It is a bit of a challenge, as a homeschooling mom, to desire the use of a more unconventional approach to educating my children when there is a lot of pressure to follow the institutionalized standard.
Understandably, the Young Lady must meet the criteria necessary in order to earn a high school diploma. I like The American Academy program we chose for her. She is required to complete some complex tasks and is being instructed at a more difficult level than the other courses we considered. As a mother, I feel good about this challenging program.
I am impressed with the Calvert School choice for the Little Boy, as well. There are wonderful supplemental activites online which are fun for him to work on. He enjoys the incorporation of experiments for each Science lesson, and applying his imagination to the writing assignments. He seems inspired, which makes me very happy.
My concern does not lie with the children's courses. It has to do with the freedom we should have, as a homeschooling family, to really utilize the world as our classroom and embrace every day experiences as the learning opportunities they are.
The idea that school must be done from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in a structured way, using instruction by textbook, completing assignments, testing, and grading, goes against the value of home-based education. When the children are at the farm they're taking in a wealth of information that cannot be obtained in an institutionalized environment. The same is true for shopping, attending medical appointments, and other routine activities. Such exposures create backgrounds of real-world intelligence and practical applications, with natural opportunities to demonstrate the text-book information they've learned. It makes education fun, and when learning is enjoyable it leaves a better impression. Practical and personal application of information opens the mind to store the information more effectively. Having real-life chances to put education to use enables deeper understanding and appreciation of why it is necessary to have certain knowledge.
I am thrilled to be a homeschooling mom. The Young Lady and Little Boy are both well-rounded children with good morals and a foundation of spirituality. I would not want it any other way. :)