In the myriad of facebook homeschool groups that I joined, I have read many times that it's normal and ok to try different things until you figure out what works for your family. So, that's just what I'm doing, I'm trying something different.
We started out with the virtual school. It really is a good program, but for the elementary school age, it is very structured. I understand why, but with 2 days of skype class time and specific assignments on the other days; one long weekend trip and we were behind on our work. One of the best things about homeschool was the idea of being able to make our own schedule.
But, we hung in there and tried to adjust to the virtual school schedule. But, I found myself giving them a lot of worksheets to do and struggling to make sure that they got them done so I could send them in to their teachers. And, I didn't find myself doing a lot of the creative learning projects that I had planned because there wasn't time or the kids were tapped out when they were done with their official work. This was all very different from William's much more flexible middle school schedule.
There have been some fun moments, though. Like when Lizzie's teacher assigned the Ivory Soap microwave experiment. She had to put a bar of Ivory Soap in the microwave for 90 seconds. And, it turns out, it doesn't melt. It expands like a souffle! Go to your microwave and do this now, right now. It was cool. :) It was so much fun for all of us, including my parents. That made me realize that I wanted more of that.
|Experiments are fun for grandparents, too!|
|Lizzie was impressed! :)|
Then I started hearing more and more about unschooling. At first, it sounded odd, then it sounded cool, then it sounded perfect. Unschooling is what you make of it. I have the option to be creative with education, but also to be as traditional as I want. They can have more control in what they learn. We can do crazy experiments and still use the workbooks that Grandma got for the kids. (The ones that I hadn't had time to use much yet). I can keep William in his virtual classes but take Lizzie and Antwan out. Because I may not be able to find creative ways to teach Algebraic equations, but I can creatively teach elementary school math. :)
I'm really excited and feel very empowered. Since making this decision, I have taken a nature walk with the kids, worked on several pages of the workbooks, watched educational videos on skip counting and the Spanish alphabet, took them to 2 doctor appointments (without ending up behind in school) and written two blog posts. (Admittedly, blog posts have nothing to do with home schooling, but, man, did I miss writing!) Not bad for 3 days. :)
So, I feel like I'm just now starting to homeschool. Because as Brian said, with realization, as we discussing it, I wasn't so much homeschooling as I was doing their regular schoolwork at home.
Not anymore. I'm all in. :)
And, another new adventure begins!