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How did we choose our homeschool method?


I get this question often. I finally wrote an answer to someone and decided to share it here. It’s a very organic process of research, observation, change, experience, and mistakes. The answer here is a bit of an overview. The details are tedious and not as necessary as the general idea of the very dynamic and living process of learning. For those who want to know, here it is!

 

In the beginning we used our local school district Independent Study Program (ISP). It gave us a lot of support and any structure that we needed. They also do ALL the state required paperwork. I don’t like paperwork and at that time this was a major factor. We did that from Kindergarten through 3rd grade. We moved that year and couldn’t get a transfer back into that district.,

 

At this time, I think we tried Merryhill Private School. It is a Nobel Learning Environment. That was a bust. They said they would support my older son getting up to speed. They expected him to get there in one week. He was also one of two boys in the class. The other ten students were girls. The teacher had just gotten her credential and was very flexible.

 

 

We used the  school district ISP in our new city. This started to not work for us when the teacher expected us to recreate the public school style in our home as the guys went up in grade level. She had very strict expectations for my older son who has. This was a big clash of ideas. She expected them to better than public school kids in achievement. My expectation was that they  liked who they are. At the same time, I had many friends who did the affidavit method and loved it. They used to be called R-4, I forget what they are called now. We left that program.

 

 

Next, we chose a different public charter school. It was in a district in the next county and was allowed to service our county as well. This was worse. They wanted my son to get evaluated for learning disabilities because he couldn’t write all the math problems and solve them on one sheet of paper. He did about 8 a page. I was very angry that they wanted to call a meeting with the school psychologist, special ed. person, principal. I got that this teacher didn’t have a lot of knowledge about learning as a process and was very into what learning “should” look like, which is more than 8 math problems on a sheet of paper.

 

 

We left that program mid year and filed an R-4. We did that for the remainder of the year. The next school year we joined a public charter school and we have been very happy. Our teacher homeschooled her  own daughters. There were so many conversations that we didn’t need to have because she new the whole homeshooling thing.

 

 

We researched Waldorf and didn’t like the approach to how science was taught. The “free the spirit from the wood by burning it” was a no go for my physicist husband. I also didn’t like the set schedule. Often children were expected to be quiet and do . Those things come later for boys than they do for girls. It felt very controlled and not very inline with child development. I admit, I am a Piaget/Vygotsky/Montessori kind of gal. My husband supported my research into things. 

 

 

For us it is a constant process of evaluation. Is what we are doing working for the guys? How can we make it better? In this way, it is always the most relevant to the interests and passions of the guys. I won’t kid you and say it’s a cake walk. It takes time and energy to always be analyzing what we are doing  and looking for new ways to keep the brain fires burning. This is the kind of parent I wanted to be, engaged, supportive, and loving to my children. 

 

 

A friend told me once that she could pinpoint the time in her life when she lost that sparkle in her eyes. She saw it in a family photo when she started school. Her eyes were just there, open, and looking at the camera. The essence of her was broken. She told me that the most important thing was never letting that spark get lost. When I look at pictures of my boys, I can still see it and I know they like who they are.