Thursday, December 18, 2014

"So how is homeschooling going?"

We've been at this long enough now that the question I often get from friends has changed from, "So how are you preparing for homeschooling?" to "So how is homeschooling going?" I'm finding I have as much trouble answering the latter question as I did the former.

The thing is, homeschooling is going pretty well. We are all enjoying and taking advantage of the freedom and flexibility we have in our days and weeks, not tied to a school schedule (we still have Q's preschool schedule but it's easy enough to "play hooky" on days we want/need to vs sticking to a public school's required attendance days). It's great to be able to go at D's pace of things, vs trying to fight with him over things he's not ready for or interested in. And he's doing a lot of cool stuff-- making stop-action videos, building cool stuff out of legos, we have finally graduated up to me reading chapter books to him (which he was not interested in up until recently). And I love that we have the time and freedom to just talk about stuff as it naturally comes up, like a conversation we had last week about how banks, savings accounts, and loans work after passing an ATM on our way to a coffee shop, or today when we saw the stump of a tree that had fallen over at the park, roots exposed and all, and talked about the growth rings on the tree and what the roots did and looked like, and how the roots of different plants and trees look differently and how that affects things. I know all parents do this to some degree, but we get a lot more time for these "lessons" to come up organically, and we rarely have to rush through them because of other commitments.

But when other people ask me about how things are going I tend to freeze, I think because I am trying to frame what we're doing into a "schoolish" framework of comparison and I don't know how to do that, since most of our activities don't fit into the traditional blocks of "academic learning." This is where it might be easier if D was reading on his own, or doing other stuff like that that I could point to and say, "See? We're not just some weirdo family, he is doing 'real work.'"

But I also don't want to fall prey to that sort of thinking, or to change what feels like it's working for us just to please others who may not "get it." So I'm working on formulating a good 'stock answer" to give people when they ask, that feels both simple and satisfying to others, and still feel true (enough) to us when given.

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