9.13.2011

Our homeschooling, unschooling and charter school hybrid

The school year has officially started for us on August 23rd, as dictated by our charter school. But being the rebel that I am, we have eased into the school year, and I've cast aside any worries about the "first day of school".  This is more for me than it is for the chil'rens. So instead of banging erasers, we've read a few books, ordered a few programs, organized our "school room" (basically, its just a glorified one of these). Whose bright idea was it to begin school in August, when it's still hot and sunny outside and the slip 'n slide beckons?

What a sadist!

We went camping on Labor Day weekend, so there was that. Then there was the mandatory 2-3 day recuperating period after said camping trip. We tried to get some work done in between all that but, who am I kidding? We were in survival mode. That left yesterday, as our unofficial/official first day of school. For my kids that are home, we've settled on this: Teaching Textbooks for math, Apologia Botany for science, a combination of First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind and Easy Grammar and IEW for my oldest. We've finally decided on Story of the World, the Middle Ages for history. We've also got guitar lessons, sports, Boy Scouts and possibly dance class for the girls. Things are looking pretty good. We may or may not finish these books but I like to get some direction and then move from there.

As it stands right now, I've got three chil'rens in a 3-day a week charter school. My oldest three are fully homeschooled. On the days I'm working on homestudy packets with my littles (Tuesdays and Thursdays), I usually let my homeschoolers read, look at videos and/or do math programs online. I can't handle a full day of everyone's studies. I just can't. Not with the horrendously fat stacks of homework the charter school hands out. Not to mention the five to six assorted websites they like us to utilize throughout the day. It's just craziness. We work on it all.day.long and there is still assignment we don't finish.

I can't say that I'm completely happy with our current arrangement. Some tweaking is still in order. My littles love their charter school, their new friends, their teachers. But now, more than ever, I feel that our educational philosophies don't align with a public charter school, so I am feeling the discord of not being true to myself. But my bank account with the zero balance dictates that I stay with a school that will give me instructional funds for each child. Just like the carrot dangling before the horse. I will hang in there for now and plan my exit strategy.

Its been a real eye-opener for me. I've learned that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. We are in a continual state of evolution, as far as my children's education is concerned. We've filed independently (going rogue, my personal favorite). We've done homeschool co-ops, which is basically organized classes taught by other homeschool moms. When we first enrolled in a charter school (keeping attendance was like a splash of cold water on the face every month), I was relieved at the thought of some lesson planning help, some monthly accountability and the instructional funds.

Did I mention the instructional funds already? 

As their mother and the chief officer of their education, I reserve the right to withdraw the chil'rens from any/all of these programs and go rogue once again. We need to be able to breathe. We need the flexibility. And I need to feel inspired once again. I want to look at the job of educating my children with a smile on my face. When I have to crack the whip to get things done, when we are under someone else's schedule and timeline and there is absolutely no time for anything else, I am not the happiest mama in the world. And I really don't think I can survive the next eighteen years in that state.

I have lovely children and I want to enjoy them. I'm going to see to it that I do.

7 comments:

  1. My sympathies. I have one in college, and one taking 2 classes at college, and even that much outside structure is almost too much for me. If #2 wasn't so organized, it'd end me. :p

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  2. We are trying to get pregnant now with our first but I have always wanted to home school. Its nice to see what works and what does not for other families... thanks for posting about some of the balancing act. Gorgeous kids you are so lucky!

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  3. best of luck with your schooling this year! you'll get it all worked out, i'm sure!

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  4. oh how i love these pictures!!! CFO and COO of your children's educations means you got some pull to break the rules. GO ROGUE!!! :0)

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  5. Pearmama,

    I will be embarking on the homeschooling gig within the next few years with my little boys. I'm so happy to see this post, and must admit addiction to anything involving homeschooling right now!

    While I'm not in California anymore (hooray for military life!) I would LOVE it if you had any good advice / links to helpful places to start all this out!!

    And I wish you immense amounts of good luck in your own journey in homeschooling!!!!

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  6. Finding a curriculum that you like and won't make you go broke in the process is the hardest part of this journey. Our curriculum choices are always evolving.

    You can check out this website: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/

    I love the section of homeschooling blogs!

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  7. Thank you so much!

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Break me off something.

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