Welcome to Live. Learn., a chronicle of our homeschooling journey. Here I'll share our challenges (I'm sure there will be many) and our triumphs, our failures and our successes, our tears and our laughter. By sharing our journey I hope to help our family and friends not only understand why we are choosing to home school, but to understand what it means to be a homeschooling family; to live and learn together. Maybe along the way this little chronicle might just help someone else who's struggling with the decision to take on responsibility for their child's education and offer ideas to help those that are already traveling this path.
As when starting down any new path, the best place to start is exactly where you are at. Evaluate where you are, what brought you to the decision to try a new direction, and figure out where you need to go from here. All too often we set out on a new endeavor without knowing exactly where we are in the first place and with no clear idea of where we want to end up. We know we need to do something new, something's got to change, but we don't know why.
Here's where we are. Our 7 year old daughter Mairin is in 2nd grade at our local parochial school. Our 4 year old daughter Stella is in preschool at a local private preschool. We aren't exactly disenchanted with our current school situation, but we aren't exactly in love with it either. Academically both schools are slightly above average for our area, socially both schools offer our children a limited but acceptable peer group, financially we are fortunate enough to be in a position of affording both schools. Both children enjoy school (as much as any non-morning person can enjoy getting up before the sun and rushing out the door) and do well, both children have healthy friendships at school, they get along well with other children and adults, and so far we don't spend hours on end struggling with homework, reading and other lessons (many of the reasons families turn to homeschooling in the first place). Sounds like we're on the right track, doesn't it? So, why exactly do we need to change direction?
I could tell you about the experiences (good and bad) we've had while our children have been attending traditional school, but this post is about where we are, not where we've been. Besides, I'm sure as this blog evolves and you get a glimpse into my thought processes you'll hear those stories anyway. To be completely open, honest, and truthful there isn't really a good explanation for why we feel we need to change direction. In other words, I'm not entirely sure that we've even been heading in the wrong direction to begin with. What I do know, is that while we don't seem to have veered off course yet, I have an inclination that there might just be a better way, that there's a lot more to explore off the beaten path.
Homeschooling the children is something that's been mentioned with only half seriousness since before Mairin started preschool. We've mostly discussed it as an alternative to the parochial school we eventually decided on (we aren't religious and the idea of sending our children to a religious school hasn't always set well with us). In the end, we always laughed it off and went on with the status quo. I mean, going to school in an institution is something you're supposed to do, right? It is after all the only way you can possibly learn what you need to know to be an effective adult isn't it? Maybe, but probably not, and that's where we are. We're ready to explore.
But, Carrie, is your children's future, their education, something you really want to experiment on? Oh be honest, that was the first thought that popped into your head, right? I know because it was my first thought too. Then, I took a step back, I sat down with my husband, and we discussed all of the implications. The conclusion was this......our children are young, we can obviously teach them everything they need to know at this age (I mean, I can do 3rd grade math and science), and if the whole thing doesn't work out what have we got to lose? But, if it's a success, if it's everything we hope it will be, if it's everything every home schooler I know says it is, then what have we lost if we don't give it a try?
We'll have lost an opportunity for our children to grow, learn and explore in a way that best suits them. We'll have lost the opportunity to see our children discover and pursue, on their own, what interests them. We'll have lost an opportunity to spend many fleeting childhood moments with our children. We'll have lost an opportunity to grow and share as a family. We'll have lost an opportunity to live life on our own terms, by our own schedule, and at our own pace. If you ask me, we have a hell of a lot more to lose by NOT trying it.
So that's it. We're trying it. Our children will finish out this school year and next year they won't return. I'm nervous. I'm sad. I'm scared. I'm thrilled. I'm excited. But most importantly, I'm happy with my decision.
Where do we go from here? We're still trying to figure that out, and we'll likely be figuring it out for as long as this journey continues. Follow us as we Live and Learn.