I was recently asked when our first day of school would be. Well, I think it is kind of today. We started doing half days of school work in July–skipping a few days for household visitors and mini-road trips. On the calendar, I was to start full days on August 1st, but we had company . . . so I moved it. And then Kensi and Jamie went on our co-op middle school/high-school retreat for two days (delaying our full days). So here we are with a free day to start, but . . . Jack really wants to go with Jamie to the warehouse . . .
I used to have a fancy official first day of homeschool . . . the first day of school breakfast, new outfits, school supplies, everything ready to go. Yep, I did all that . . . at home (I’m so silly!). We even went outside and took our first day of homeschool picture and then went back in the house to do school. Not so much anymore. We just kind of start, gather supplies when they run out, and school in the same clothes they wore throughout the summer.
Over the years, our homeschooling journey as evolved. I’ve given up my formal “classroom” mentality–we no longer have a homeschool room covered in maps and diagrams, just a lovely kitchen table (or the front porch, or the back seat of the car, or the reading room couch). In the past, we would complete our ridiculously scheduled day, take a field trip here and there, and make up our missed days in the evenings or on the weekends. I was a nervous homeschooling wreck . . . got to get it done, got to look like the other homeschoolers, are we doing enough? Ahh!
In the past few years (especially this one) I have experienced amazing freedom by embracing our uniqueness as a family parented by an author and an entrepreneur. My heart for my children’s education has even changed. Our schooling goes way beyond their core subjects, and while I believe they are important, I no longer believe they are the most important.
We believe that every thing we do, every where we go, every person we meet, and every interest laid on our hearts is an opportunity to learn. Jack expressed an interest in film not too long ago, so that summer we launched into a film and novel course. We read books and watched the corresponding films. We purchased all the Who Was and Who Is books relevant to film (Steven Spielberg, Jim Henson, Stan Lee, Ron Howard, etc.) He saved and bought vintage cameras at the flea market and spent time making movies on his iPad.
In addition to his interests, I believe the most important part of Jack’s education is the time he spends with Jamie buying, selling, picking-up, and shipping. He knows the in’s and out’s of doubling, how to research the resell value of an item, and how to communicate with sellers. He may not start the day doing long division, but he is absolutely learning.
Jamie suggested Kensi read How to Win Friends and Influence People as a summer read. She has thoroughly enjoyed it and tells us when she puts the text into practice. I’m pretty sure the book isn’t on any high school reading list. But it fits her and her desire to work with people internationally establishing sustainable businesses. Note: We are totally aware that what she wants to be when she grows up may change, but until then, we will find the tools she needs to fulfill her heart’s desire.
Two nights ago, Kensi asked if she can make us dinner. (Umm . . . sure!) She found her recipe, we went to the grocery to gather the ingredients, and then she calculated how much time she would need in order to serve it to us by 6:00. Officially, we had not started school, but she was learning!
I’ve often wondered if we are more of an unschooling family or even a “hackschooling” family (It’s a thing, check it out!) because we are very unstructured. We start school when we wake up (9ish maybe 10ish), we come and go as we please, and we present to our children all options of continuing education (trade schools, internships, apprenticeships, and college.) College is just an option, not an expectation. Note: As we’re diving into Kensi’s year, we are tracking her education as if she is college bound, even though she says she is not–what if she changes her mind? To date, Kensi wants to go to a language school in Latin America–our response: Okay!
So today is our first-ish day of school. The book work will most likely get done in the car while Jamie and Jack are on their way to the warehouse–he asked if he could do his math at home, so we’ll tackle that after the truck is unloaded. When Kensi wraps up what she can do (co-op with Biology, Literature, and Creative Writing start in a few weeks), Kensi and I will probably make macarons, she’ll help me clean the house, or we may take a barefoot walk through the neighborhood. No matter how short or how long, here or there, by ourselves or with others, we will all learn something today. So long formality! Hello, freedom!