5.09.2013

Ch-ch-ch-changes

My interest in education was ignited when I had the incredible opportunity to work as a teaching and research assistant at the University of Wisconsin in the undergraduate school of business.  I was in Organizational Behavior and the professor I worked under was obsessed with teaching the material in a fun and memorable way.  (I really do mean obsessed, in the very best way.)  We often had long discussions about how students learn best and how we could make management principles come to life for them.  I had 150 students per semester - 5 classes of around 30 students each.  While I enjoyed teaching classes each week, my favorite kind of teaching was one-on-one during my office hours.  Seeing those light bulb moments where the student really grasped the material was so rewarding.

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After Jude was born, I quit my job at the university, but my interest in education only grew stronger.  Lucky for me, one of my closest friends was an education major in college, as was her uncle who she was living with at the time.   Her aunt had an interest in education as well. All of us had young babies.  We'd spend hours talking about the various educational theories and platforms: homeschooling, Montessori, Waldorf, charter and magnet schools, as well as traditional education.  I learned so much.

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Growing up, three of my aunts made the decision to homeschool their children.  My cousins are all a decade or more younger than I am, and at that time homeschooling was totally fringe and countercultural.  My aunts got a lot of push back, comments implying their kids would be social freaks.  They followed their hearts.  I have so much respect for that choice - to follow what you believe is your path for your family, even if it's not a popular or well-accepted choice.  (For the record, most of my cousins are now adults and are delightful people to be around!  The longitudinal studies are bearing out that the socialization issue is not an issue at all. Homeschooled kids are faring as well or better their non-homeschooled counterparts socially, while reporting a great sense of well-being.)


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Homeschooling has always been on our radar, but we felt it had to be right for Dan and me and it also had to be right for our kids.  I don't believe there is one right way to educate children.   I don't understand the heated discussions that imply there is only one path for every family.  This is largely a personal decision based on individual personalities and what works for the family as a whole.  In the past, we've given our kids the choice as to whether they would like to be homeschooled and they chose traditional schooling instead.   This was fine with us.   I adore teachers and believe their work is a calling.  Isn't educating our children amongst the noblest of professions?  (They definitely deserve to be paid more!)  Now we are in a place in our family where homeschooling feels like the best, most reasonable choice for everyone.   The kids are on board.  We are on board.  At this point, we aren't committing to doing it forever.  We're going to try it for one year and see how it works for our family.  And we are all really, really excited about that decision.

My next post?  How we chose our curricula.  (It was easier than I expected!)  Being able to customize our children's educations to their specific learning styles, all at an affordable price- especially compared to the private schools in our area-was a major factor in our decision.

6 comments:

  1. Yeah! Loved what you said about taking it one year at a time. Flexibility is totally the key.

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  2. Can't wait to see your curriculum choices and learn from your gentle & creative ways. I am so glad to be homeschooling our kids....but I often reflect on getting off course from the way I know is best ffor us all rather than doing what is quick & practical. Love the encouraging vibe that shows itself through your words.

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  3. I bet you'll be an awesome homeschooling mama. Good luck!!

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  4. I loved homeschooling! I think my Four would tell you it was a good decision for them, also. I went into homeschooling with the goal of not 'separating out' school time from life. Life is about learning - and learning happens more often OUTSIDE the curriculum, outside the workbook pages, outside the red pen marks. Above all, enjoy your children. And they might even enjoy you!

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  5. Good for you!!! I think you're going to be GREAT! Is Dan teaching any subjects, or are you flying solo?

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    1. jenny, i think i'll probably do most of the day-to-day textbook stuff. but one of the reasons we wanted to do education in this way is to give the kids lots of time for hands-on learning. jude loves playing legos, building various snap curcuits creations, things like that. dan would like to get a motor for him to work on and hopefully teach some woodworking skills as well. so i think dan will definitely be involved in those ways.

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