I read a post today that covered a family's typical day and they started school at ELEVEN and did not get finished until FOUR. OMG. With a 2-hour lunch. In the comments, people said, "I feel SO much less guilty after reading this! Yay!" They all cheered themselves and each other for being SO radical and atypical.
Okay, here's the thing. Homeschooling is flexible. It can fit around your life and your schedule if you let it. People who do school because it's between 8 and 3 on a public school day are missing a LOT of life and tons of opportunities. There should never be any guilt about doing your own thing and taking care of your own family on your own schedule. The learning happens, it really, really does. And it may not be from a textbook with a bullet list of touch points and a script for what to say. It may be from watching a movie or talking with another family or trying out a new game or staring at the ceiling and thinking something through while your three favorite songs repeat for 2 solid hours. Not many things learned under the age of 20 require oversight. It just requires exposure and interest-and certainly NOT a time table!! "Gotta do" is the killer of enthusiasm for all things needing done.
The kids have recently (starting Christmas Eve) gotten into what I am calling a Khanathon. They have opted to go back to 1+1 and achieve mastery as high as they can go. They are all in 4th or 5th grade level stuff right now, but I think going back to the start and racing through is serving two purposes. One, of course, is so the kid who can eventually get further ahead can claim Math King and forever be smarter than the other two. Don't act like that's a surprise, even siblings who would remove their own spleen with a butter knife if the other sibling really needed it will compete and gloat. The second thing is when you review and redo-even things you KNOW you KNOW, you pick up something along the way. A better understanding, a new skill, a shortcut or a different way to do it that makes it make more sense to your own brain.
Jake is 18, he is set graduate in May. I recently worked on completing his transcripts and we were talking yesterday. If he finishes Chemistry and takes a foreign language, he can have an academic (college entry) diploma and not a general education diploma. To do that, he won't be able to graduate until December of this year-I can do a lot of things, but fudging what they have learned is not one of them. He jumped at the idea, 6 more months of homeschooling sounded like a great idea, yes, let's go for the academic diploma. Even if it means he would be in 13th grade.
I thought about this a while last night after everyone was in bed. (When I do all of my thinking.) He is in no hurry to get his license-we have no car for him to drive anyway. He's agreed to not get a job until after he graduates high school. He's now wanting to prolong his studies for a more advanced diploma knowing that no homeschool is accredited, I might as well print out Daffy Duck High Class Valedictorian-no matter what that diploma says, colleges are only going to look at his test scores. If he even goes to college-he's been talking K-9 Police Academy or Culinary Arts.
It occurred to me-he's the class of 2014. Jake. He has no one else graduating with him. He's the oldest in our group. He has no one's experience to draw from. Now, more than any other time in his life, he is in charge of what comes next. And he's just not ready for what comes next. And, Matt and I agree, neither of us wants to tell him, "Quit working on learning new stuff and go start working for minimum wage because you are 18 and It's Time." Again, it all comes back to the fact that you can't live to a timetable and if what you are doing is working, keep going, quit comparing. Live, learn, love, enjoy yourselves. This is it-this is a day you have together and for every one of them that passes the ones yet to come dwindle in supply. Spend it how you choose, not how you 'should'.