admit we've had a few math meltdowns.
Here's one version of what homeschool looks like - the girls at City Hall finding out what sort of permits they need to start their own business.
Their dad spearheads their entrepreneurial education. After City Hall they examined various business models and determined that they could sell coffee and hot chocolate for fifty cents a cup. OR they could give away coffee and hot chocolate and accept tips, the average of which is one dollar.
An average week includes math, reading, science (Mystery Science or IXL), library time, PE at a local gymnastics studio, Zumba with their Aunt (an adult exercise class that they crash), Spanish (Duolingo for the girls, Pimsleur for me), chores, playdates, geography, history, typing skills, writing pen pals, theater camp, and Fridays with dad. We've learned about Rosa Parks and Marie Curie, practiced old-school long division, and grown apple trees from seeds. I had no idea that it would be a blast.
Building a catenary arch at the Discovery Center.
And of course when we travel, it becomes more worldschooling than homeschooling. Here they are visiting with the Tatuyo tribe in the Amazon.
I'm three months into full-time homeschooling and I have no regrets. The only casualty thus far has been my writing time, but that's something I anticipated. It's a riddle I haven't yet figured out. But when I look at my daughters and realize how fast they're growing up, I'm able to see my priorities with a new perspective. I don't have all the answers (never will), but I do know that it's absolutely worth it.
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Check out AK Turner on EOFire with John Lee Dumas