Monday, December 12, 2011

Homeschooling extras

As you may or may not know, our family homeschools. (Yes, you can homeschool when you have seven children.  I promise!)  I currently have one 2nd grader and two 1st graders--this is our third year schooling at home and honestly, I love love love it.  (Well, most of the time!  Sometimes I want to rip my hair out, but usually it's awesome.  :)  )  The lifestyle, the way we have time to do things important to our family, the slower and more flexible pace, the convenience of not having all those pick-ups and's great!

Of course, as every homeschooler knows, the general populace is often a little unsure about the whole thing.

People assume that kids not attending public school are socially awkward, deprived, and lacking in various academic and societal skills. 

Lately I've been thinking about how utterly absurd it all is, these silly stereotypes.  And I've been thinking that because we've been running to and fro to all manner of activities--the irony of homeschooling but not necessarily being home all that much.

So I thought I'd give you a look at some of the things we homeschoolers do that aren't actually at home.  Some proof that a homeschooled child can have a rich, full educational experience.

Two weeks ago, Anna performed in a dance production of "Babes in Toyland." 

She played one of Little Bo Peep's sheep, and did AWESOME! 

So proud of my girl!  We surprised her with (her very first) flowers right after the performance.

A typical week finds us at home (my favorite place to be, because I'm a card-carrying introvert) Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  We spend time learning our faith (reading the Bible, reading Saint stories, praying, Catechism instruction), and studying Math, History, Language Arts, and various other things.  Sometimes we get together with friends.  We're pretty much always done with school by lunchtime.

Then on Thursdays, my three school-age kids attend an all-day school-for-homeschooled-kids.  They take Science, Art, Drama, Dance, Piano, Music...the list goes on.  They eat lunch with their buddies and get to wear backpacks and have a blast doing the typical school thing.  Anna's dance performance was through this school.

And on Fridays, we attend a homeschool co-op at our parish.  My kids LOVE it.  So do I.  Such wonderful families and my children are building community with other kids who share our faith.  We try to make it to 8 am Mass beforehand, too.  (That's Yosef painting a sculpture of St. Joseph, done by the teacher, during our ceramics unit.)

Just this past week at our co-op, we celebrated the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (which is actually today) by making some really sweet crafts and having a little procession where each kiddo got to touch Mary's immaculate heart and give her a flower they made out of tissue paper.  It was SO cute!  (Even if the picture is blurry.)

And later, Saint Nicholas showed up (his feast day was on December 6th), talked to the kids, and handed out gold coins. 

So excited!  (I don't know why Kaitlyn always makes that face in photos, but it drives me crazy and cracks me up all at the same time.)

I'm honestly really grateful for the lifestyle we've carved out for ourselves.  I used to feel like we'd be missing out on things here and there by homeschooling, but the truth is that it's more or less the oppositeIf my children were in public school, we'd have less time for building community with other Catholic families, they wouldn't be involved in as many of the fine arts, and we'd have less time for dear friends in general.  I could go on and on about why I love homeschooling, but I'm not going to.  (Right now, anyway.)  I'll just say that our life is incredibly full and my children are blessed with a lot of pretty cool opportunities. 

And it's funny because even though we're homeschoolers, some of my favorite things about homeschooling aren't actually happening at home!


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