B received his first science homeschool assignment, today!!! Our journey has officially begun. He’s testing EMF levels at home and explaining 3 easy ways to reduce exposure.
As I emailed him the resources, I realized this is our last summer countdown. It’s the last time we’ll be patiently awaiting June 15th. It’s the last time he has “homework” and the last time learning is associated with a building.
As B learns this year, his lessons are not attached to a test or a day of the week, or a “unit.” The outcomes are simple and connected, they are projects he must create. For example, to create his Etsy store, there is no test. How do I know if he mastered the lesson? Simple, did anyone buy one of his drawings or notecards? Even if its grandma who buys, that still counts! He’s the one who created the products, built the e-store, connected the PayPal account and earned the income from the sale. That sounds like a mastered lesson to me!
My son was surprised an Etsy store was a lesson. For him, it’s just fun. The truth is, creation and innovation are fun. It’s what humans were born to do.
To guide him, I need to break down the parts of his “assignments” (I. e. oversee his schedule for drawing, designing notecards, building the Etsy site, etc.). The “guiding” is where my teaching skills come in handy. But, for B, the realization that learning equals creation is new. It’s refreshing and invigorating. Is it perfect? No. And it may never be. But learning is messy. It’s tough love fraught with failures, endless work, and tireless effort. That’s what I hope B embraces the most as we homeschool.
“homeschool has changed my perspective on life.”
My perspective on life is evolving. Just as I don’t think learning is tied to only a building or a test score, I no longer think work is tied to a place, a schedule or exchanging hours of my time for pay.
Here are 3 distinct ways OUR Perspective Changed:
1) Education is life.
It’s scary to completely “give away” a child’s education to professional educators, no matter how qualified they are.
As the demands on the teaching profession increase, it is harder and harder to uncover and engage the gifts of every student. I just can’t leave it to chance.
2) Public Education must teach all students, but it falls short.
Any system can only be as good as the weakest link. I can attest to the damage weak teachers do. I’ve seen it in my teaching career and in my son’s school career. Teachers must know their students to really engage them in learning. That’s BEFORE they even begin to create and teach lessons!
Also, large systems have to use benchmarks, test scores, and small data points to judge, place students in classes and provide curricula. It’s becoming an archaic system, only because it must categorize people in an era when humans are becoming more diverse in their likes, talents, and skills. Quite simply, it can’t keep up with the demands and needs of students today.
3) Life is happening right now.
I don’t want to wait until I’m 60 to travel to amazing destinations, learn new skills and take risks. I want to do that now, all the time. You can and should continue to learn in any career or job, but it feels different with more flexibility. It feels different when you work from home.
For us, the homeschool model seems more in line with a purposeful life.
As a writer, I learn as I go. Writing a book, blogging, building an online store, and using essential oils, are just a few of the new skills I’ve acquired since starting this blog and “writing from home.”
I have to acquire these new skills “around” work right now. But, I know, one day, these passions will become my bread and butter. My life will become my work. It won’t feel like I’m waiting to “go home” and do the things I really love.
Just watching my son embark upon a lifetime of learning that’s not broken into an academic career, a home life, an art life, and a creative life is fulfilling to witness. Learning is life and life is learning. Right?
What does your summer look like? Do you find more hands-on learning opportunities open up in the summer?