I have thought about homeschooling Jack since he was a baby. My reasons are the standard ones: the unrealistic standards of American public education, Jack is a bit advanced intelligence but gets social anxiety in large groups, and Jack is high needs/energy I worry school will not deal with it correctly. Also, we live in the school district that my brother and I attended as a kids. Long story short, this district failed us both in many ways and not much has changed since then.
So, I have been researching homeschooling for quiet awhile. We have done some educational activities on and off since he was about 18 months, but nothing was planned out. I was planning on starting him some sort of a curriculum when he turned 2.
But then I got pregnant and had was 36 of Hyperemeis. Followed by a slow postpartum recovery. She we sent Jack to a in-home daycare 2 half days a week to help him socialize and learn to follow a routine (and give me a small break and time to bond with Bear). Then I sadly had to go back to work a year earlier than I had planned (buying a home is not fun adulting)
Then this year Jack had the opportunity to attend a nature-based preschool a friend started up. Jack LOVES nature and being outside. They go outside everyday, rain or shine. This, plus knowing how wonderful and patience my friend is as a teacher, was the reason we enrolled Jack in the nature preschool over homeschooling him. Plus, with work it did not seem possible.
Jack is doing good at the nature preschool. But he realized quickly he is the youngest in the class. He knows a lot of information for his age, but he lacks some of the skills that his older classmates have. For example, he can’t cut straight with scissors. Or trace letters and numbers very well. He couldn’t recognize letters or numbers either. He struggled with sorting and patterns. These are VERY normal things for a 3-year-old not to know so I was not concerned. But Jack was. A few weeks ago, he came home from school and was a bit sad. I asked what was wrong and if he was happy at school. He explained he loved school, but it was hard being the littlest one. He didn’t like not being able to do the stuff his friends can do. I told him not worry, he will learn it when he’s ready.
He looked at me very seriously and said, “I am ready now. I want to know more stuff.”
I told him no problem, mommy will help him learn more stuff. He was SO excited. He said he wanted to learn more about animals. I said no problem again. Then ran off to Pinterest and Google to figure out what to do. I decided the best approach was to follow his interests. Keep to animal and nature themes to teach him the stuff he needs to know. I knew follow a set, strict curriculum would not work for him. So I looked more into the unschooling model.
Unschooling is defined as: “an educational method, ways and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning….Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful it is to the child.
Basically the kids learns everything they need to know when they ready and when it interests them. He will still go to preschool, but I would help guide him to learn more
So I made-up a very basic curriculum and outline. I hesitate to use those words because was not an official thing we had to stick to in order or even in a certain amount of time. It was just certain activities he could chose to do when we had time. You can learn more about my curriculum here.
I have no idea no idea where this educational experiment will go and how it will turn out, but I am SO excited for this journey with Jack. I hope he gets what he is earning for—life skills and more information on nature.
Wish us luck and follow along with us on this journey!
Here are some resources I used in my school decision: