For the record, the Ontario teacher’s “pause” and job action actually had no part in my decision.
My mind had been heading towards this (admittedly dramatic!) plan for some time.
In September 2013, I’ll take my eldest son out of our local public school (where he’s currently in Grade One) and, instead, he’ll be attending a soon-to-be-created, “school at home.”
What I’m envisioning is slightly different than just straight home-schooling. I won’t be doing all (or hopefully any!) of the teaching but, instead, curating a curriculum based on a mix of tutors, classes and programs as well as online options. I’m also looking for two or three other kids between six and eight years old interested in joining this year-long adventure.
Whenever I’ve mentioned this idea, the first question I get is, of course, why?
Why would a mother of three, with an admittedly flexible but full-time career take on what is sure to be a consuming and exhausting endeavor — particularly when we are lucky to live in neighborhood with a good public school and our son doesn’t have any special needs.
I wish I had an easy answer, for this very basic question, but I don’t.
The closest explanation I have, is that I want a push or a practical reason to start to systematically sort out all the conflicting theories and views around education, child development, lifelong learning and success. Why are we doing the things we are and what are the implications of these choices?
So does this mean I should be sourcing extra work for my son, or be OK with the fact that he just wants to build Star Wars Lego all evening? And is it naïve to think that a decision at this stage and age has a long-term impact?
With this “school at home” I’ll be forcing myself to critically consider educational philosophies, theories and innovations with a practical application and looming deadline (just eight months to do this!).
Along the way, I hope to answer the question of what it is that I want to ideally cultivate in my son’s education (along with the basics, of course). Is it creativity, emotional resilience, a love of learning or perhaps, even more importantly, a sense of ownership in the whole experience?
I also want to get to the root of the increasing anxiety that parents (and I include myself in this) seem to have about their children’s education, what it is exactly that we’re so worried about?
I’m just getting started on this venture and I’ll be sharing the process, my research, the programs I find and how my framework and philosophy evolves in this weekly blog as well as on my website, The School Project.
I’ll also be sharing my budget and helpful tips and insights that I hope will be useful to all parents — regardless of their child’s educational arrangement.
I’m also very much hoping that you can help me.
I’m actively looking for leads, ideas, resources and to learn from other people’s experiences in the classroom, in extracurricular programs, as home-schoolers, in private schools you name it, — I probably want to hear about it.
So please get in touch! I’ll be reading and responding to all comments but you can also reach me directly on Twitter.