Theses days are a necessary evil. Homeschooling means shepherding the kids to classes and activities in town. It also means sitting in traffic in the Bay Area.
Usually it’s not so bad, since we drive try to avoid rush hour, but on days like this….On days like this I just want to be on my mountain.
The heat in the valley is a muggy eighty degrees. The high temperature up at the homestead is sixty-four and has that bite of fall I love so much. It’s also humid, but it’s the kind of humidity that makes me want to pull on thick socks and wrap a hand-knit shawl around my shoulders, tea in hand and kitten in my lap.
Sitting stopped on I-85 really makes me appreciate the quiet of the vineyard, the crowing of Helios and Turkey (our roosters) in the early morning, even our only partially paved road.
This is the best shot I could get on my cell phone camera through the telescope, and it wasn’t easy. I got the kids up at 5:15 AM and we all went out with sweaters and socks to see it from our deck. Then the kids went straight back to sleep. They were out there for about half an hour. Doug and I normally get up at that time, but having our coffees out on the deck while the kids got excited about the moon and started questioning why and how the red color appears made us so happy to be homeschoolers.
Due to my fascination with pens and paper, and having been a life-long journal keeper, I have always been interested in handwriting.
Right now I am helping my son with his penmanship. Due to some of the issues I mentioned him having from when he went to school, he has hated writing.
He avoids it like the plague.
Now, he is ready and interested in learning cursive. Mostly because he wants to read my writing. So, I spent the weekend surfing the web, looking for the best way for us to approach this. In my surfing I watched a whole bunch of videos.
Videos on how to, on methods, on curriculum reviews.
Creativity to me is a life style need. I don’t think of it as a choice. I’ve lived through short periods of time in my life where I did not create, and the maelstrom of depression which accompanied those times were scary.
I never want to live through those times again.
Then, three years ago I watched as one of my own children started to spiral into a self-loathing no seven year-old should have to go through.
He was struggling in school and it was bleeding over into everything else he did. His teachers and specialists as the school tried to figure out what was wrong. I sincerely believed they did try to help. But nothing seemed to help. He struggled and tried. Homework each night was a cycle of tears, anger, and anxiety. He began to hate school, and I began to hate sending him.
At home he was hesitant to do things, especially anything new. He assumed he would fail. My happy little boy was being replaced by an angry one.
Then, we moved to California.
I had always wanted to try homeschooling. My husband and I read the works of John Taylor Gotto, John Holt, and Rahima Baldwin. We even did it for about a month and a half during the move from Georgia to South Dakota. But never fully. We never fully committed to making a real go at it.
In researching neighborhoods and schools prior to the move to California (mid-school year mind you) we realized that California homeschooling laws and the resources available to us in the South Bay Area made this an ideal chance to give it a shot.
So we did.
I wish I could tell you it was all rainbows and moonbeams, but no. We’ve had a lot of deschooling and trail and error to go through before we found our stride. We chose to unschool and follow our own path since my son was already “behind.” Now I know he was just not developmentally ready for some of the things the schools were trying to make him do. He just needed time. My daughter has thrived with homeschool. She was already doing advanced courses before we left Florida, now she gets to really dig into what she wants to learn.
Unschooling can mean different families, even to different kids within the same family. Indeed, that has been the case with my kids. But I am so glad we made the decision. I wish now we had made it earlier. My son still struggles with a lot of self-doubt and anxiety in new situations, but he had learned he is capable and he has learned to love learning again.
Disclaimer: I firmly believe childrearing and whether or not to homeschool is a decision best left up to each individual family. I wanted to share my reasons here for why we chose to homeschool. Please be respectful of our decision. I do welcome any respectful questions or discussions.