Sunday, February 17, 2008

Community

Since November, when we became a homeschooling family, our non-homeschooling relatives and friends have worried about our kids' academics and, more importantly, their socialization. How in heck do homeschooled kids meet anybody, or have a life?



While we keep in touch with (and see, as often as possible!) our non-homeschool buddies, we essentially make our own community. This has become the best and most important aspect to homeschooling, one sure to be explored in future posts.



But, that's not how I percieved it would be back when we were considering homeschooling as a viable option. Back when Luke melted down daily in his 2nd-grade class, woke up screaming nearly every night with the most awful night terrors, and went off to school in the morning with the look of a child falling down a well in slow motion.



Back then, I wanted to get him out of school only so that he could regain his confidence, stop his own inner implosion.



As good as homeschooling has been for Luke, I would argue that we are better off now - all of us - than when he was in school. Here's why:



1) We run on our own schedule.





This gives us time for luxuries such as Luke's favorite, breakfast in bed. Ironically, the breakfast-in-bed mornings are the easiest days to get him out of the house. It's as if feeling he has all the time in the world somehow gives him... all the time in the world.



2) We learn in a non-linear way, and our curriculum choices are arranged so that we can enter wherever we want, learn specifially about what we want (Pi? Metrics? Puzzles? The original Greek Olympics? The Clone Wars?) - and then move on.





As the grandpa says in The Princess Bride, "When I was your age, television was called books!"

Much of our learning begins with or is supported by copious reading. Without school, Luke has the time to read - and best of all, he chooses what to read; this is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales interpreted for kids.







Did you know that you can get balloons to do this over a humidifier? Sometimes when I walk by there'll be two balloons floating around up there, and once there were even three.






3) Often, community and learning intersect - we're at the library all the time to browse, take classes (anything from Kitchen Science to the Chinese New Year), research subjects of interest, and meet up with friends.







I'm learning new stuff, too - blogging is a brand-new thing for me, as is learning the guitar. After 3 months, I'm beginnng to realize what it means to be in a homeschooling family; learning is a state of being, and not just for kids.



Also, I've learned that "homeschooling" is a misnomer; it's about a lot more than home. We feel more embedded in our community now than ever before, because the community is of our choosing.



I hope that this blog will mark the starting point of a new community, one in which we debate ideas, gain friends, and come to a new understanding of humanity, and technology.



Karen

5 comments:

Jena said...

A beautiful post. I had to go find your first post. I'm glad I did.

Kim said...

This is a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing.

The Stone Age Techie said...

Thanks, Jena, for linking to this post. I hadn't read it in awhile, and now that we are starting in on our second year of homeschooling, what I wrote here seems truer than ever for us.
And thanks to anyone who stops by to read - blogging has helped me link to the wider world of homeschooling, and to a fun, funny, intelligent, awesome community all of its' own.
K

Vicki said...

Hi Karen,

I, too, came looking for your first post. When my son went through his terrible experiences, I had wondered why we were so different. School seemed like such a happy place for everyone else. Since joining with many homeschooling groups, I've learned we were not nearly as alone as I thought. Isn't it wonderful that we have the option to homeschool?

Thank you for writing your wonderful blog and sharing your life.

Vicki

The Stone Age Techie said...

Thanks Vicki, and I can say the same for you!
K