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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Great Homeschooling Adventure

What on earth am I doing? Who am I? What have I become? Should we wear our hair in long braids and don ankle length skirts? Has the dog been fed? These are just a sample of the questions that rattle around in my brain as I undertake the great task of homeschooling my first child. Sorry, the question about the dog is just the way my scatterbrained mind works these days. And seriously please let no offense be taken on the long skirt note. I happen to love Little House on the Prairie, and if that's your style more power to you, it's just not mine.
Anyway back to all of those burning questions. The idea of homeschooling seemed fine and dandy until I woke up one morning and realized it was staring me smack dab in the middle of the face. Oh yeah did i mentioned it happened right around the time my third child just made his entrance into the world, and my middle son is at a less than cooperative stage right now.
It really is such a daunting responsibility. This is my child's education, and I can't take it lightly. She can't just be my personal experiement. This is where personal ideology and reality meet, or the proverbial "rubber meets the road." It seems it's time to buck up, put my big girl panties on and make it happen.

Ok with all of that hysteria out of the way let me say I really am excited to be embarking on this great adventure. I started working with Kaylie this past year on math and phonics, but we will start a more structured schedule in a couple of weeks. I use structured loosely because the whole point of homeschooling was to allow freedom to learn. My free styling thought process has been tamed somewhat by three children that have completely different personalities and learning styles, but if there is one thing I believe still, it is that learning should be fun. I never set out to home school simply to shelter my kids from the outside world. In fact it is quite the opposite. I want my kids out there experiencing things first hand. I just feel in these delicate years I want to be the one fielding there questions and guiding them along the experience.
I also realized that I couldn't do this alone. It is something I am learning day by day. I need help! I want my kids to have a wide variety of social experience even if it is not in the traditional school setting. My first step was to enroll Kaylie in a ballet and tap class. I want her to have an outlet for her energy and creativity. I want to give her the chance to bond with some other girls her own age. This seemed like the perfect combination. Even with this I felt we needed some more support. I searched high and low for a good support group. There was only one close to me that had any information readily accessible. They invited me to attend their first meeting of the year/open house. I was quite nervous. I really didn't know what to expect. My greatest fear was walking into a group of awkward, coolot wearing, straight laced people. I know I am ebarrassed to even write this now. I know I sound so close minded, but it was a genuine fear. I was more afraid they would reject me because I did not fit the right home school mold.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a diverse group of people who seem to each have their own styles and approaches to education. They come together to share ideas and be a support to one another. I loved this. We haven't officially joined, but I plan on attending the next meeting, and I think we will be joining soon.

I hope to make time to chronicle my homeschooling adventure. It is scary, but I think anything worth something in life gives you those butterflies in the beginning. Now I am just waiting for this weather to cool down so we can take school outside. Won't that be great!

Any readers out there home school, thought about homeschooling, want to home school, tried it and hated it? I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, concerns.

***Side note: I really did not mean to offend anyone with my narrow minded view of "typical" home schooling families. Every family has a different way of raising children and I respect that.