Monday, August 15, 2011

Looking ahead

It's the time of year we normally start planning our upcoming unschooling. We've found Learning Plans to be a useful tool in our lives. This year Sophie's learning plan process started in July, and it looked very different from usual.

"I want to go to school," she said.

She wants to be more tangibly productive. She wants to have a busy life outside our home. She finds a gap between her learning ambitions and her day-to-day productivity. She's interested in more social opportunities, more structure to her learning and more outside accountability.

We know the guidance counsellor at the local public school, who also happens to be the administrator of the DL program our homeschooling has been umbrellad under. She's a friend, a member of the local arts community, a fellow local volunteer and a long-time fan of my children for reasons that remain at least partly mysterious and wondrous to me. We met her for coffee at our favourite café in the middle of summer vacation to talk about the possibilities. We all came away from the meeting feeling good about things.

Because the school is so small, most of the classes are multi-grade, with the Grade 8's combined with the 9's and sometimes the 10's as well. This works well for a 12-year-old who is all over the map in terms of academic level. She'll be new to "writing to task" and timed tests and powerpoints and group projects. She'll probably appreciate having some easier classes mixed in with some that are more at her level. She'll enjoy the field trips, and the exposure to other people's expectations.

She'll also appreciate the flexibility to be able to travel to Nelson for choir, and to nip out for violin lessons, and to take certain blocks of time off for practicing or family travel. And I know she'll benefit from knowing that schooling is a choice for her, something she does because it's giving her something she wants. If that ever changes she knows she'll be welcome to return to homeschooling, or to scale back her involvement in the school. (Once she's registered in Grade 10 part-time attendance officially comes onto the table as a possibility.)

And so a new adventure begins. My first full-time school student sallies forth in three weeks.

5 comments:

  1. Very exciting! I'll look forward to hearing how it goes. But so far, it sounds very promising.

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  2. Wow, so many changes in your home lately! Best of luck to Sophie :)

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  3. Wow, I'm starting to think this is the year for homeschoolers to try their hand at school. You are now the 4th family I know with at least one child going off to school. Teagan is so excited about going to school (gr. 3) and recently even the boys are looking forward to starting the online courses they will be doing this year.

    Looking forward to hear how it goes for Sophie.

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  4. I've been a lurker to your blog forever it seems. I love reading about your journey and look forward to reading about how this new adventure goes. We're a homeschooling family in the US who've decided to blog and have a website with the idea of being able to look back at how far we've travelled. I was wondering if it would be alright to put a link to yoru blog on our site as one of the blogs we love to visit. I'm so new to this netiquette thing that I've actually already done it. Yikes! If it is not ok please let me know. http://www.appalachianlearningacademy.com/

    Love your blog.

    NJohnson

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  5. I, too, have been lurking here for a few months. We have been homeschooling for 2 years, the past 8 months with SelfDesign. It is through SD that I discovered your blog, and it has helped me find the confidence to move towards unschooling from a more formal start as a homeschooling family.

    Reading that you are sending your daughter back to school brought up some of those nagging fears that I might just possibly be doing the wrong thing for my own children... BUT then I realized that the relationship you have with your district is not possible where we live. I am very envious of the flexibility shown by your school board. Where we live you are either in or you are out, and you play by the district's rules, no exceptions. If only more schools and school districts could follow the progressive example set by your "bricks and mortar" school....

    I look forward to reading about how your daughter enjoys the experience.... Good luck to her!

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