Over the years I’ve been hesitant to talk about the details of my homeschooling. All my friends kept schedules and worked through classroom-type curriculum, but I didn’t. My style of schooling never matched those around me, so I was a little intimidated and rarely had the guts to talk about what I did with my kids. But at home, everyone knew my philosophy was to “maintain the joy of childhood and the joy of learning.” I believed they should have the freedom to pursue their interests and be self-motivated learners. Now, after 13 years and the graduation of my oldest, I’m ready to tell my story. In the eyes of the education establishment, he’s a huge success: a National Merit Scholar with a full ride to the University of Chicago. But more than that, he’s a happy, confident, sociable young man, and we both believe his homeschooling experience had a lot to do with it.
My other two children are girls. The youngest will be a freshman this year and wants to try public school. She’s quite the athlete, and wants to get into high school sports. Our middle child will be a junior and only wants to take choir at the high school. She’s active in Community Theater and may pursue Music Theater in college.
Schooling is a journey. There are no guarantees, only a deep love for our children and a desire to see them grow into who they will become. As we fumble our way down this path, it’s nice to hear from others who are a little further ahead. I know I would have liked that when my kids were younger. I hope I can do that for you.
Jena began homeschooling in 1994. Her three children are now teenagers; one is graduated and attends the University of Chicago, the next one is 16 and pursues life without school in the arts, and the youngest is a freshman, trying out public school for the first time. In 2005 they bought a 7000 square foot church building and converted it into their home. You can read more about her adventures at her blog, yarns of the heart.