Sunday, September 11, 2016

Slowing Down & Remembering

We didn't come to homeschooling by choice. It'd be better described as desperation. Our schools didn't meet our daughter's needs to the point that she was miserable, miserable, miserable! I mean crying every day before school, coming home and melting down after school.. every day. 

So we pulled her out not knowing what was ahead. Five years later, we now homeschool all three girls and we now know that it was the best decision we could have made.

But then life gets busy and I was so busy keeping up with all the girls' activities, unexpected illnesses, moving, you know all the messy stuff of life that this past summer I realized we had ever so slowly, so we didn't even notice, drifted completely away from what we loved most about homeschooling.... the freedom to learn in the best way for each girl.

When August rolled around, I was dreading back to school and that isn't like me. I LOVE school with the girls. But I realized the pace of all the other activities was prohibiting us from project based learning and kind of forcing us to textbooks. If the kids were just going to "get work done" they should just go to school. We like deep learning, learning to mastery and taking the time to make that happen however we have to.

I feel like I've said this before but we've made hard choices to cut down on activities and not take advantage of every great opportunity available to us. The biggest, most difficult of these choices was deciding to pull Quincey out of club soccer. She LOVES soccer and she's good. Playing on an elite team but travelling for 2 weekends a month in the fall and spring and up to 4 practices a week was taking a huge toll on our family. I think the problem is that families these days are soooo collectively overbooked that it becomes an accepted aspect of raising kids. Um, no. We're going to be the weird family and step out of that pace of life.

So, even though the thoughts racing through my mind are that taking her off the team now ( in 6th grade) will jeopardize her chances of getting back on the team or making the high school teams, which are largely filled with club soccer kids, and that I will be causing her to miss opportunities in an activity she loves, I have to choose family first. I mean, if I'm going to walk the talk that family is everything, than I need to eliminate activities that jeopardize that. Quincey's a great soccer player and maybe she could play through college, but she's 11. She also might decide that she hates it next year and then what have we sacrificed family time for?

As someone who lost both parents by the age of 35, I'm banking on the fact that time spent having fun and playing as a family is far more valuable to her in the long run than participation on any team. And if she loses a college scholarship in the distant future that she probably had a 5% chance of getting anyway, I'm ok with that. That's what the college fund is for.

So, tomorrow starts our first full week of homeshooling with Harper in 8th, Quincey in 6th and Lilly in 2nd. 

Stick around. I have a lot of out-of-the-box ideas to make use of our "extra" time. I'm sure some ideas will flop but there's gotta be a couple of amazing, unexpected experiences in there. 

And tomorrow I'm revealing a big surprise for the girls for a VERY unconventional idea that will give them creative writing, informational writing, math, computer and vocabulary skills and practice while reinforcing the value of a dollar and encouraging community service!!!

This idea is so good I'm hoping others will want to follow our lead so we can support and encourage each other along the way.

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