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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blossoming through their homeschooling journey and curriculum

Summer is coming and what with leaves budding on the trees, the return of hummingbirds and frogs chirping at our river across the road, there’s a sense of newness and of life blossoming. I’m reminded of this within my own family as our son teaches himself how to ride without training wheels (taking them off himself I may add), and as our girls come out of winter hibernation, emerging more like young women than ever.
The other day I was asked by a group member why we homeschooled and it made me stop for a moment. Finally, I replied, that for me, the most important thing I can offer my children is their own sense of self, their own confidence in their unique perspective of the world. I want their education to support this journey, rather than challenge it. I want them to put a priority on knowing themselves and their schooling, the practical things they learn about over these school years needs to be the canvas for them to do that on. Sure, my eldest may have plans to venture out to the school system in a few years, but I know she will have the self-assurance in herself. She knows who she is and who she wants to be. She'll create her own imprint in all she does.
And then there’s her sister. I’ve mentioned my spirited, creative girl a couple of months ago to you. I can’t believe how she’s blossoming these past few months. She’s gone from being my little girl to this aware, sparkling, confident young woman. (ouch... it really does go so fast.)
I mentioned that we had recently started Oak Meadow with our second daughter in a post a couple of months ago. She was eager for the sense of purpose, the weekly tasks and structure at the same time it meets her creative needs, she even finds her own sense of creativity within the creative tasks. (Her first project was on the Tudors, which she combined with stop motion video, an activity she is passionate about, she’s also written stories during her studies in stars, she’s created speeches and explored long works of classical music. She's had projects which have continually brought subjects to life, rather than just being taught.). I am loving how the curriculum leaves room for her to put her own personal stamp on projects. She has a list of things to complete, however, she is given choices in how to explore them in ways that make sure she maintains her interest.
This is actually kind of funny to watch really. Often, in her past homeschooling journey, if she got intimidated or bored of a topic, my daughter would drag her heels and really tell herself the story that she didn’t want to continue with it. I would see this girl come into my room, throw herself on the bed, suddenly really tired and not be able to find that spark of focus so she could continue. But with Oak Meadow it’s different. They are really catching her attention. Oh sure, she comes across some subjects which start to fall into the old pattern. (surprisingly math is no longer one of them. She says she is finally understanding it) The French Revolution started to make her... um... well tired. But once we pulled out the Teacher’s guide, talked about it in conversational tones and used all the tools that are given, she was back in the saddle and finished without another word.
It may seem like I’m going on about the program, but you have no idea the relief it is giving me. For years I’ve watched our daughter, who is so incredibly brilliant with her own processes, perspectives and ways of doing things, I’ve seen her struggle and lose confidence in her ability. And now she’s thriving and feels like she is achieving what she should be. The focus and sense of self that’s creating for her is bleeding into other elements of her life. Even in her art, her play, she’s developing an attention to detail that I’ve never seen with her.
She’s growing up. Suddenly, and beautifully, growing up. But from the inside out. She doesn’t feel like she has to look grown up, and she doesn’t feel she has to act differently either (I can hear her playing something in the other room with her siblings and it’s as crazy and fun as ever.) But, even still she is developing in her own magical way and I am so grateful that Oak Meadow can be a part of that.

If you are thinking of homeschooling, I encourage you to check it out before the 29th, because they are having their annual sale on right now, with 20% off. 

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