Today Erin's portfolio was reviewed by a certified teacher. All that is left is for us to send the letter she signed this morning with the form that says we intend to homeschool again and we'll be all set. Erin is officially in 2nd grade. Though the teacher looking through her stuff this morning was joking that we should do 5th grade with her--but I think we'll stick to second for now.
I remember this time last year--how apprehensive I was and how scary the whole homeschool "thing" seemed. I had schedules, unit plans, curriculum, joined homeschool groups and even turned the guest room of our house into a classroom. I have white boards here, a computer, bookshelves, educational posters, and a small classroom desk. It is beautiful...but as I was going through the portfolio with our certified teacher this morning, I realized how very little of our time was spent in this room, following those schedules or using that curriculum. Where were we? We were outside doing time lines in chalk on our street, we were at the library, we were building models and painting, reading and playing games. We were visiting museums, learning chess, going to theater classes and planting gardens. In short, we were living our life as it unfolded every day. It was awesome!
As I begin planning for next year, I have to laugh at the person I was a year ago. I smile when people ask me if we "school all year or take the summer off." Because life is our school. In June, I went to a curriculum sale, just to see what they had (and to have lunch with a friend and spend some time away from the kids...I admit!) and while there, I found a Usborne First Latin Dictionary. Erin spent most of the next two weeks labeling everything in our house in Latin. Yes, school was "out" and yes, we had finished her portfolio, but there she was, still learning and enjoying it. School is never "out" for us. There are days I count and days I don't for the purpose of reporting to the state, but school is never out.
This way is not for everyone--I have a dear friend who desperately needs the days planned out--and it may not be for us forever. But for now, it is great. Our goals this year are to incorporate more contact with the caring adults in her life. Time with grandparents, aunts and uncles and close friends are all on the docket. I'm excited to see what she will learn from them and what cool dynamic these unique relationships will bring to her life.
If you had asked me when she was born if I was going to homeschool, I would have laughed hysterically. Not me, I would have said, not my kid! Oh how things change!