spectating participant

June 5, 2008


Filed under: family, life — suzanne henderson @ 10:49 am

I’ve been obsessing over homeschooling Alex again for the past couple months. I am very committed to the idea, but I’m the only one. Alex enjoys school, though it often amazes me when I consider all of her negative comments about the classwork and other students. Homeschooling without her support would be a challenge, but I’m hoping to get her interested in at least trying the idea for a year. My first plan was to give a test run over the summer, and I might still do something like that, but I’m really more interested in the student-led-learning approaches that we didn’t do last time. If we go that route, there isn’t really a lot to “test run” in the summer. Also, since she’s been in school so long, I agree with the idea of an extend period of “deschooling” to break out of the mental mindset that school has built up. This means that we could have many months where it seems like nothing at all is happening. Bracketing that on top of summer break seems counter intuitive since she’s expecting a break from all things school anyways.

There are lots of arguments against homeschooling and whether or not we’ll have the time to do, especially with the little one arriving soon. But, since I’ve never really supported the “school at home” approach, I’m not as worried about that. Alex is old enough to do mostly self-driven work at this point, though I’m sure she’ll need some motivation, and that is a lot less time intensive than sitting down to math, reading, spelling, writing, science, ect, every day. Instead, I’d like to take the approach that we didn’t take last time - unit driven studies that really let her dive into topics. I’ve noticed her doing this independently more and more lately and would love the opportunity to really support her interests and help her find even more ways to gather information.

Alex’s biggest concern against homeschooling is the lack of having gym every day. It’s pretty odd that she has gym every day now, but I guess Carroll County is one of the few school systems that still value daily physical activity. I’ve yet to verify that this will still be the case next year. But, if that is the only argument she has, it’s not a very reassuring one, from my point of view. Especially considering how we can add more physical activity to her schedule - including archery that she’s been wanting to do - if so much of her day wasn’t filled with being in school.

As school is winding down, I’m wondering more and more if this is going to happen for next year. I really want it to, but also won’t force it on Alex either - that’d be an invitation for disaster if I tried. Hopefully, she and I will have a chance to talk some more about it and also reassure her that it won’t be the same as it was the last time we tried it. Maybe I can get her interested in giving it a try for a year at least.