So we decided that we would start homeschooling our kids after a series of drastic budget cuts within the school district and the closing of our local neighborhood school. We also didn’t want to put the kids in school just to pull them out again in a few months when we take off for Indonesia for our 1 year sabbatical. It was really easy to start homeschool, we just filled out a form and mailed it to the local Education Service District. Done!
That was the easy part. The hard part was shaking our kids out of the typical back-to-school expectation of new clothes shopping and school supplies. It’s funny how much of a routine it’s become and how it’s almost like another Christmas for the kids. There are new clothes, new shoes, a new backpack, the great scavenger hunt of the school supplies list. It seems that every year the list grows longer and longer. We avoided most of that this year.
The First Day of School
The first day of homeschool was tough. Both kids started out excited and really enjoyed a few lesson plans my wife had created. They were really getting into it and taking a lead role in what they wanted to learn. But at the end of the day my oldest son realized that he was missing all the interactions with his friends and started crying that he wanted to go to regular school.
I figured this might happen but unfortunately I didn’t have a plan in place to deal with this complaint. Telling an 8 year old to just give homeschool some time so we can work out a system where everyone is happy is like trying to start the car without the key. I’m sure that this will be the key complaint from both boys so we’re looking to join local homeschooling groups as well as see about getting the boys into some local sports where they can interact more with other kids. We’ll need to do the same once we land in Indonesia and start to acclimate. It’s going to be an adventure.
My oldest son is always so curious and studious. He’s excited and passionate about learning and we really want to cultivate and grow that into a lifelong passion. Since he’s gone through grades 1 and 2 in a traditional classroom setting I think the challenge will be in showing him that learning isn’t something that can only happen in a classroom with a teacher and uncomfortable chairs. It happens every second of the day in a variety of different circumstances.
I really think we’ve taken so much out of the learning process in our schools so I’m excited to be bucking the system and letting my kids experience the freedom of true learning without expectations or boundaries. It’s good to see them excited about learning and excited to be a part of it rather than just being told what to learn.
Our first week has been a bit eye opening. We definitely see a few areas we need to work on and realized that the methods used for our two boys will need to be different. We should have realized this anyway given their vastly different personalities. I’m sure there will be lots of realizations as we progress. We are definitely not rushing things. It’s a learning process for us as well.
We’ll be working on getting into a homeschooling group for more social interactions. We’re also looking at an online Oregon Charter School called Oregon Connections Academy that offers lesson plans, interactions with certified teachers and curriculum books. It looks interesting and we’ll be attending a meeting this next week to learn more.
I’ve also roped my dad into taking the boys out for a little botany lesson and hike through the woods. We’ll be learning about how to mount and frame a photo from a local frame shop. My wife will be working with the kids to do some baking, learning to follow a recipe and measure different ingredients. You can turn any normal day activity into a great learning opportunity.
We’ll also be exploring options in Indonesia. I have no idea if there are homeschooling groups there or even how homeschooling is looked at. My wife doesn’t seem to think that it’s a popular option.
Do you homeschool your kids? What resources have you found to be invaluable?
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