Monday, August 27, 2012

Hybrid Homeschooling

Recently, I was having a conversation with my 13 year old and she shocked me with a hard-dose of reality.  I was asking her about school clothes and mentioned an article of clothing that seemed to be "what everyone else was wearing these days".  She profoundly said, "I don't want to be like everyone else."  Ughhhh.   That's exactly what I'd wish for her to say - yet I missed it myself.  We are not to be conformists.  We should live true to ourselves and our callings.  Yay for her!  She gets it.  I love that about her - always willing to live outside the box.

This is our 7th year to homeschool - yet I've never had every kid at home every day of the week.  We frustrate both the  homeschoolers and the public schoolers because our decisions don't "make sense" to those who live inside their respective boxes.   We are ok with that - it was hard at first and I've probably jeopardized from friendships.  But the real friends have stuck by and don't judge us - at least not out loud :-)

The first year that we felt God calling us to homeschool - our two oldest were in 2nd and 4th.  They had already been accepted to the Gifted Program at the local public school - which met 1 day a week.  As they transitioned home - they continued to go to public school 1 day a week for the next few years.  As #3 came along, she did not jive well with our homeschool routine. She's a different kind of child - very lively and social - easily distracted - loud, boisterous, needs lot,s of attention.  We quickly knew that our homeschooling program was not a good fit for her.  Without numerous options, we thought public kindergarten might work.  So, in October of that year, she started public kindergarten and thrived!!  She came home in 1st grade and it was a little better because she had learned the ins and out of being a "learner".  When she started 2nd grade at home - she needed lots of attention from me or things would go south really quickly.  I would look away for half a second -and she'd be busy painting her nails, playing with toys, or bothering someone else.  To give her more time - I enrolled my twins in kindergarten - they loved it!  My big girls were in 6th and 8th grade - and they were working more independently at home by then - so it seemed like the best decision.

Since during that school year - we were also adopting Lori, when it came time to plan our trip to China, we enrolled our 2nd grader in public school for the 2nd semester because I knew I'd not only be out of the country for a while - but once we got home - Lori would need my attention.  So, once again, we were a mixture of homeschoolers and public schoolers - it was a beautiful fit.
Now, here we are this year.  My oldest is a Sophomore at the local high school.  Jay really felt that she needed the high school experience and some time to transition into the world while still under our umbrella.   I love it.  She gets to come home and debrief and has already had opportunities to put her faith to the test.  She's ready for this and has stood up under pressure.  I'm not naive enougth to think that she will always make the best decisions - but for now, it's working.

My next oldest is in 8th grade.  Since we foresee transitioning her to HS next year - this school year she is attending the Jr High for 2 classes each morning.  She loves it.  Her teachers have accepted her with open arms and the kids have been really friendly.  It's been a great way to connect with our community and meet some folks we wouldn't meet otherwise.

My middle is at home.  We are muddling through - bless her heart!  It's still a struggle to get through the day.  Ughhh

My little guys are again at public school and doing great.   They may come home next year.  We'll see.
And my little bitty is home - and is busy learning Sign Language and a few sounds. She will start going to the PreK two mornings a week for therapy and instructional time.  I hope it goes well.

It's a busy year of a little this and a little that at the Lancaster House.  Lots of fun - lots of craziness!  That's what we are all about.  Like she said, "we don't want to be like everyone else!"  Sometimes I lose sight of that - good thing my kids are quick to remind me.