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Homeschooling: Introducing ME!

August 21, 2008

As seen on other blogs, but taken originally from (click on the picture to find out LOL)

So anyways, hi Guys! I’m Meredith, 32, and mom to 4 children, Morgan g-14, Ian b-9, Owyn b-7 and Kaia g-1.

Our homeschooling journey started 8 years ago, when my 14 was 7 and in first grade. Kindergarten had been magical for her. She’d had a wonderful teacher, the kind with plump cheeks, wonderful hugs, one who smelled of cookies, kissed boo-boos, did Easter egg hunts, and even the little boys who’d normally bring frogs to school brought her flowers instead. I was one of her homeroom moms, even with 1 year old Ian in tow. He ended up being the homeroom mascot, even with the nickname of Ianzilla.

Then 1st grade hit. And my daughter, the one who wore tie dye and camouflage to school with knee high purple sparkley go-go boots started wanting to dress like Britney Spears. The little girl who loved ‘meatballs’ as she called buns on both sides of her heads, and butterfly clips that acutally wiggled, all the sudden would barely let me brush her hair. She said the other kids made fun of her hair. She came home wanting to know what sex was (she was perfectly aware of how babies were made/born because of my midwifery books). She was BORED to TEARS, reading on an 8th grade level and doing math on a 5th grade level. But forced to sit and watch the other kids because they were slower than she was. Talking to the school, she was too young for gifted, they didn’t want her to skip a grade and her teacher wasn’t so hot either.

So I discussed it with my then husband, who is in the military, and we decided that for Morgan’s mental health, we needed to homeschool her. We wanted our opinionated, mouthy, silly, sweet, artistic child back! I homeschooled her for 2 years until the end of 3rd grade. And then she decided to go back to public school. Occasionally she wishes to be homeschooled again, but being a ‘band geek’ she’s mostly ok with public school. I’ve had to go talk to the occasional teacher about their sucky attitude, their playing inappropriate music at school (usually religious) talking inappropriately (a coach and a homeroom teacher) I think it’s really important that Morgan knows she can make her own decisions but I’m her backup. I’m the big dog behind her in case other people won’t take her seriously, or are abusing their status as ‘an adult’ and hers as ‘the child’. (heh, If I’m the big dog, my ex is the grizzly, they REALLY don’t want him to come up from Florida to talk to them!)

Anyways, 2 years ago, my then 7 year old was in 1st grade and my then 5 year old in kindergarten. Ian was bored bored bored, and after 10 days in school. Owyn had forgotten how to write his NAME! He didn’t know his abc’s anymore! He could read a bit before he went in, but his teacher had managed to convince him in 10 days that he was stupid and the other kids were smarter than he.  This did NOT sit well. And after asking the school to switch him to another room (and a better teacher) we were refused (and talked down to by the principal) and so I called my then husband in Korea and explained the situation to him and asked if he was ok with Owyn being pulled out of school. (the teacher is lucky E wasn’t here honestly) a few months later we pulled Ian as well, he was just too bored!

I’m the one who’s always wanted to homeschool. E is the one who always needs a little convincing. I don’t know why, since you’d think 2 years of unschooling Morgan and she’s top of her class, in gifted and her teachers generally love her and tell us what a great job of parenting we do… Well, you’d think it’d be proven to him already. But that’s ok..

Anyways, when I first started homeschooling Morgan, we went with the approach first that she just needed a break from forced learning, so I just worked in stuff we did normally into learning.

Like cooking for instance, we cook every day right? Well if we learn new recipes, that’s math, and reading.. And if we find those recipes in different cultures, that’s geography, and social studies, and history! So we ended up doing 2 things, We’d pick 2 religions a month, and celebrate their culture, their religion, eat their food, celebrate their holiday, study the clothing, recreate it if we could and in general immerse ourselves in that particular culture/religion, learning a lot about it as we went along. Including some words of that language

The other thing we did was garden, a LOT. We kept seed and plant journals. Learned new words like germination and stamen. We colored pictures, we picked out seeds after figuring out where they’d grow best. That sort of thing. So Morgan ended up with a very well rounded education without a lot of pain and forced learning on our part. Then I found out it’s an actual STYLE of learning, called Unschooling! Where basically, everything is an opportunity to learn. From saving baby squirrels to grocery shopping, to listening to the Beach Boys!

To me, Morgan is proof that this style works fine. Owyn teaching himself to read is proof. Ian doing math on a 5th to 7th grade level is proof. I don’t plan anything or work out ahead of time what we are going to do. But instead I’m led by what their interests are and we go from there (thank goodness for the internet is all I have to say!)

I’m also a different sort of mom than most. We are practsing suburban homesteading right now, and plan on making it rural homesteading as soon as we can get done with remodeling this house and selling it off. I originally went to college to become a midwife then changed that to art teacher, but then got married to a military man and pregnant with one vehicle in the middle of nowhere isn’t a great way to finish school LOL. I’ve discovered I TRULY love being an at home mother. Sewing, baking our own bread, muffins, bagels etc, canning our own food, gardening for what we eat. But at the same time, we are also practising Lakota’s (my ex is half Blackfoot and chooses to follow those ancestors religious beliefs), we are all pretty seriously artistic, we work on a LOT of art projects around here, our house is filled with all sorts of weird things, from African mother statues, to Korean Traditional drums, to Halloween decorations because we love Halloween so much we just leave things up year round. My ex and I get along pretty darn well and want what’s best for our children. Me being at home with them and them being unschooled is what’s best right now (as the boys sit cuddled up on the couch together reading their kids first space dictionary, too sweet!)

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