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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

in which i discuss our homeschooling plans, with some hestitation

So. Homeschooling. Here is the thing. I dont want to say I am a reluctant homeschooler because I am totally confident this is the right choice for us and our kids, for now. I just. Well. I was homeschooled and while we were a-typical homeschoolers (who -gasp - listened to the radio and wore jean shorts and cut our hair off and went to beach parties and the like) I know the homeschoolers stigma that is out there. How will your child ever be SOCIAL? Aren't teachers more qualified than YOU? What about all those denim jumpers??? (Ok, confession. I totally bought a denim jumper for our summer on the farm. At a thrift store. I mean, come on, it had a velcro pocket to put my Blackberry in! How could I pass that up! And no, seriously, I totally wore it. Although not in public.) In any case. I am reluctant to go on about our homeschooling I think because I swore up and down in my 20s that I would NEVER homeschool. We were going to "support the school system of public education that made our country GREAT!" I still think this is a noble effort. But, you know, when it comes to your kid things change. And you look at his big brown eyes filling with tears at the prospect of going to Sunday School, let alone all day kindergarten, and you find yourself being so protective of his playmates and television consumption and so on and oh, well, then you start thinking, well, maybe we COULD homeschool, just for a year mind you.

And oh, I hear the judgements rolling around in people's heads. (Or my presupposed ideas of what other people think, maybe, and all of those self doubts of my own which I then project onto other people? Something like this.) Which is why I hate posting about things like this. I am so totally supportive of whatever choices mama and dada's need to make to do what is best for their families. Really I am. Co-sleeping, breastfeeding, daycare, working full time, working part time, being a working-in-the-home-housewifey-mama. School is the same. And I know and love many school teachers. For reals.

So let's just say we can all do what is best for our families and I will just go ahead and unashamedly post about homeschooling plans, you know what I mean?

Okay. Now that THAT is out of the way. HA.

Boy do I have PLANS. Dude. Plans plans plans. Lots of plans.

I am a little scared of my plans.

No, really. Kind of. Yes. I am in fact.

Can she do it folks? Can she pull it off?

So. I make lists to make myself feel better. And I give us time, once we settle in the new place, to get to know it, and unpack, and find the local parks, and just be.

So. Do you want to hear my plans??? Of COURSE YOU DO. RIGHT??????

So I am thinking this.

Last two weeks of September:
*Mapping our new space, how to make a map, tree identification on our land, north and south, etc discussion, what birds do we see
*Setting up a play yard, DIY balance beam/see saw/tire swing/sand pit
*Putting in a cold-frame garden box (To GROW GREENS. IN WINTER. Fabulous, right???)

September 28 - Michaelmas celebration
So, I will post more on Michaelmas later but its a traditional celebration to mark the end of summer, the harvest, and also to tell the story of St. Michael, represented by Saint George in the myths, defeating the dragon. Look up Michaelmas on pinterest or on google. Amazing. Especially for a dragon knight loving little boy. And I like the representation of us, defeating the dragons within ourselves, as we prepare for the winter of darkness, holding on to the light of summer.

And here is where the real magic begins. Because Oh. My. Word. I have written up this great story for little man which takes him on a journey each day and introduces a letter of the alphabet in each chapter. This is a Waldorf-y thing I truly love. Not just "Here is how to read" but lets engage the imagination! Let's draw M as a Mountain and tell a story about a Mountain! Lets Bake Bread for B. In the shape of a B. And tell a story about a Brown Bear!

So I have created this story. Its about a Prince who goes in search of a magic lantern and finds jewels along the way (consonants) and magical stars (vowels) which will go into the lantern (knowledge!) to guide his father's kingdom back into light and prosperity.

I tell little man I am writing him an alphabet story. He goes. Great mom. But I already know my alphabet. Ha. Which is true. But the idea is to really dwell on each letter. All the sounds it makes. And incorporate the arts (B is for Beethoven!) And also to tell stories about each letter that has the letter incorporated into the shape of the thing. W is for Wave. Draw a beach with W-looking waves. Etc.

This is also how Waldorf traditionally introduces math concepts. Yes MATH can be imaginative and fun! With little gnomes who represent addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and King Equals who rules them and their work in the jewel mines. LOVE IT.

Many people have written about this in a better way, so I will spare you a blow by blow of what we do (unless you are interested of course!) but the general idea is to keep learning fanciful and fun and then they will engage naturally in the joy of learning. This is what I want for my kids. To LOVE learning. Not be freaked out by who will sit by them at lunch time or what little Tommy said on the bus or stressed by homework assignments by the age of 7. There is plenty of time for learning to navigate social settings and learning to work hard at homework, you know? For now, in this window where my 6 year old still asks me to "please please tell the story about Rose Red and Snow White!" I want to be able to give them this.

(Oh Man. I cant even write this for fear of people thinking, "I am a teacher and I work damn hard to be fanciful and fun!" Or. "My little Johnny goes to school and he LOVES it and LOVES learning." Oh, I know, I know. And....There I go again. Freaked out about judgements. I dont know why its so hard to let go? I write here about homebirthing which I know LOTS of people have opinions about...ok. Seriously this is really stressing me to write about this. Why? SO interesting, really, to step back and think about how parenting choices make us judge each other. And how fearful we can be of people not "approving" of us. It took me months to admit to even close people in my life that my two year old was still nursing. Why does it bother us so?? This is why this post hasnt happened yet. Ok. Letting it go....again.)

So. In October we will do this journey of letters. Along with stories in the morning and a "circle time" for little miss, lots of outside play, and a reading time of chapter books in the afternoon. I have a nice little rhythm I hope to get going in our first few weeks. (Will blog about this later, for sure, lucky you.) And I will have in the Alphabet Journey some good nature study material, a bit of science and some geography. But we will keep it light. Really our focus will be on re-establishing rhythm in our home life. Baking Day. Washing Day. So on and so forth. Good grief I miss the rhythm of our days like this more than the kids!

Ok. I hope I don't come off as a nutcase here. But this stuff is so fun to me and I want to share it with you all in my life. Would love to hear feedback too.

And wherever your little people are attending, Happy Back to School Days!!


  1. Can I just say that I admire your decision to make the best possible choice for you and your family despite whatever you may have once thought in your 20s. Seriously, it's takes a brave person to go ahead and change her mind. So, good luck with those big plans, and I hope that your little guy enjoys all the amazing knight alphabet creative learning possible.

  2. How exciting! This is how I planned to homeschool back when it was an option and I was all dreamy eyed staring at my nursing 2 year old. Have fun! Way to do what is best for those babies :)

  3. Cool. I totally hear you with wanting to support public. You still can find lots of ways to do so. I still teach gardening and peace classes, and donate library could build them a sandbox, once you've done your own! : )

    I really admire Waldorfing homeschoolers. I wish I didn't hate handwork so much. And baking bread in the letter B. Too bad you don't live closer, or I'd send my kids YOUR way! : )

  4. I kind of thought of you when I read this article:

    (which also resonated with myself)

  5. thanks all. good grief i am crappy about comments. alison....yes...i know...its tough right? one foot in front of the other. that is all i can do, right? not get caught up in the perfection dillema...


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