Friday, May 29, 2015


We are coming to the end of our 'deschooling' semester. After getting my son's testing done in January I came home feeling quite overwhelmed and sure that most everything I had been doing as a teacher was not good for my son.  I didn't feel like I had any energy left to fight the 'curriculum monster' and find a way to cram more information down my son's throat. I pretty much gave up on producing work samples and just went for reading and experiencing life together with my children.
I was going through was the 'deschooling' process.

I have a masters degree in education. I did very well in school. I taught high school mathematics. I have been engrained in the educational system my entire life. It was very hard to see my son through eyes other than those of someone who has relied on the education system to guide my life. I kept referring to the 'list' of skills that should be achieved at his age and the things we need to work on to get him up to speed. Although he is way ahead in many areas I was most concerned with the areas of weakness. I focused on his weakness and tried to get him to 'work' on that weakness.  I kept seeing him through the eyes of the public education system not the eyes of an educator.

It was not working. It was painful. It made him angry and me angry. It made us both want to cry. I had to stop. I had to stop just about everything. We cut 'school' down to about 10min a day.  One page of math (3 problems), maybe one page of handwriting, maybe one vocabulary, or reading and only a couple times a week. We did the bare minimum needed to produce work for our ES. We calmed down. We found time to read together and go hiking and play games and build legos.  We found the calm center of our being together of our enjoyment of one another. This was my deschooling experience and it felt good. I was enjoying being home with my children.

Now it is May. I am looking toward September and wondering if I will be able to maintain this sense of calm and joy when we start up 'school' again. I need more structure. I need to feel like we are making chartable progress. I need some of the reassurances I get from school structure, feedback telling me we are 'on track'. I want to feel my child will have choices when they get to the age they are ready to choose for themselves. Will I be able to create a curriculum that both fills my needs as a parent and the needs of my very different children and their learning styles? Will I rise to the challenge? Can I become a true educator?

I think I can.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Two roads diverged...

Today on our morning walk around the block we ran into a neighbor mom and her 3 year old son. She was curious about the kids being with me and I explained we homeschool our children. She commented that it must be a lot of work. I agreed but said I imagine she does more work being a full time working mom. She did agree to that point, but also felt it must take a lot of courage to take the leap removing our kids from the social norm. I replied that it was a tough choice but we have decided to see it as a lifestyle choice. We gave up some aspects of conventional life to gain other advantages in our non-conventional life.

A lifestyle choice. All our life we are faced with these types of decisions. Some seem much bigger than others, but at the end of the day they are our decisions. It is our life to live. We chose to remove our child from the system because the benefits did not outweigh the negatives. Anyone who has faced a system that is failing them will understand the joy of having a choice to continue on the same path or change course. We were fortunate to have the means to chose to change course. It takes courage sure, but all of life's big decisions take courage and commitment. Taking kids to school and trusting the system to meet your child's needs in the best way possible takes as much courage and commitment as deciding to homeschool.

The decision to homeschool often reminds me of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken".
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5 

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10 

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Hopefully we are able to enjoy whatever road we choose!

Blessings on your journey.

Going to India (3/14/17)

Well the travel adventure has started. I am getting ready to depart for a yoga pilgrimage to India with a group from my favorite yoga studio...