I’m not afraid to experiment with change. I might even confess that I find it somewhat thrilling to learn new ways to do the same old thing. And so that’s how we have approached home schooling this year. Two weeks before school began Jack asked to home school, and he had all the right reasons. He wanted to do more with his time. He was tired of discipline problems in the classroom holding everyone else back. He was tired of the language students use when adults aren’t listening.
If he had fears about fitting in, or problems with making friends I would have kept him in the public school. I’m one to jump in and face a problem rather than run away from it, so that’s how I train our children as well.
I know my limits. I know I am fully extended with how much I can do in one day. So if this homeschooling adventure was going to make lift off I needed help. My former assistant, Andie, went off to college at A&M, but her best friend, Hannah, was happy to step into her role. Hannah is a college student considering a degree in education. So we agreed to give it a try. I am the principal and she is the educator, Jack is the student and Kira is both entertainer and distraction organizer. I ordered the Texas Tech ISD curriculum knowing it will keep him right on track with the public education he would otherwise receive.
It has been about two months now and what fun we are having with this project. He finishes school most days before lunch. We have many activities scheduled each day such as horse back riding, piano, swimming, tennis, and church activities. Usually Fridays are adventure days. We have seaworld, the zoo, the children’s theater, the imax theater, and traveling. He also takes one day a week to bake and sell his goods as school is released. He is earning money to pay for the four kids he sends to school in Uganda. Those children are not part of our children’s home. He was involved in his own project two years ago long before our family ever had a nonprofit.
Every twenty-five weeks he takes a test and we send it in to the Texas Tech school, they grade it, record it, and send it back to us. He just got his first results on his tests. Let me begin by explaining this is a kid who started kindergarten claiming he will only bring home 100s on his work. And usually that’s what he brought home. Well, wasn’t he surprised when his grades covered all ranges. He was upset and wanted to solve the problem right away. When Hannah went over the test she said he made careless mistakes and it wasn’t that he didn’t know the material.
I think this was a good experience for Jack. He realized that all this time relaxed at home learning is accountable and it matters. I know Jack, and he’s going to figure out how to be the best at home schooling. I’m so pleased we have chosen this path for him this year. It is a little bit humbling for him. He is able to explore many interests. He loves being home with us, and I love having him around full time. He is chatty, funny, and helpful. He has a true eagerness to learn. I have realized though he approaches a new activity with the attitude of just doing it and seeing what happens. I am trying to teach him to be willing to learn and not assume he can just do. There is a process to everything and others before us have come up with a good plan to try before changing it for our own purposes. What I am most thankful for is that I have the opportunity to shape and mold his character. When we have attitude problems we can nip them out immediately. We are well on our way to curing the talking back syndrome.
It is a great blessing to be able to grow close with him in this final year of elementary school. I know what happens to children when they turn twelve, they have new eyes for their parents and begin to believe they are the most embarrassing people on earth and have never once learned anything useful. Thankfully I know they come back around eventually…at least Donny did. I have high hopes for Jordan. Kevin…he’s an enigma, but he is faithful.
I think for this year it was a great idea to listen to Jack’s request and try out home schooling. We are all learning so much. And as usual we are having a lot of laughs along the way.