Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The one where I actually talk about homeschooling...

I am a homeschooler. I know I mentioned it in my profile but if you're like me, you don't read it first thing. I usually remember after I've read a post or two. When I'm thinking, "now, how many kids does she have? Where did she say she's from?"

Anyway, I am.

I'm not one of those outwardly militant, jumper wearing homeschool mama's but that side lurks somewhere in me. (well maybe not the jumper part but I can get a bit militant on an off day). People usually tell me that my kids and my self don't seem like homeschoolers. I'm not sure this is quite the complement they mean it as. OR it could be a serious put down to other homeschoolers. What does that mean anyway?

When I start hearing things like, "Oh wow. You homeschool. I could never do that." Seriously, it's the craziest thing to say really. Like any of us feel we're equip for anything our adult lives have thrown at us. We usually just do the best for our individual families with what we have.

I usually say," I don't feel like I can do it most days either." I'm thinking all sorts of snarky, sarcastic things at them though cuz, that's just the way I roll. I'm not mad really. It's just fun to think up smart alec responses to stupid comments. Try it. It's so fun! I wish I was so quick in real life but then people would not think I'm so nice after all:)

We meet with a teacher once a semester. I guess the government has to check to make sure we aren't actually using our kids for manual labor on the sly or something. My meeting is tomorrow. I'm a bit stressed about it for a couple of reasons.

Number one: I have a ton to do tomorrow and don't really want to take the time to meet with said teacher. I want to run, help a friend celebrate a birthday, hubby is away and I just don't feel like it :)

Reason number two: For those of you who don't homeschool, this will make NOT sense to you but for those who do....

..... how to show what my kids have been learning. What I've found in my years at this gig is that real learning has very little to do with the stuff kids put down on paper. Why is this a problem you wonder? Well, the only way people, like myself who come from the institution of public education, have to measure learning is by the stuff kids write down on paper. Mostly fill in the blank, story writing type drivel that non of us remember anything about now that we're not in school but for some reason was crazy important to have studied and re-studied for years and years. Well we don't do a whole lot of that as you can imagine. Mostly because it's not fun and has very little long term value. I have to admit it does look cool though AND so fun to show people! My girls seem much more inclined in that direction so maybe I will have some "hard copy" to show people in years to come.

Here's an example of what the boys are up to:

The boys have created a panorama for their Warhammer game (It's okay I'm not sure what warhammer is either. It's about painting little figurines and war, no hammers are involved though so, not sure about the name.)
It's a massive thing created out of Styrofoam and paint. This took countless hours and is totally self directed. Cool eh?!
They started with this piece of styrofoam:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

painted and carved and glued:
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and viola! They still want to add to this but here it is so far...
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I think it's out of one of the final scenes from The Lord of the Rings. It's the black gate I believe.
Here's a better angle:
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Can you see how this is a tad hard to represent in a paper answer type form?

Lucky for me they both do well at math and we have bucket loads of that.

Do you think I can get girl #1 to read novels by tomorrow? No. Me either. I guess we'll just keep going along at our own merry pace then.

I love the lifestyle we get to lead as homeschoolers. The relaxed way the kids get to approach life and their relationship with one another and the joy they can take in exploring their world.

I don't like having to prove that they are learning and the second guessing that comes with all of that. There's a lot of faith involved in raising children, multiply that by 10 when you homeschool.

I know I need to spend more time in prayer....


shay said...

just testing this

Sniz said...

This could be something I wrote, sans the meeting with a teacher. We don't have to do that in Indiana. But even though I homeschool, I rarely blog about it. That's why I have a separate blog for that, which I update much less often. But as you were writing and I was looking at those great pictures, I got to thinking...would a scrapbook of photos of the things they have done throughout the year be an acceptable alternative or addition to paperwork as far as the school is concerned? Many times that is our "proof".

Chey said...

Thanks for this entry Shay. When I first had my children I had expressed to Shane my interest in homeschooling. He shot me down blind. Since we've been doing the Montessori thing it has opened his eyes so much more and he even commented to me recently how bright the kids of one of his co-workers are, and that they are homeschooled. This has greatly opened up the lines of communication between he and I with regards to Homeschooling. Montessori was chosen right now becuase it is the happy medium between public school and homeschool. You don't realize how much time kids spend WAITING for help when they are in the public school system, that time could be better used fostering a kids natural desire for learning.

As we get closer to school age for our two, I will probably have a zillion questions too!! When I talk to my friends about my want to Homeschool, I get the odd responses too, becuase I most definitely do not fit the steryotypical homeschool mom image. I do have a few friends similar to me though who are playing with the idea as well. One, in fact, IS homeschooling this year simply so she could have her kids finish the year by Christmas as they are going to Germany for 6 months in January and she wanted to be able to have them not have to repeat the year when they got back. She was terrified to homeschool, but is loving every minute of it, and her experience just reinforces my desire to do it as well.

It would just fit better with our lifestyle too I think. We like to be able to pick up and go and not have to worry about things.

I don't know if we would homeschool forever, but I think that by the time the kids are 12 or 13 we will have some kind of idea as to what kind of learning they like best, if they want to go to university and pursue a degree then at that time a traditional school setting might be a good idea, but if they want to pursue trades or something else, then I think they can continue on with homeschool a lot of trades will allow enrollment at the grade 10 or 11 level which would integrate nicely with homeschooling I think.

Anyway, just thinking out loud here. LOL.

Thanks for sharing :o)

Kristen said...

Great post! I hated that part of homeschooling and I dreaded my first meeting last year. Thankfully my new schoolboard is so different, they actually assume that you want what is best for your kids and just have us talk about the kids strengths and weaknesses and what areas we want to see improvement in. It is so awesome.
I hope it all goes well for you. I can sure see the growth and intelligence of your kids, you are doing an amazing job and continually inspire me.
I can't believe they made that scene, it is way too cool. The boys are oohing and aahing over here!
Love ya.

Kellan said...

That is the coolest panarama!!! I give you an ennormous amount of credit for homeschooling your kids - I think it is wonderful.

And ... I'd highly recommend Lyndsay at Splat Designs - she is wonderful and very reasonable (cost me $68) and she works really fast. If you are interested, she is great. Take care and I'll see you soon. Kellan

WorksForMom said...

Whoa! Color me impressed. That is some serious crafty talent!!

the dragonfly said...

Your boys did a great job, I never made anything that cool when I was in school. :)

My Little Mister is only six months, so obviously we aren't in school yet. I've thought about homeschooling but never really seriously considered it. I think my main reason is a selfish one: I need "me time". Desperately. Right now I'm a stay at home mom, and I love it, but by the time he's school age I'm going to be desperate for a few minutes to myself!

But I have to say that I'm always very impressed with anyone who homeschools. Kudos to you!!

(thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way!)

Family Adventure said...

Shay, this was such an interesting post. I never considered homeschooling before, but I had a pretty harsh experience with the boys' school in Canada. It's a very driven school, and they push the kids so hard, they take away the joy from the children. Also, like you said, they focus a lot on things that my boys aren't necessarily good at. Like writing. Of course writing is important, but when they get pushed so hard with the writing, they start hating everything else about school, too. LIke math (which they are both aces at), or science (ditto) and everything else.

Also, my youngest has been diagnosed with ADHD, and being in a classroom with upwards of 30 second graders is not an environment that helps him concentrate!!

Homeschooling fascinates me, but I am not sure it is something I could handle (you can be snarky now!). I am just not very patient, with anyone. I don't think I'm 'teacher' material.

Your boys are *amazing* You need to show the pictures of that scene to the teacher tomorrow. That is really unbelievably creative and talented...wow!

Thanks for sharing. Heidi

Hunny Bee May said...

I love your blog. Unfortunately I've currently got my hands full watching 2 two-year-olds, one who's being potty trained. I'll be back to check it out more though. We would like to homeschool as well, so I'm always on the hunt for others who are doing it successfully.
Thanks for visting my blog!

Jennifer said...

What a fantastic project!

Tracey said...

I had always been interested in home schooling, but my husband is really against it for our kids. I can understand his arguments, but I think it would have been an interesting experience.

That model is awesome! Perhaps you could provide the pictures with the boys' descriptions of why they did it, how they did it, etc.

I don't know. Good luck.

Don Mills Diva said...

I have never really considered homeschooling but you really make it sound appealing. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Badness Jones said...

Great post Shay...I sometimes think about homeschooling, but I don't think I have the patience to teach. I get so frustrated when the kids don't 'get' something I'm trying to show them. Of course, I'm constantly frustrated with her teacher and the school system too, so I should never say never!

I think you're amazing. And you're right about the faith involved in raising kids. And thanks for the inside view!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post Shay!!! I'm spreading around our homeschooling circles out here. P.S. My facilitator visit is today too and I don't feel like it either but your post has inspired me! And I can't wait to show Josh what the boys did, I know it will inspire him as well!! Great job!

Amy said...

i am in utter amazement by your sons' project. it is awesome. i just showed the pictures to my boys and they asked if they could make something like that for their little green army guys!!! they're all about that stuff.

i think it's terrific that you home school your children and though it must be tough at times, there are days where i think i would like to do it. i am really struggling with the influences they get outside that i just don't agree with. i know you can't control the outside world and some people say, "that's life, but i guess i just don't agree with how life is today." of course it's not all bad.

i agree with your sentiments about learning and how difficult it is to quantify it on paper. so much o learning and growing just doesn't take place in the classroom. good luck with everything!

sorry for this grossly long comment. thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

I'm not sure what the game is that they are playing, but I want to play--NOW. That thing that they made looks so cool. It reminds me of all the commercials you see on TV for some sort of army toy or off-road remote control car thingy. They always show it being used on some sort of cool looking pretend landscape--like the one your boys made. I played with a lot of army men when I was a kid and I wish I would have thought to make something half as cool as that.