Nothing is the way I thought it would be when we began this homeschooling journey.
Despite my plans in those early years, no one entered school in 4th grade. No one continued with a classical education. And we didn’t keep going with our memory work.
No one has learned Latin….yet. Our history doesn’t cycle consistently or follow a predictable pattern at all. I rarely reuse the curriculum for younger kids.
My philosophies changed along the way. Our curriculum varies every year. Nothing remains consistent other than our love for learning and doing life together.
Over the years we created a family life that revolves around the idea that education is simply part of everyday living.
When I started this homeschool journey, I never imagined how much each of these kids would bring to the table.
I had a plan, but they had their person. The more I dig in deep and celebrate their uniqueness, the more our homeschool blossoms with happy souls who feel confident and valuable.
Sometimes this means studying the World Wars for much longer than I planned or enjoy. Other times it means planning a year of graphic novels for one child.
Whatever helps me connect with my kids while meeting important educational goals is always my plan of attack as we approach a new year. In fact, I always interview them at the start of my planning so I can incorporate who they are into our plans for the year.
When it boils down to it, I love homeschooling my kids.
Our family has embraced the freedom of homeschooling for over a decade. We have traveled around the United States without school makeup work or the need to wait for school vacations. We have visited grandparents or friends in other cities smack in the middle of the school year. We have played games over snacks at our favorite places on a regular basis in the middle of the day.
I have no regrets about tossing workbooks or assignments in lieu of adventure.
But next year everything changes when my second daughter enters 9th grade at a local arts-focused charter high school. I will be bound by a traditional schedule as well as a daily pick up and drop off routine because there isn’t a bus.
This will impact our entire family because our adventures and freedom will now be tied to a traditional calendar, school due dates, and school activities. In addition, Patricia can’t drive herself until early in her sophomore year so I will have somewhere twice every day, though my husband and oldest daughter plan to help out as well.
It’s a huge change for our family. HUGE.
Yet we are confident that it is the right thing for her even though it feels at times when I think about the changes to our lifestyle of homeschooling.
It’s funny for us to look back because this is the one child we were certain would never attend school for various reasons. But the behaviors, insights, and personalities we discussed when she was in elementary school changed when we met her a few years down the road.
We had no idea that Tricia would fall in love with theater in addition to the interest in art she has always shown. We had no idea she would how much her confidence in and commitment to her studies would increase by the end of middle school. We didn’t know how much her math ability and confidence would soar in 8th grade. (Thank you Mr. D pre-algebra)
And then we discovered a public charter high school that we didn’t know existed. This school focuses on the arts – visual arts, theater arts, vocal arts, literary arts, and instrumental arts. We’ve also been told this particular school staff works well with kids who struggle with anxiety and various learning challenges. The school population is currently less than 400 students because the charter limits the growth each year.
It turns out that school appears to be the best option for the Patricia we know at 14 years old. This school offers her opportunities, connections, and classes that I can not teach. It is a school filled with creative types, just like her. They don’t even have athletic teams because this school is focused on the arts.
Shortly after her acceptance she wore her new high school T-shirt to a theater performance downtown. One of the actors in the show was an alumni of the high school and raved about her experience there. It just further solidified our decision.
In the end, we have no idea where the path will lead. She might continue to attend for all four years or she might return to homeschooling. All we do know right now is this is the next right move for her education and life.
And we can’t wait to see where it takes her.
PS Did you miss Part One where I explain why our family decided to homeschool.