Saturday, July 14, 2012

Year Twelve

I just mailed off our check to pay for legal covering for our 12th year of homeschooling. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Alabama state laws, put very, very simply, no one homeschools here-you have to be a church school. What you do to be legal is sign up under an umbrella covering that is set up by a church or as a church and there are dozens, all with various requirements and fees.

From July 2000, when we first decided to homeschool!
We were getting ready to move to TN, the house was not usually so messy!

Some make you sign a statement of faith than lines up what THEY believe and you have to agree to it all.  Some require you use X curriculum and attend classes at their campus at least once a week, some are very laid-back and offer only legal covering and at the end of it all, a diploma if you kept up with your transcripts.  Nearly all of them have a certain number of days you must 'attend' in the year and most want a copy of that record.

The children's discovery house in Tennessee, we spent whole days here!

Channapoo the fall we started homeschooling
We started out in Tennessee-which has similar laws, at least for K-8-and used Covenant as our legal covering.  They were very easy-going and supportive, they wanted attendance and subjects taught/grades and they did require you have a mentor and that you call your mentor through the year, I was assigned a very interesting woman who had 10 children and pregnant again.  They would answer the phone, "Who is this?"  She always had a crying child in her lap when we spoke and she always sounded on the brink of dropping off to sleep.  She eventually said she would sign the paper saying we had spoken monthly and I was doing fine if I would just stop calling. 

All three the next spring!

At the time, she was my sole support, I did not know any other homeschoolers.  Matt's dad told me Matt's mom was seeking custody of the children, trying to have me declared unfit because I was homeschooling.  My own mother was disparaging up until I cut her out in 2006 and for my 26th birthday the summer before we started homeschooling, my sister sent a card with a LONG letter detailing all the damage I was about to inflict on Jacob by denying him a public school education.  Now, she does not speak to me at all unless Daddy is there.

We spent lots of days painting and doing art on the patio of the townhouse!
By the next fall, I had started a nature study group for homeschoolers, put Jake in cub scouts, helped start a local co-op and was leading a girl scout troop.

Ben on a visit to the state capital!

After our first family vacation-to the Smokies!
When we moved back to Alabama in 2004, I had been running the Moms Club, handling newsletters for 4 different groups, attending weekly meetings in 3 towns, still working at the co-op and keeping the nature study group busy at least twice a month and had changed my methods from traditional schooling to Charlotte Mason to unit studies to unschooling.  Probably a few more methods in there as well, I basically tried everything until I realized what the kids did on their own and on the days we did not 'do school' was what they learned the most from.
When we started out, I had them sitting at school desks!  Ack!

and we had charts and posters on all the walls!
It took about a year to get going here, I have slowly accumulated friends over the last 8 years and slowly let go of nearly all vestiges of 'school'-as many years as I spent playing school with stuffed toys, it's HARD to not want an attentive little mob to hang on my every word as I lecture my way through the day.  It's megalomania at best, even knowing what I am doing, I tend to give an essay when an answer is all they require.

We were at the library every week for storytime and dancing!

Ben and Chan had matching babies, they spent hours and hours playing with them and when they got a medical kit for Christmas, those poor babies were nearly dead from every disease known to a 2 and 4 year old!  Namely overeating, falling from the swing, falling off the bed, being hugged too hard and only eating candy.

Back when I assigned work each week (that was all done in a huge cram on Friday morning by the boys) Chandler would hand in her work premarked A++ 100%.  Sometimes it was A+++ work, it depended on how much time it took.

The original Kid Counsel!

Daisy Scouts!
Cub Scouts!
I have gotten ALL the questions over the years.  Is that legal?  What will they do for friends?  How can you teach everything they need to know?  Are you ever going to send them to real school?  Do you wear pajamas all day?

And all of the statements.  I could NEVER spend all day with my children.  My kids don't listen to me.  I can't believe you are with your kids THAT much and have not killed them yet.

I guess they don't know my kids are A++ 100%.

He was not always a lefty!!
They all slept in one room and used the other for their toys.

We rode bikes 4-5 times a week!

Jake and Chan not wearing clothes, Ben dressed in the body of a dragon.

We have been through numerous transformations.  We have been Castle Academy, Springhill Elementary, Castle Center for Independent Studies and Northfield Academy, though we mostly consider ourselves roamschoolers.
Though, looking back over these photos from our first 2 years, I think Shirtless Academy would have been more accurate!

This year, the kids are in 7th 9th and 11th using the public school grade level system.  Meaning I only have 5 more years of this before I have to find a new gig!

I have had such a nostalgic morning going through our photos from a decade and more ago.  Every photo I took from June 2000 to April of 2002 fit on one disc.  These days, I have to split single days onto several discs if we go anywhere special.  And my camera and skills are both improved.

I am looking forward to the additional changes, the kids finishing up at home and heading out on their chosen paths.  Whatever I will do after this phase is over, being married without kids at home-we had 3 by our third anniversary, I don't even know what we will do without kids around.

But before all of that, all of this.  The days with friends, more exploring, loads of reading, nights of marathon movies, trying many new things, learning every day.

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.