Forgive my absence, but I've been on a wandering journey down many paths recently which has finally arrived at (yet another) pivitol decision in our lives. The fork in the road said choose one path or the other, because you can't choose both. It's something I've been contemplating, on and off, for two years now. I've decided...
...to homeschool our daughter. She's had one full year in prep already, and nearly completed grade one this year. It wasn't a completely wasted experience and I consider she's matured in many ways since starting school, but there are other parts beyond my (or the teachers') control which concerns me.
Firstly, the phrases and terminology she comes home with. This is stuff other kids learn from their home environment and share in the playground. She comes out with it when we're at home, like it's automatic, and I have to ask where she's heard these things before. I've grown increasingly uncomfortable in the knowledge that she's adopting attitudes and understanding which belong to older children - maybe even young adults. The kids don't fully understand what it is they're saying, but it's becoming the language of the playground. The more we explain this language is inappropriate for her to use, the more she feels alienated from her school mates.
Secondly, I find the controlled school machine, unyielding. I never "got it" when I was at school, so I'm finding it increasingly difficult to help my daughter "get it" too. Homework has to be in on time, regardless of the family's circumstances. If she doesn't conform, she misses out on stars while her school mates get rewarded. I feel this is unfair to our family, as it is "us" that has let her down because of either health or work issues at home.
So rather than continuing to feel like we're not playing our part in the school machine, we're going to take the responsibility of home educating our daughter ourselves. I don't imagine it's going to be easy, but since the 2 weeks she's been home already, I've noticed a remarkable difference in her attitude.
She's very keen to get involved in more family activities. She's talking with us more too. Picking up books, wanting to tell the time, asking questions. Instead of feeling like there's a set time for set learning, it's like a floodgate of curiosity has been opened and we're all being inspired by it.
I'm sure there will be more to share on our new venture in the future. In fact, I've already started a homeschool blog which I'll put a link to eventually. It's still in development so there isn't much to share yet. Needless to say, I've got a lot of learning to do myself into the various home school systems. I'm warming towards natural learning and ecclectic at this stage. I've already hooked up with a homeschool group in our area, so we have an avenue of support.
It's a scary step to take, but one I feel propelled to explore. It feels like a step in the right direction though.