Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rambling Thoughts

It's summer break here. I wish I were a year round homeschooler. I would love it if my kids didn't think of learning as happening only between the months of August and May. I would love it if I were the kind of mom who felt inspired to plan fun learning activities all year, to teach grammar in July, to plan fun field trips over the summer, but that's not reality for us.  Right now, I have one kiddo in the pool with her friends and the other three kiddos are rotting their brains playing League of Legends together, and I haven't done one productive thing today, unless you count getting a pedicure as productive. We are slackers from late May to mid-August and we like it that way.

We have been part of the public school system in one way or another for 16 years. The younger two have been homeschooled for the past four years, but we have always worked with the older boys' public school calendar. Summer weather signals a break...a big chunk of unscheduled time with few obligations. We love summer break. We need it. That's never going to change.

In the fall, we will start our fifth year of Otherwise Educating. I can't believe it. This whole thing kind of started out as an experiment. I had no plans for how long I would continue doing it. I truly take it year by year and figure I'll do something different when this doesn't feel right anymore. Right now, it still feels right.

As the kids get older, people get more uncomfortable with me not having my children in "proper" school. When we first started homeschooling, many people thought I was crazy, but I've always been a little unconventional, so most just chalked it up to another odd thing I chose to do like cloth diapering, baby food making and breastfeeding for longer than most people consider "normal".  As time has marched on and my older homeschooled son approaches high school, people are starting to get uncomfortable and have started asking what I'm going to "do" with him. I mean, clearly I can't homeschool him once he reaches high school, can I?  Sometimes I pretend like I've put a lot of thought into it and lay out my "plan", but most of the time I shrug and say, "I'm not sure", because that's the truth.

I am conflicted, because when I look back over my older boys' public school experiences, there are some cool things they did/experienced/learned that I'd hate for my younger kids to miss out on. I also see that they wasted an enormous amount of time and they both tell me that they would have been much better served doing things differently. They don't learn the way public school teaches. Much of the time they were bored, frustrated and sadly apathetic. While I can't give my younger two identical opportunities my older boys had available to them in public school, I think the different experiences and opportunities we have because we homeschool will more than make up for it.

I make no promises about our future plans. My second son just graduated from public high school, so we are definitely going to enjoy one year of not being tied to the public school calendar in any way. After that, we will reevaluate.

Happy summer!


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