Summer Jar in FamilyFun

July 26, 2011

Hey all, check out my article about the Summer Jar in the August 2011 issue of FamilyFun magazine (it’s the part about “daycations”). I can’t find it online; I think it’s only in the print edition.

Update: I did find it online. Here it is.

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CATEGORIES: Julie

The Time Has Come, the Walrus said…to Homeschool the Children

July 6, 2011

If you homeschool, you can pick strawberries from the garden while still wearing your pajamas.

Yes, well, let me say from the get-go that I love public school. I pretty much think it’s the greatest thing ever. I love school in general. But public school — oh! such great times! You get to go to this building with all your neighbors and learn things together. And there are the pencils, and the textbooks (checking to see who had your science book the year before) and covering your books in brown paper bags. There’s wondering who’s going to be in your class and what your teacher will be like, and what you’ll get to read. There’s getting that giant September issue of Seventeen magazine and scouring the pages to decide which plaid skirt is best and what kind of blouse do you wear with a calico prairie skirt?

But it turns out that all that isn’t really the experience that Henry’s having. He actually seems to love school too, but during the three years he’s been there, there have been increasing stories of students not learning anything, as well as students behaving badly (Bullying, Advanced Bullying, and the Bullying Doctoral Program). Plus teachers leaving, or just being burned out.

If you homeschool, you can wear mismatched clothes and visit the ducks mid-morning.

So! Two things are happening with our local school. The first is that, because it’s so seriously underperforming, we now have the option of transferring to another school in the district. The second thing that’s happening is that (because it’s so seriously underperforming) they are completely revamping the curriculum to be project-based. Which is awesome. Everything I read about that makes it sound great.

But roundabouts April I said to Henry, “So, well, you can stay at your school, and do the project-based learning stuff, or you can go to another school, or you can homeschool.” Well, what I actually said was “…or you can homesch-” because he didn’t even let me finish the word before he jumped in and said, “I want to homeschool!” I gently told him that, if we homeschooled, it wouldn’t mean sitting on the couch and reading all day, and he replied, “I know! If we homeschool, I can learn stuff they don’t teach me at school, like ancient history, and Latin!”

If you homeschool, you can be dragged out in the freezing rain to tour replicas of the Nina and the Pinta.

And how can you turn that down, I ask you?

And let me tell you, once you contemplate homeschooling, and get over the initial “wait, what? where would my free time go?” reaction, you suddenly realize that it would be awesome. No more running out the door at 8:45, or waking people up from naps to go pick up at 3:00! Being able to go on vacation when you want! Teaching your kids 100% more in half the time!

Plus there’s that whole notion of trying to stick your very active kid into the box of school. I completely understand why they have to have a million rules about being calm, because it would be complete bedlam otherwise. But if you’ve got a wiggly, active, Big Movements kind of guy, he’s going to hold it in all day at school, and then pretty much explode when he gets home. I’m talking here about Eli. He’s kindergarten-age in September, and about a month after we really seriously started contemplating homeschool, he was outside using a full-size axe to chop up twigs. He looked like John Henry. I turned to Dave and said, in my sweetest pretend-girly-mom voice, “You know, dear, I just don’t think public school could provide our son with the daily axe work he so clearly needs.” And we laughed, but then we got kind of quiet. Because it’s true.

So! Exciting! We jumped right in on the Monday after public school ended, figuring that we’d try it over the summer to make sure we could make it two months without me going insane/the kids starting to loathe me/the house developing a two-inch-thick crust of dust and toast husks. And so far it’s going really well, I have to say. I’ll write another post later about what materials we’re using (because I love those what-we’re-using homeschool posts) (and because if I don’t stop now this post will be way, way too long). But that’s what’s happening here in the World of Julie!

If you homeschool, you can be super cute and sit in chairs backwards, posing adorably. Oh, wait, no, you can do that anyway.

CATEGORIES: homeschool