Our Last Year of Public School

Just typing that title gave me lots of emotions.

I am crazy excited to get started.  I really feel like this is the best thing for our family.  I’m still nervous, which I think is healthy.

Four of our kids are in the process of taking the NYS Assessments right now.  The amount of pressure put on them is incredible.  They are pushed to make sure that they have enough sleep, and eat a good breakfast.   They have been getting big lectures about the importance of the assessments for months.  They are told that these results will follow them through life.  We all know that that last part is just ludicrous.

I have told them all, do your best like you always do, and don’t worry about it.  Future employers are not going to be standing there with the answer sheet to the third grade ELA assessment in their hands, asking why you answered c instead of b.  They wont have to include copies of their results on college applications someday either.  Our eight year old was so stressed about doing well, that he made himself nauseous.

I will not miss these tests one bit!

The kids are still confused about what home school will look like.  They’ve had lots of questions;  Can we still call you mom?  Will we need a pass for the bathroom?  Who grades our papers?  Will we still get recess?  If you’re the teacher, who will be the room mother?  What about school clothes?  Will we just keep our old clothes?  Do we have to wear uniforms?  If you’re the teacher, who’s the principal?  Where do we go if we get sent to the office? (that one was from my boys)

I have explained it, but I still think that they don’t believe me.  I said, we will have a plan about the things we will learn.  We will have books, papers and projects to help us learn what we planned on.  We may do that at the table, or at a desk.  We may learn thing on the road, while we are taking a trip.  We will figure it out together, and we will have fun learning and exploring the world.  That is how it works.  With raised eyebrows, my 13 year olds says, “whats the catch?”  I think that it will take some time before it really sinks in for them.

Finishing Up

I chose to finish up the regular school year with their public school so that they have a sense of closure in some way.  I also think that starting out fresh with a new academic year just makes more sense.  This way, I hope, it doesn’t seem like they are losing anything, or missing out.  They will simply see it as starting something new.  That is the hope anyway.

For now, I continue putting things together, setting up some sort of plan, and making 8 billion photocopies.

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Planning

I’ve been planning.  Planning and planning, and then doing some more planning.  I have lists and post-its everywhere, and my Pinterest might just explode.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to plan things.  I probably love planning even more than doing sometimes.  Research, lists, problem solving, coming up with ideas… ahhh, I love it.  But we are talking MAJOR life change here.  I have to get this right, or at least heading in the right direction.

This is what we have so far.

  • We will start homeschooling this fall.  The kids will finish out this school year in their public school.
  • We will be purchasing a camper so that we can hit the road for learning.
  • We have most of our curriculum for the first couple of years already picked out.
  • I plan on blogging about our experiences.
  • The whole family is excited and nervous, and ready to start.

I closed my hair salon in October so that I could focus on the kids.  We only get one life, I want it to count.  I want them to know that they count. I lost my mother when I was 29, I understand how precious every day is.  I plan on spending my days with those I love, preparing them for life in the best way that I can.  I can do hair anywhere, anytime.

My next step is to scale back our little farm.  Right now we have a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats, chickens, ducks, three miniature horses, one mammoth donkey and a pony with an attitude.  Initially, we will sell the donkey, pony, the ducks and one of the mini horses.  I will also scale back the chickens.

The search for the right camper has started.  We are between a pop-up, which would be light to pull; a small travel trailer or a class c motor home.  We have a large crew, so we need room to sleep and room to move.  I’m leaning towards pop-up, but no decisions have been made yet.

I haven’t sent my letter of intent to the school district yet, but I’m working on it.  I’ll probably wait until the end of the school year.  I want to make sure that I have everything prepared first.  If you are planning on doing this, I recommend checking with your state requirements.   I found great information here.

My hope is that our blog will not only serve as a memory book for our kids, but also as a way to help other families that want to start an epic journey of their own.

Setting Sail on Our Educational Journey

After years of research, planning, doubt, questions, determination,  more doubt and more planning; we are setting out on our educational journey.

Homeschooling is a polarizing word.  The mere utterance can make friends, or alienate people who you thought were friends.  It is one of those topics that seems to bring out strong emotions for some people.

I have always thought of home schoolers as a brave, and kind of mysterious.  How did they do it?  We live in a judgemental time, how do they deal with the scrutiny? The more I looked in to it, the more I realized that they are mostly just regular people who want to do the best for their children.  That is something I can get behind.

Still, I had so many questions.   Can you really teach your own kids at home?  Will they learn? How do you not loose patience?  What about “socialization?” What will people think, or worse, what will people say? Will my kids be weird?   Will they make friends?

Yes, thousands of people really do teach their kids at home.  The home schooled kids I’ve met have always seemed polite and intelligent.

They not only learn, they learn how to learn.  They learn to explore the world around them.  I’m sure sometimes I will loose my patience,  and so will they.

Socialization will happen.  They will be exposed to other home schooled children, other people in their activities and sports and people that we interact with.

Right now, I spend an awful lot of time telling them not to behave or act like their friends at school.  I want them to discover who they are and spend time with people who enjoy the same things and who appreciate them, as opposed to the people they happened to be near in a classroom all day.

As far as what people think or say?  I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter.  We have one life to live, and I want to spend as much of it as I can with the peoplethat I love.   I want to prepare them for a happy life.  I believe that this is the best way for us to do that.

What’s in a name?

There are lots of reasons to give our home school a name.  It gives us the sense of being official.  The kids think it’s awesome.  It will look good on job applications and for college. Mostly,  why not?

I let the kids think up possibilities for our name.  There were some interesting suggestions to be sure.  Everyone kept coming back to the words lake (which we live near) hill (which our house is on) and academy  (because…how cool!). That it how Lakehill Academy was born.

The Plan

Our plan is to operate as an eclectic, secular home school.  We will combine some elements of a classic learning system, adding and subtracting the things that work for us.  My goal is to update this blog as we grown and evelove.

My hope is that this will not only be a healthy outlet for me, but also may be of help to other people wanting to make this change for their family.  There is such a vast sea of knowledge out there, navigating it can seem challenging.   My goal is to navigate it as a family, and to enjoy the jorney.