Everything still feels very new and the adjustment period is definitely not over. There are ups and downs. Usually, its AWESOME. I mean, in one month we’ve read 2 novels, visited 3 museums, and done our first woodworking project.
Je$$ has even taken up the ukulele and is constantly learning new songs. Speaking of songs, the girl joined a church choir, immediately volunteered for a solo, and NAILED it during the service. I was very proud.
But my proudest moment this month was when she started talking to me about the poetry of Dylan Thomas. We are not studying Dylan Thomas. We are not even studying poetry right now! She just picked up a poetry anthology and started reading.
I was sure the most liberal “unschool” parents were LYING about their amazing children when they said that their kids actually seek out complex literature and classical music and advanced science, all without parental nudging. But, folks, they speak the truth! Je$$ learned about poetry during time she could have spent on Tumblr. She chose to READ when she could have Skyped. Sure, she instagrammed a picture of the book and she probably quoted the lines in her fan fiction or made a Dylan Thomas “meme”. But STILL! Unschooling is no lie! They WILL seek out knowledge.
Obviously, its not all sunshine and lollipops. There’s math. And then there’s this thing that teenagers do. They freak out! It’s like a car backfire that you mistake for a gunshot. It sounds serious, you pee your pants a little, but then its just over. No one calls 911 and everything goes back to the way it was before the noise. It’s a strange and unique thing. Therefore, I end this entry with a photo I snapped at my kiddo’s archery lesson to remind myself that, as a parent of a teenager, I am always in the line of fire… or at least in the line of backfire.
So now it’s official. I have confirmation from the county and I was able to file under section 22.1-254 as “an approved tutor” thanks to my Virginia teaching license. I think this means that they don’t even want our test scores or our portfolio to prove that I’m teaching her properly. I think this means that they trust me. Well, thanks, Virginia! I appreciate your confidence in me… now let me finish biting my nails and pulling out my hair with worry that I won’t be good enough in subjects that are out of my comfort zone (math).
I mean, we can do this, right? It seems like such an amazing opportunity; its almost too good to be true. But then there’s math.
I’m looking forward to everything from reading good books to hitting up museums when the crowds aren’t there. Art projects and nature walks. Documentaries and board games. Waking up late and STAYING up late! I’m looking forward to all of it… all except math.
I think it is going well. We’ve read one book, started 1 math unit, and done a LOT of fun, fluffy stuff. Oh, and we’ve had one fight. It was a whopper. I suppose that’s to be expected as we adjust to learning together.
Math is… something. I know we need it and I definitely use it, but teaching it is difficult. Now, the reading, I love. Young adult books are awesome! The stories are unique and clever and fantastical. We have so much to choose from.
And the “other stuff”… that’s what I get really excited about. We added two classes, Altruism and Independence. Altruism is self explanatory. Independence is my version of the Family and Consumer Science classes that used to be called Home Ec. Today we are making blueberry muffins and baked ravioli. Eventually we will experiment with salted raisin recipes 😉
Loads of things contributed to our switch. I am honestly, sincerely, thankful to my daughter’s school. She had some lovely teachers and an amazing counselor. You know how it is, educators are just fighting a losing battle on an empty stomach. They have no backup and they are outnumbered! It was not a great year.
So, we took this opportunity to actively evaluate our lives and make a decision that fit our circumstances. For us this is right. At least, this is right, right now.
I am confident that our homeschooling/unschooling experience will strengthen our family and our bonds with the community in ways we never imagined. Right now, we have all the potential in the world to succeed. The sky is the limit and we are in control.
And as for fixing the schools… that is not my job. My job is to help our daughter become healthy, strong, smart, and, above all, kind. So that’s what I’m going to do… in my own way. Follow along if you’d like.