12 November 2009

Today our family met with Mark, our new homeschool facilitator. We reviewed my education plan for the coming school year, completed a parent evaluation, and snacked on banana bread and tea (which Lily was happy to serve out of her little tea party set).

Writing up Nicholas' education plan and discussing it with Mark today has got me examining our homeschooling life. We're in the midst of our third year of homeschooling and in many ways it feels like we're just getting into our groove.

In the first year, I struggled with finding our style. At first I took the approach of relaxed eclectic but within a few months I realized that, at heart, we were really unschoolers. I just had to get over my fear of trusting Nicholas and his ability to pursue learning. The rest of that year I felt the aches and pains over learning and trusting in the process, but we never lost sight of the fact that homeschooling was the right choice for our family.

The second year was a flurry of activity. Nick and Lily were getting a feel for the things they liked and we spent days upon days prowling about the science center and libraries. So much of my energy went towards my pregnancy that there were times I felt I was barely keeping up with the kids.

This, our third year, is different in so many ways. With Olivia's arrival, dynamics and relationships within the family have changed. Nick and Lily are now the both the big kids, and as Lily becomes old enough to join in on some programs and start doing workbooks she feels more than ever like she's homeschooling as well. Nick is more immersed than ever in his books and projects, and it's not uncommon for the girls and I to be doing activities together while Nick tucks himself off somewhere in the house to learn and create on his own.

I took a different approach to creating Nick's education plan this year. Normally, I listed out all the various subjects and created goals and strategies pertaining to each subject. When I sat down to work on it this year, though, it seemed more than ever that this layout didn't reflect our approach to learning our my views on Nick's development as a well-rounded individual. Instead, I created the headings of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual and included under this broad areas what we are and will be doing this year. I'm really happy with the outcome and the way that it allows much more room for the life learning that is part of our homeschooling life.

In discussing with Mark our journey from public schooling to homeschooling, I had the chance to really appreciate just how much this approach to life and learning has meant to our family. I love the way that Nick has positively flourished in these past few years and the way that our family relationships have grown and strengthened through our family-focused lifestyle. In the midst of the myriad of mommy worries, at least I can know without a doubt that in this area we've made the best choice for our family.


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