Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Many Faces of Homeschooling

Last week was the last week of our official school year. We do homeschool, and have from the beginning (none of my six children have attended public school and the oldest is 15) but since my son took seminary at the local jr. high seminary we followed the school year in that way. We got up with him every morning for family prayer and scripture study at 6:30 to send him off at 7 AM for seminary.

I do like to have my children do schoolwork in the summer (in my pre-TJED days my two oldest did math and handwriting every day year-round), but since I changed to TJED I am still figuring out how to inspire my two middle aged kids to do schoolwork in the regular school year, and now summer is here and I am still figuring it out. So I got a book on math for myself to read (you know, "you, not them"). They are both in core phase still (do a search on tjedonline.com to get a definition of that)so they get to do a lot of work with me, dishes and babysitting and weeding and dejunking. I am hoping that one day they will decide they would rather read and study than do house and yard work.

Anyway, I thought I would put some pictures up of different activities we did for homeschooling. Some people who have never homeschooled might think that homeschooling is a very lonely, isolated activity, but that's not true. We have so many outside activities to pick from that I have to limit them or I would go crazy with so much chauffeuring. Here are pictures of my son's debate and speech class that was held at my friend Patty's home, once a week for the whole school year.

Some people think if you homeschool you have to be your child's teacher for every subject. That's not true either. It just means that you have the freedom to pick and choose from what's available at the public school and from any other private teacher or mentor, which can include neighbors. So many fantastic options are available these days, from online distance learning to DVDs on subjects like math and biology to commonwealth schools and momschools.

My son took a class for Thomas Jefferson Youth Certification from this same friend Patty this past year and we asked our neighbor to be his "writing mentor." This meant that he proofread his papers and gave feedback. That took a load off of me, believe me. So if you are deciding on whether or not to homeschool, know that you don't have to be every teacher for every subject for every child in your family. You are the facilitator, the executive producer so to speak, and you can do some delegating. You can also do a lot of inspiring and take trips to the library so that your children learn a lot on their own from great books.

My son took this great speech and debate class from a young man named Sam Martineau. They even had a homeschoolers' speech and debate tournament this spring for all the classes that Sam taught, along the Wasatch Front here in Utah. I enjoyed watching the students show off their skills on the last day of class. Here are some pictures from that. I always knew speech and debate would be good for me to study in high school but I was so shy I never took the class. I am happy with what my son learned. I know I could not have taught him the same content with such ease that Sam did. and my daughter (13 years old and much more bold than I was, no "Ophelia syndrome" for her) wants to take the class next year too.

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