Monday, August 18, 2008

First Day Back

Today was our official “first day of school.” So what does that mean for a homeschooler that tries to school year round? Well, today was the day that we brought out our new materials, started a new “schedule,” and generally got back into the swing of things.

I prefer to school year round. This year was somewhat different because we moved at the beginning of June and I decided that we would just take the summer off to get completely acclimated to our new home and area. We did finish up some history over the summer that we had fallen behind on last year, but generally we just did a lot of reading this summer and met some new homeschool friends.

Today went fairly well. We are all trying to not only get adjusted to a new school schedule, but Justin has a new work schedule as well. We are now at a command where they do shift work, so his schedule will change periodically, probably just frequently enough to royally mess up our routine on a regular basis :)

I am still working to ensure that I am “inspiring not requiring” of my children, especially Jake. Growing up in the public school system is definitely tainting. I would like so much to just let him go and learn as thoughts and desires come to him, but after being force-fed “education” for half my life, it is so hard to let go even though I know that that system does not work.

Two hundred years ago, before we had a public school system, children, such at Thomas Jefferson, thrived in a mentoring world. Children learned how to read, write, sew, and work the land from and older sibling, parent, or surrogate mentor. It had worked for hundreds of years prior as well. I know that the mentoring system is an outstanding model for education; I just need to fully break my subconscious bonds with “traditional” schooling. Maybe I should just chant, “Just let go…just let go…just let go” each night as I drift off to sleep.

In the spirit of mentoring, Jake and I decided to create a weekly goal sheet so that he can work towards completing certain goals each week. I admit that I assisted in his goal planning process, but will be willing to alter the weekly goals as necessary to meet his personal educational needs. In order to truly mentor, I also need to establish some educational goals. I know I need to go back and reread my Thomas Jefferson Education book because I’m missing some of the key elements to mentoring, but I’m trying.

I know it will all come together. Learning and growing is one of the joys of being a family. If something isn’t working for our family we have the ability to change and mold it to fit our family’s needs. As the kids get older I am finding that many of our methods, be they schooling, parenting, or household living, are needing to be updated to meet the needs of everyone in our family. We are growing daily, learning from each other to better ourselves along the way.

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