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My NOT Back to School page!
As fall approaches, my boys and I are celebrating the fact that they're NOT going back to school! We're going to tell you some of the reasons why we love homeschooling.
(photos of JG's and BT's Lego creations were taken on our front porch)
BT's favorite things about homeschooling
I learn when I want to.
I don't have to see a substitute teacher.
A lot of times we have field trips.
Why Mom is glad that BT doesn't go to school
Of the two boys, BT is probably the one who would adjust to the school setting most easily. He's a people person and fits into groups well. But at home, he can also express his affectionate side. He likes to do lessons cuddled up in Mom's lap.
The socialization that homeschooling affords is also great for an extrovert like BT. When we go to park days and other activities, he's comfortable with friends of any age. He plays with children his own age, of course, but he also hangs with the teenagers sometimes and will start conversations with adults as well. If he were in school, he would be surrounded by nothing but little kids all day long.
JG's favorite things about homeschooling
I can wake up whenever I want and get out of bed whenever I want.
I can work in bed.
I can learn what I want.
Why Mom is glad that JG doesn't go to school
I believe that JG is the one who benefits from homeschooling the most. I really think that if he had started off attending school, a lot of negative labels would have been put on him that would have harmed his self-esteem and hindered his education.
JG is a VERY bright kid, but reading is his weakest subject (he showed some signs of dyslexic tendencies early on, but he has now reached the level where his reading is OK). He has a strong talent for math, but he does it all in his head (he hates writing). In school, where reading is the primary way that students are judged, he would have been seen as "the slow kid". At home, he's not compared to anyone else. Also, he is able to study history, science, and anything else he wants in other ways that don't involve reading. The major part of his education involves one-on-one conversations where I impart knowledge to him.
JG is also a bundle of energy. He's calmer now than he used to be, but when he was kindergarten and first-grade age, he really had trouble sitting still. In a classroom, he would have been "the problem kid" and perhaps even labeled "ADHD". At home, if he wants to pace the room or hang upside down while he learns, it's completely OK. And he can talk in class, too.
What I like about homeschooling for BOTH of them
- They set the agenda for what they want to learn. One day, BT was playing in the sink (a GREAT homeschooling activity, by the way), and he couldn't understand why a larger object was floating while a smaller one was sinking. We got into a discussion of density. It didn't matter whether that's a part of the California curriculum plan for second grade, he wanted to know so I taught it to him. My kids will frequently ask me a question out of the blue and we'll look up the answers and we ALL learn something new. In school, if they asked a question that wasn't relevant to the subject being taught, they would be silenced.
- Learning can be tailored to their learning style. BT is very visual while JG is an auditory and kinesthetic learner. I can experiment with ways to present information and let them explore. I don't have to adapt the "lesson" to 30 children all at once.
This is one of their favorite "Homeschool is Cool" video
Here's CAPTAIN HOMESCHOOL!
JG's first day of not going to school
I had known since JG was a baby that I wanted to homeschool. We started going to our homeschoolers' park day when he was 14 months old. By the time he was nearing school age, he fully understood his identity as a homeschooler.
The school where I work, where my stepchildren were attending at the time, where my mother is the principal, always starts its school year on the Wednesday after Labor Day. So Wednesday, September 8, 2004, would have been JG's first day of school. Wednesday is also our weekly park day, so we brought candy to the park to celebrate our first Not-Back-To-School Day. When I told one of the other park moms that it was supposed to be his first day of kindergarten, we shared a gleeful hug, rejoicing in the fact that he was at the park instead.
Here's how other homeschoolers celebrate not going back to school
Lots of homeschooling groups will plan activities like amusement park trips or picnics to mark the beginning of the school year. When I googled around on the topic I found a pool party, a water activity at a park, zoo and museum trips, and a rally at Disneyland.
The most famous activity of all is Not Back to School Camp, a camp in Oregon for unschooled teenagers. It was founded by Grace Llewellyn, best known for her classic book, . The Teenage Liberation Handbook
And hubber extraordinaire Evelyn shares with us that a homeschooling group in Boston has a Not-Back-To-School picnic every year at Walden Pond. Just the idea of hanging out at Walden with a group of non-conformists sounds so inspiring!
Have a great September!
(photo from Wikimedia Commons -- Doug Coldwell)
If your plans for September include school, we wish you a wonderful and productive year.
If you're homeschooling, we'll see you at the park.
© 2009 Joan Hall