Sunday, April 17, 2016

Too Cool for School

We're nearing the end of our second year of homeschooling.  The kids take their end-of-year standardized tests next week.  I'm deep in planning for our next academic year.  We're waiting to hear what middle school Ella is accepted to so that she and Kevin and I can decide if she'll return to school or continue homeschooling.  We're planning for summer: school year-round? Go to summer camps?  Spend all summer in Woodstock?

It's important to dress the part when reading the Gettysburg Address

We are really enjoying homeschooling.  All four of us.  I'm not saying each day is a barrel of laughs and the kids are on track to have their PhDs by the time they're fifteen.  We definitely have our hard days.  It's not easy to be both mom and teacher.  They are very different roles and it's taken me a long time to even realize that, let alone figure out how best to balance and separate the two.  However, I think it's a good sign that the kids really love learning and even when given free time are almost always doing something totally educational.  If you ask them, they'll tell you that they love homeschooling and never want to go back to traditional school.

Our weekly Kanban board

Another mom recently told me that the third year of homeschooling is the best.  I think she may be right.  Last year I was a total stress-case.  I had no idea what I was doing and was so worried that I was going to mess up my kids.  I thought for sure that some subject would totally fall through the cracks and would be the reason my kids didn't get into college.  Do I stick to what the public schools are doing at these grade levels or follow my kids' interests?  Do we take fewer classes outside the home and focus more on book work or vice versa?  The learning curve was steep.  This year, I feel much more confident.  I'm much more tapped into our local homeschool community, much more knowledgeable about the curricula and resources available to us, and feel a lot more balanced in our schedule of work-at-home vs. classes outside the home.  Again, this year hasn't been perfect, and especially at this time in the year we're feeling pretty stressed about getting things done by the end of May (our goal to wrap up 3rd and 5th grades).  I can already tell that next year will be even easier, whether it's just Holden or both kids at home.

The end of their Immigration class at New York Historical Society
Doing a research report on Harlem, in Harlem
We're all very happy to see a big turn in the weather.  There's no doubt we're officially in spring and no sign of snow again for many months.  The kids have started soccer (Ella is back on her undefeated team from the fall) and baseball.  They start their capture-the-flag/sword-fighting class in Central Park next week.  And we spent most of yesterday in the park picnicking, reading, and climbing trees.

We even had fun right in our building.  Our neighbors who wrote the book Wine for Dummies hosted another wine tasting party.  This time they pulled 20 bottles of California red wines out of the their cellar, one as old as 1978!

And we found out that we also have a film maker in the building.  Cris makes short films and needed a 10-year-old girl's voice for a voice over.  Ella had a great time reading script for him right in our own living room.

After this week of testing for the kids, we're heading up to Woodstock for an entire week of painting, gardening and unpacking.  Our enormous storage unit is en route to us as I write this.  Opening it all up after three and a half years will be like Christmas in April!

1 comment:

  1. Don't know if I want to homeschooling or just be homeschooled. Glad it's working out although it doesn't surprise me in the least that you're rocking it!