Friday, 21 January 2011

Co-op love!

Two weeks from today, we will be starting back to our homeschool co-op's Friday School!  We are all very excited about this.  My girls keep telling me that the semesters are too short, and the breaks are too long, and I have to admit that I agree!  Friday school lasts from 8:15 in the morning to noon, and consists of chapel, and 3 classes.  This semester, Celestia will be taking Cross Stitch, How to Use Your Brain, and Purity for Girls.  Tatiana will be taking Origami, Grand Prix, and Sign Language Choir.  As in last semester, Zachariah and I will be in the infants' room, with two other mothers.

Our co-op isn't just about Friday School, though.  Some of the families in the group don't even participate in Friday School at all.  No, our co-op is a whole network of families who love and support each other in every aspect of parenting and education.  When I was having difficulty with baby blues after having Zachariah, I was able to post a thread on our group's page, and these women chimed in with words of love and encouragement.  Several weeks later, I received a call from a momma just to check up on me.  We have regular meetings for parents in homeschooling families.  Maybe I just wasn't as plugged in as I should have been when the girls were in public school, but I wouldn't have called any of their friends' parents if I were struggling with baby blues.  Or for any other parenting issue for that matter.

I've been thinking a lot about our homeschooling journey lately.  It's not always easy, and has taken a particularly difficult twist as of late with a tween and a teenage girl.  And an infant to care for, to boot.  Every time I begin to question whether or not I'm doing the right thing, I consider the alternative.  Our experience in public school wasn't horrible.  We had good teachers.  The principal was a sweet lady.  I loved our nurse.  What I didn't like was the one-size-fits-all approach to education.  Although the district we were in wanted to "embrace diversity" what they really ended up doing was homogenizing things to the point that anything which had to do with culture or personal beliefs was pushed right out of the school.  When Celestia was in kindergarten, She took snowflake ornaments to school to give her friends around the holidays.  I specifically chose snowflakes so as not to offend anyone.  The Jewish teacher that I worked with had the same snowflakes hung in her classroom to decorate it for winter.  I had considered pencils, but the kids didn't actually get to keep their own supplies, and most of the pencils had things like Santa on them, anyway.  In any event, these snowflakes were sent home because "not everyone celebrates Christmas".  Celestia came home wanting to know why what she did was wrong, and I went in the bedroom and bawled, because my daughter had wanted to give her friends a present, and wasn't allowed.  I really would have pulled her out of school that very day if we could have.  Even then, though, homeschooling wasn't even on my radar.  I wanted to send her to a private school.

My sister homeschooled her boys, and I honestly thought it was a little weird.  I knew that her son was super smart (although he is five years younger than me, he was studying pre-calc the same year that I studied pre algebra) but I still didn't really get the whole homeschooling thing.  I won't lie, the idea of homeschooling came out of nowhere.  It was a Sunday afternoon.  I took a nap like I often do on Sundays, and when I woke up, it just hit me.  I needed to homeschool the girls.  I've never felt something so strongly as I felt this particular objective.  I wandered into the kitchen, still somewhat taken aback by the urge to do something that I had never even considered.  Jonathan was working at his computer.  I sat in his lap (yeah, that's what happens when a 4' 11" woman marries a 6' 2" man), and said "I think I need to homeschool the girls."  I had honestly expected a bit of resistance, but he simply responded "OK, if that's what you think you need to do."  And the rest, as they say, is history.  For two and a half years or so, my mother actually taught the girls while I continued to work full time.  When I was laid off in February of 2009, we revamped our budget, and I never went back.  I enjoy working part time at a music shop, but it's honestly more to get me out of the house than it is to make money.  While my income is a nice little supplement to Jonathan's, I'm hardly bringing home the bacon.

It's funny how my blog posts can sometimes evolve as I'm writing them.  I began this just because Friday School begins in two weeks, and we're all excited.  It turned out to be a walk down memory lane.  We've definitely had our ups and downs over the years, but if we hadn't made this choice, then I wouldn't be able to enjoy beautiful moments like this.
Oh yeah, I love homeschooling!

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