Our first year of Homeschooling report card

As the school year winds down for most, I have the pleasure of reflecting on my first homeschooling year. Both my kids did really well with the structure I provided and definitely took advantage of the many excursions. Experiential learning has been rewarding for all of us. A visit to the science centre could have them taking apart old electronic devices or building a PVC pipe track to see how far a ball would roll. Passive learning has been so practical and easily applied to many other activities. Learning how to tell time on the analog clock as also helped with the 5X table and fractions. I love the transferable skills and how quickly new concepts are grasped.

I could never have gotten away with a six week vacation to Argentina without a lot of planning and a couple of lectures from various school staff had they been in a traditional school. I love that I don’t have to justify my decision to “pull them away from their education” when I feel that other experiences would be more valuable. The power of real world knowledge can’t be learned in a classroom of 30 kids with one teacher and hopefully and assistant or two.

That being said, as much as I feel that the current philosophies in public education are archaic at best. I feel for the teachers. Politics and funding have undermined the ability for teachers to teach. I know many teachers who are frustrated with the policies of the school board dictating not only what to teach but how to teach it and with specific wording. Without the flexibility to adjust the lesson plan to suit their specific class, kids either keep up, fall behind or end up labeled to allow for a separate plan for the identified students’ learning or behavioral “problem”. Teachers work so, so hard to help their students but they do it with handcuffs on.

I have the luxury of flexibility. I can choose activities that my kids are interested in because they’ve told me so. Some people who don’t know much about homeschooling often bring up a potential lack of socialization. Well, no worries of that for my boys. They both participate in hockey, Scouting, swim lessons and art lessons at an actual art studio. All of these things they thoroughly enjoy and are completely unparented. This mom get some built in time to herself and the kids get plenty of independence. They both have had several trips to the zoo and science centre as well as to various parks and museums and the like. All these activities include many other children of a wide variety of backgrounds and ages. Some kids we see a ton of and some have only been at individual events. If anyone has met my kids the LAST words used to describe them would be shy, awkward, quiet or unsocialized. They have both developed close friends and enjoy being around people in general. Homeschooling has given them such a supportive environment that they have been able to thrive in both familiar and foreign situations.

Homeschooling has been very rewarding and successful this past year. It’s funny because now our “school year” never ends. Both boys love telling people that they are home-schooled. They have commented many times that it’s nice that we’re never late for anything. I look forward to continuing with homeschooling for as long as it makes sense for our family dynamic.