We had a great Thanksgiving event with the homeschool group today. There was a Cherokee guest speaker, amazing food, the kids made their own flavored butter, played games, and had a fantastic time for over 3 hours. We met some new homeschoolers and lots of dads came today. I really love this group.
I can't believe it's already the end of November. Autumn really flew by. K is ready to start some structured learning. She says she doesn't want to be behind when she starts high school. I'll sit down with her and we'll come up with a schedule together. Having her input is important. I'm figuring on following the worldbook guideline for 8th grade and just finding really good websites, books, kits, and trips to experience throughout the year. I think I would like to do the same with J. She likes a loose schedule that she creates herself. And of course, I'm totally willing to follow her lead. W is doing just fine lately. We do lots of workbook and readalouds, and his days are always filled with imaginative play.
The one thing people still tend to harp on is "socialization". My kids know how to act among others. What they actually mean is "socializing". Well, they spend several days a week with their friends and they spend every day out in the real world. Even K says she is so much happier having these new friends. She feels no pressure or anxiety and just enjoys life so much more now. We have become closer as a family, too. I don't believe children benefit socially from spending 6 hours a day with 25 other kids their age that they can't get away from if they wanted to. I think a feeling of helplessness from being so controlled builds over the years and manifests itself into rebellion right at about 6th or 7th grade. By the time their in high school, if you've noticed, attitudes change and reading and math levels plummet. I think NYC has about 37% of middle and high school kids at grade level. The rest of the country isn't much better. Thirty-seven percent? A little more than a third of this city's kids are reading at grade level?! How can anyone say government school is working for them?
I see an incredibly bright and successful future for my kids. I really can see it. I'm not sure many public school parents can be that optimistic. And even though I know K will be going to (private or parochial) high school next year, I believe she has gotten a new start by staying home this year. She is already thinking and behaving differently than from just a month ago. High school is something she wants, not something being forced. I'm comfortable with her decision and I'm confident she will not disappoint herself.