Why we don’t homeschool anymore. Part One.

Almost 5 years ago I posted “our homeschooling story, part one.

I had gotten so many questions on homeschooling that I decided to write a series telling our story of homeschooling.

After reading it a few days ago, I felt that I needed to update it as our story has changed.

For example, here’s a snapshot of our life lately:

Yesterday I shared a story with my #4, who is 11 years old, about a golden eagle that she found fascinating, especially the part where the eagles used the air currents to spiral higher. She wanted to draw one after and she did and wrote about the secrets of the bird and then worked intensely on yet another dream catcher.

Then I helped my 15 year old, #2, with vectors and scalars because she is fascinated by physics and decided she is ready to go deeper on it in relation to engineering concepts. We also talked a little bit about the I Ching.

My son and my #4 helped me present a different type of physics presentation on acoustics to my #3, the 13 year old. She closed her eyes and they made different sounds that she had to identify. We talked about what the universe may have sounded like in the beginning and is there such a thing as absolute silence? Maybe tomorrow we will listen to a primordial sound meditation together and draw what we hear by letting watercolour dance on a page.

My #5, the 9 year old, drew of course. Then he walked the land, perched himself at his favourite sit spot and saw two toucans fighting each other and had quite the descriptive story to tell us after his walk.

Most times you can find them reading except #5 who isn’t proficient at it yet and prefers to draw. (Did I say he likes to draw?)

#4 read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho last week in one 24 hour period and promptly proclaimed, “I am on a quest to find my Personal Legend!!” And grabbed her journal and wrote. (An aside, she only learned to read last year when she turned 10 and has read probably close to 50 novels this year and has set her sights on reading 100 this year.)

#2 also spent some time this fall doing a free online “Architecture and the Imagination” open source course by Harvard and loved reading all things Rebecca Solnit.

And then one evening we needed some wild cilantro (or culantro as it is called here) to add to dinner. (Briefly, I have had a difficult relationship with cilantro meaning I don’t like it. But I do love the taste of the culantro growing on our land, it’s a different plant but smells the same.). #5 and I went on a mission to find it before dark. Of course, he knows every inch of our land so knew where he could find a patch.

Some days the kids are with their friend at the river jumping off the tallest branch of a tree or they are at circus class learning handstands and juggling. Some days they are practicing Spanish at their jobs, at the market, and with new and old friends. Some days they are enlisting other adults in our community to teach them things like how to bake in this climate.

Sprinkle in face time calls with our eldest when we are able to go get internet. She fills us in on her latest adventures in the world and we fill her in on our latest adventures in the jungle.

And last night, after the last solar light went out, I found a child on the slide under her blanket star gazing.

Every year, I ask the kids if they still want to homeschool. We have had this conversation for almost nine years. At times, my eldest expressed the desire to try different schools – an alternative democratic school and then a sports-focused high school. She never lasted more than a year. Her four other siblings always decide that they want to continue homeschooling.

Except this year.

This year my kids looked at me while we lay around the hammocks of our jungle home and said, “Mom, we don’t really homeschool anymore.”

I asked them what they meant and they said, “Well, it feels like it’s the weekend every day. We do our chores and then we go and do what we like really.”

They were right.

When you look up the definition of homeschooling, you find the following:

“The education of children at home by their parents.”

“…to teach school subjects to one’s children at home.”

I often have trouble using the term because it doesn’t define what we do anymore. I know it is the current most convenient definition for most families that opt out of the system, but it’s very restrictive term and has conjured up different images to people that hear it that don’t apply to most homeschooling families.

But my kids are right, we don’t really homeschool anymore.

Tomorrow a post on on why and what really is going on…






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