There has been much discussion of many first-time families beginning homeschooling. My wife and I homeschooled our three sons through 8th grade and two through 12th grade. Our youngest decided to go to a trade school for his high school years. We began in 1999 and finished in 2017. We homeschooled in two different states and several different school districts. So, we have a lot of experience. And still metric tons of homeschool supplies ;-)
The first principle we fixed our North Star to was to meet our children individually where they were. Beyond conveying love and respect to and for them, it was a reliable and valuable tool for us to keep steady when the inevitable difficult days or seasons came. And those days and seasons did come. We did not have the support of our family, who all thought we were out of our depth and could not fathom why would we even consider choosing this path? "It was not normal." We were pummeled with the word "socialization" until I had had enough and began responding with the reply "indoctrination." Various school districts were openly hostile and would not offer any services unless our child enrolled (we needed speech therapy for one child and help with reading for another we later found to be suffering from severe dyslexia). The schools had to first get that sweet government money per child enrolled.
Each of our children had wildly different needs and desires beyond academic ones. Our oldest was a gifted student and an amateur linguist, who we stopped teaching at age 16 when he attended the local community college full time. When he later went to university he received three semesters of credit for that prior work. He is our only child to go to university so far. He has a B.A. and contemplates going for a master's degree. He was an easy child to teach, and I remember our many rabbit hole adventures on learning quests with great fondness.
Our middle child did not have as smooth a road. Yale University misdiagnosed him at age 8 with autism. He was re-diagnosed correctly at age 20 with severe dyslexia. It is a great understatement to say this was a burden for him, and it provided a difficult roadblock for us all. It was not easy to homeschool him. Our first child required little hand-holding and was a self-starter. If we did not have a principle to meet each child where they were, this would have thrown us off track even further. We became very creative with him. As a result, we tried both co-ops and unschooling. Everything was difficult and required much time, patience, and love. I can remember teaching him to read, and he would shut his eyes tight and refuse to engage- for days, weeks, and months. Little wonder as the words were a jumbled mess to him. Everything this child, now a man of 21, has he has earned through hard work. It has been hard rock mining for him most of the way. He is finishing his last semester at the local and excellent Adult Education program, earning his high school diploma in December. That diploma has been his goal for the last few years. There were gaps in his education that were at first difficult for my wife and me to face, as we thought we had attended to it all. We did not. It was not out of negligence or a lack of good faith. We did not know about his dyslexia and the tools needed to help him effectively. I am still bitter about his misdiagnosis. He is grateful for the correct information. His easy disposition and good nature are remarkable to me. I am in awe of his grit and resilience.
Our youngest had relatively little interest in academics. He wanted to play with his friends, fix and build things, and play baseball. We had all the Legos in the world (I was almost killed on many occasions stumbling on one in the middle of the night ;-) and many models sets as well. He played baseball quite seriously, almost year-round and continuing through high school. He also played American Legion baseball, often in his favorite position as the catcher- though he also loved pitching. I clearly remember the day I told him I could no longer have a catch with him on his max speed. One reason I will not forget this day is it has been placed in his 'memory trophy case'. ;-) Baseball was a lifestyle for us. When he played for Legion in the summer, he often would have 50 plus games in 60 odd days- all over the region. I am grateful for the many memories of this journey that our child brought to us. He graduated from trade school at 18 with an emphasis on becoming a master electrician and has pursued this. He wants to have his own business and is currently apprenticing. He likely would have been tagged with ADHD if he was in the school system and pressured to medicate. Instead, he was able to have an academic experience crafted just for him, which paid him many dividends.
As our boys got a little older, Co-ops became important to us, especially for their social needs, and as a defense for that overemphasized word, often used as a cudgel by the ignorant, "socialization." We all enjoyed our time at these co-ops and felt they gave our kids many essential learning opportunities. Some were successful. Some were utter train wrecks.
Deb and I will be writing a column about homeschooling with some frequency. There are many different topics we will be writing about, some of which I touched upon here. I wrote this particular column, but Deb will take the helm too, or we will collaborate in the future. See you next time.
It’s taken us a bit to catch our breath from the effort it took to move ourselves from CT to AK! We have been here 3 months already and are settling nicely into an amazing next part of our lives!
Tuesday 9/7/21 3pm
I hope y’all are having a great day!
"And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town."
~ Matthew 10:14
"And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
~ Mark 6:11
"And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”
~ Luke 9:5
I had an opportunity to go for my usual neighborhood walk this morning. It hasn't been possible recently as early November brought the first snow (a few inches), sideways rain, wind (sustained 50+mph for a week) and ice. We have had a warm spell the last few days (mid 40s) so most of the ice is gone. (As an aside Deadman's Curve en route to the town of Kodiak has a whole new meaning when the roads are icy.) Anyways, so my walk this morning. Dressed in two layers, with my walking umbrella (more on that later) and my crampons (or ice cleats as they are called here) I was off. When I tried to walk up the ridge a few days ago I kept sliding down the road, but today traction was good. I walked past a neighbor on my way and his dog. We chatted briefly about the weather and I petted his dog. (Good doggo.) The trail was not too flooded or ice choked and I carefully picked my way along until I gained a little elevation and then it was fine. I watched the many bald and golden eagles as they hunted or ...
pic 1 - First snow of the season around Center Mountain. Taken at the fairgrounds.
pic 2 - Getting gravel for the upcoming ice under a landslide of Old Womans Mountain.
pic 3 - Cope Mountain late fall. Taken on a walk in our neighborhood.
Welcome to All Good Things.
We are Debbie-Lynn and micah6vs8. Our friends call us Deb and Sean. We have been a couple for over 31 years, have been married for 27 years, and have three children. We spent many years homeschooling them and focusing on our family. Now that our boys are young men, we find ourselves in a time of transition.
We have learned and shared much on our journey through life including, marriage/family issues, parenting, homeschooling, religion/spirituality, art (music, film, literature), history, current events (politics and culture), mental health/wellness, and travel.
And now we would like to bring you into the conversation. Welcome. We hope you find something of interest and can warm yourself by the fire.
All Good Things in All Good Time.