So How's It Going?

It's the question we hear the most, now that we've been homeschooling for a few months. I think people either expect to hear "It's great!" or "We've made a horrible mistake," but the truth is, we can't say either yet.

Just like teachers and kids in public school we have really good days, really bad days, and everything in between. Some days the kids just aren't with it, other's the teacher doesn't feel like doing much. I *can* say that everyday something happens that would never happen in public school. The most important thing going on here is that the boys are getting to live life, whether that means building a mulch fortress at the park, or helping mom balance the checkbook. They are being introduced to the real world, not spending all day in an artificial simulation of it. Math and reading happen when they happen, just like in real life. They are constantly bombarded with science and history because, honestly, how can you live in the real world and not be? It surrounds and permeates everything we see and do. We're constantly discussing these, and myriad other topics that a textbook would never cover. All day, every day. That's learning.

There may well be a boxed curriculum on the horizon for us, or a more structured approach, but right now, Rich is slowly re-discovering his natural curiosity and wonder, apart from textbooks, florescent-lit classrooms, and worksheets, and that's invaluable if he's to enjoy learning again. In the meantime, he's getting to be a kid, and isn't that what we all complain about - how kids don't get to be kids anymore? Is it more valuable to learn long division at age 8, or play in the rain? To learn the parts of speech, or to build a dragon spaceship out of Legos? I would argue that he's got 10 more years to learn the names of the Presidents, but only 2 or 3 more to lose himself in building a tank out of refrigerator boxes. I would further argue that the Legos and tanks are essential to him working out how to learn the life skills that are relevant to him, that will eventually make sense in the context of a career.

So today, we're spray painting milk jugs to use for Iron Man costumes, going to the Library, and will probably play multiplication games over lunch. It may not look like school, but I'd rather it look like life.

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