Monday, July 23, 2012

How Homeschooling has Changed.

When our older kids were homeschooling we had very different options. Park Days were what homeschoolers "did" together- picnic lunch, kids play, and Mom’s talk. We didn't have co-ops or class days or virtual schools. We had our kids and the park.

In the past decade co-ops and academic days have sprung up all over, some of which have morphed into UMS's, traditional school and even colleges. Virtual Schooling has exploded in the past couple of years and you can find anything on line now- some of it free.
When we started homeschooling the inter-net barely existed. I remember when homeschool phone trees went from actual home phones (before cells) to email lists. Believe me, there was plenty of complaining about it, too! Not everyone checked their email every week - (seriously).
Curriculum has changed too. When we started we had a couple of choices: ABeka, Bob Jones, Sunlight (it's 2nd year of existence) and encyclopedia's. Now there is so much to choose from it's mind-boggling.

With our older kids we did math, unit studies, read and did a whole bunch of outside activities: Awanas, horseback riding lessons, piano lessons, soccer, scouts and a zillion field trips. We also traveled the countrIn a 2 year time span we went coast to coast 3 times. Our older kids have seen tons of the country- national parks, wild-life, living history museums. The girls flew to Florida every summer (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) (pre 911) they were seasoned travelers by the time they were 12. The 2nd co-op we joined, we started. The first Academic Class Day we joined, we started. The first TeenPact program, we invited (read, worked out tails off) to the state. There were options, but it usually entailed work to make them happen (read: they didn't exist where we lived).

Our younger kids have had more structure in many ways; we go to co-op (someone else started it- whew!), we go to class day (someone else started it -whew), we participate in Drama Camp, Shakespeare Camp (both of which other rocking Mom's started- love that!). The kids have scheduled homework with due dates, other teacher's besides me, outside accountability. They have taken on-line classes. We have done a ton of field trips, and continue to travel, but not quite as extensively. We haven't participated in scouts or Awanas in the past decade, though we did own and ride our own horse for a while. The condo in Florida is sold. We've been re-building a house, so instead of playing in the Gulf Coast surf, our kids have learned to dry-wall and grout.
Some things don't change. Mom's still get together at the park while the kids play. We still talk curriculum, but it's expanded to, "Has anyone used the OCW at MIT?" It's still homeschooling but the definitions are expanding and changing. I am a co-coordinator of the many options, a guidance counselor, as well as a teacher. And for my rising 12th grader, I am basically the mentor, as the majority of his classes will be taught by someone other than me. Our older kids are still traveling but it's not with family, it's with other homeschooling friends/ associates they have met along the way.

It's not better, or worse. Homeschooling years ago, was good; it was something new and fresh and whatever we made of it.  We spent hours in CA and NM, exploring, reading, learning together; sweet memories! And it's good now, too.  The zillion options make it easier, and more complex, less isolated, with the ability to draw on other’s expertise and experience.


Unknown said...

My mom began homeschooling us when I was in the 4th, around 1991. She has been amazed at some of the things available today!

Elizabeth said...

Wow... I would love to travel the country...I just don't think it will ever happen : (
My eldest is going into 8th grade this year...getting harder, but we have a wonderful co-op (I am the art teacher) and I love the variety of curriculum available : )
Many blessing in planning the new year!

Unknown said...

Everything changes, so changes in homeschooling seems natural doesn't it? I have not been homeschooling as long as you, but I do remember when I started only seven short years ago. Things have changed so much in that short time.

My daughter has done virtual school, we have done traditional school at home, and unschooling. All had their place. She uses a mix of unschooling and online schooling now. I call it semi-eclectic unschooling. We use Time4Learning as our core and supplement with whatever she is interested in learning about. We also use Drive Thru History. Life skills play a big part in her education.

I am impressed with your dedication for homeschooling for such a good length of time. I am sure your children are completely blessed.

Best wishes for the upcoming school year.

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