I can't believe it's almost been a year since I first started contemplating the possibility of homeschooling Finn. When I finally made the decision, my head was full of these thoughts, ideas, and notions of what our days, weeks, and seasons would look like. Some of that has come to fruition; others, not as much; and yet more have been thrown out or laughed at as reality took its course.
Yet, I am amazed on a regular basis at just how much Finn has learned over the last year. Some of his learning has been concrete, basic reading, counting to 100, learning countless songs and stories, reading dozens of books, listening to over 100 hours of audiobooks, mastering many puzzles, and completing several workbooks of mazes and connect-the-dots.
Other learning has been less concrete, figuring out a morning routine that includes making a bed without whining, becoming comfortable with a kitchen knife and cutting board, mastering so much vocabulary that it regularly astounds us, creating his own crafts, inventing his own world of trains and their stories.
I've guided and facilitated during some times and let him work and play on his own during other times. None of our time together has been wasted, and I can gratefully see the value in everything we've done, or not done, this year.
But as much as I have enjoyed and appreciated this past year, Finn will be attending kindergarten in the fall at the school that Elizabeth currently attends. I think that homeschooling provides an excellent education for many kids, and I'm sure that Finn would be among those children. Our reasons for choosing to send him to school have less to do with what I can provide for him and more to do with the opportunities that abound at this particular school.
Elizabeth began attending this school in it's fourth year of existence, and I've really been able to see the growth in curriculum and opportunity since she began there. As you can see in a friend's blogpost about her kindergartener's Peter and the Wolf performance, they really do a remarkable job of giving little one's an arts education that builds upon it's own foundation, brick by brick giving the children more tools and responsibility for their own performances, and their own education.
I could never do an adequate job of explaining this school's mission or lauding their success in education in this space in just one blogpost, but in my opinion, they include the best parts of a well-rounded education: guiding children to self-learning, presenting the arts in a personal way, providing plenty of movement and exploration time, involvement in community events. And likewise they exclude many of the worst: sitting at desks, grading core subjects, rote memorization, homework.
And so, in the fall, Finn will head off for a kindergarten year that I hope will be full of joy and exploration and discovery and even learning. However this mama won't be finished homeschooling.
Since Elizabeth ages out of this wonderful charter school we've grown to love, she will be my homeschooler next year. And I still haven't quite wrapped my head around the differences and similarities in homeschooling a middle schooler next year. Any advice or recommendations are welcome. :)