Monday, August 4, 2014

Intent to homeschool

This time every year I have to remind myself to turn in my 'intent to homeschool' to the state. As I approach our 11th year in home educating I reflect on this journey with a chuckle. You see it was never my intent to homeschool. My intent was to send my kids to the  local Christian Academy, volunteer there, and  be the occasional room mom, and maybe teach preschool on the side. BUT homeschooling was never on my radar as something I planned on doing. In fact, I used to think those that homeschooled were a little crazy. 

I came from an educational background.  All I ever played as a child was school. I had my own chalk board, made fake tests, and called role. Teaching was what thrilled me the most outside of being a mom. So when I entered college, I pursued an education degree. In college I learned how to make lesson plans and incorporate ways to meet all the learning styles within those lesson plans....but home education. Are you kidding me? Was that even legal?

When my oldest two kids were young, I knew a few homeschool moms. AND some did fit that stereotypical homeschooler that I just was not. I didn't own a van, or a denim jumper.  I just didn't see how you could teach all different grade levels and subjects at the same time and do it with any kind of success. (Those one room school houses back in the day managed, but that was on Little House on the Prairie, right? not my street, my town,and certainly not my house, my  kids or me!)...

When my daughter, Karlie was in Kindergarten, she struggled with the curriculum. It was fast paced and definitely geared to only one type of learning style...worksheets, drill and spit it back. When I teach I tend to lean in to the creative side more but that's a post for another day.

 It was decided at the end of that school year, she would repeat Kindergarten. She has never let me live down the fact that she repeated Kindergarten even though many people repeat kindergarten. After Kindergarten I, Kindergarten 2 and First Grade at the local academy, my hubby and I decided mid year of first grade that I would homeschool the next year. At a teacher conference and after numerous testing for learning disabilities , the first grade teacher said that she agreed with our homeschool decision and thought it would be best. I should have pulled her out right then, but I waited, did my research, bought my curriculum, and  approached my homeschool mom friends for advice.

 I soon had a plan and the next year, with an old  refurbished school desk we began our journey. We soon had our own little routine. A couple of hours or so in the morning doing our school work for 2nd grade, and a toddler playing in the mix we had found our niche and by lunch time we were done. Soon she was blossoming again as she gained her confidence back after those early frustrating years of traditional schooling. Little did I know, expect or plan, but my oldest, Zach,  a 6th grader at the time, begged and pleaded that he should be homeschooled too, and by the first six weeks of that school year we pulled him out and he too began the journey.
a photo from the early years of homeschooling eating lunch at our favorite lunch room~ Chick-fil-A

Eleven years have passed, we have been in various homeschool groups, attended various homeschool co-ops, home school music schools, and hybrid schools. My oldest has graduated high school and college! My daughter is entering into her senior year of high school. She is quick to point out to her siblings that she made the way for homeschooling in our family. She has had her share of struggles over the years, but she amazes me at her spunk and tenacity. She keeps on, even when it's hard and discouraging. She tries new things, and gives it her best shot.  Shek, our 3rd born who has never been to  traditional school outside of home, or homeschool co-op, enters 7th grade and my youngest enters Kindergarten this year. I often jokingly say that I will be homeschooling till Jesus comes back.
Karlie enters her senior year in high school next month.
Shek the soon to be 7th grader is now taller than me...what?
Jolie, our  baby, is beyond excited to start her Kindergarten school work soon.
Zach graduated from college this past May with a degree in Music Performance.

Homeschooling is not the educational journey I planned on for my family, but it's one that I am glad God opened up for us for this season in our lives. We have had a lot of opportunities through home educating that we would not have had if we took the more traditional route, we've met lots of friends along the way, that we would not have met otherwise. We have had a chance to  meet the educational needs of each child's learning style. We have had more time to pursue talents and skills with special instruction because we had a flexible homeschool calendar and schedule. We have had the opportunity to coordinate with other teachers in the homeschool arena to do what is best suited for our kids' educational needs.

My kids still cringe when asked where they go to school and they answer,  "I am homeschooled." My college graduate son says, "It's as if you've dropped the homeschool bomb." which is then followed by, "Well, you're not weird!"

Homeschooling, don't knock it till you try it. Don't make fun of it, or you'll be the next one driving your own homeschool van to the next co-op meeting. If you need a denim jumper you're own your on.

Class of 2010, 2015, 2020 and 2027?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Spontaneous Saturday

Last weekend we went to Atlanta for lunch and wanted to take Emily to see Piedmont Park, but the park was so crowded and we could find no parking that we went across town and walked around the Olympic park.
I took some photos ....
Everyone  had a

or two.

Shek is a professional photo bomber...

We had an awesome time in the ATL...

We always ride by the new ferris wheel and always talk about how one day we are going to ride it.
The kids were excited that we decided that the day 

had finally arrived to ride the ferris wheel.
We took a few photos while we waited in line...

IT was a very hot day when we finally got on board. When the lady locks you in she shows you the call button, panic button and the button for the air. A word for the wise. DO not touch the snowflake button thinking that you are going to turn the air on actually turns it off...and takes a while to turn back on...and being an closed up glass cage high in the sky without air for a few minutes will bring out the claustrophobia in just about everyone....but finally a cool breeze came back on...and we managed to look at the views...
We might look happy and smiling but we are really sweating bullets and praying for that air to come on in the locked glass box high in the sky...
I'm just gonna say...the air came on...

It was a great day in Atlanta...can't wait for the next adventure.