Homeschooling and new paths

A quick note about last week’s book giveaway.  The winner is commenter #24, the mysterious ‘S’, who is a longtime reader. 🙂  Congrats!  Email me your address and I will get your book headed your way.

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Always at this time of year, my thoughts turn toward school again.  This year if I’m figuring it right, we’ve hit the 20 year mark as a homeschooling family.  We haven’t exclusively homeschooled:  our oldest daughter went to private school for her first two years, two others had several years of public school in Ethiopia before they joined our family, and most of the teens have done a bit of college while still homeschooling.  But when I did the math for  two decades of teaching 10 kids, I came up with something like 97 total years of homeschooling.  Crazy, right?

how school looks for us this yearAll along we’ve done our best to tailor each child’s education to his or her needs. Well, this year we’re taking a brand new path for two of our seniors.

Josh and Ben have for several years been asking to go to public school.  For years we’ve chosen to stick with homeschooling, adding college classes into the mix the last 2 years to liven things up a bit.  But still they’ve been longing for the whole high school experience.  So after lots of prayer and lots of discussion John and I decided to let them try public school for at least a semester, and if all goes well, for all of senior year.

Whew, it was a hard decision for this momma. Homeschooling has overall been an excellent path for our family. It has grown the boys well too, both in their faith and in academics, enough that we’ve been talking for awhile about letting them graduate early.  Sure, they have maturing still to do; no kid has everything figured out at 17.  But John and I ended up deciding to hear their wishes, trust their common sense, and let them have this adventure.

I suspect that sitting in classrooms hour after hour it will be more boring than they’re imagining.  But there will also be new and different opportunities.  Josh is interested in Spanish 3, and in some of the music offerings at the school. Ben would love to learn welding and auto repair, among other things. So we’re sending them off.

Josh starts school the day the girls and I leave for Ethiopia, and Ben starts just a few days later.  We are praying this ends up being a blessing and a positive experience for them. Zeytuna (last I chatted with her) was still steadfastly insisting she prefers to stay at home for her senior year. I’ll also have Emily (grade 8) and Julianna (grade 5) still.

SchoolSo our home school tradition this year will continue with three students, just as we had our very first year of school so many years ago, when all the kids were little. We’ll also be starting a little later than usual, in mid-September, since the first two weeks of the school year will be taken up by our big trip to Ethiopia.

Life is just full of adventures!  I’ll keep you posted as to how all these adventures go.  Meanwhile, it’s back to packing for Ethiopia, and getting the boys registered for school.  If my to-do list is any indicator, both these events take lots of doing!

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Speaking of new adventures, if you’d like an occasional ‘insider’ update from the Owlhaven, just enter your email address in the right-hand sidebar above, and click the ‘subscribe’ button.  Once every month or two, I’ll be sharing just a few extra newsy highlights from our life– fun things that won’t necessarily all make it to my blog.  I’d love it if you’d join me there!

And if you’d like to read my best homeschooling tips from two decades of homeschooling, check out my latest book Practical Homeschooling for Real-World Families, available on Kindle.

{ 4 Comments }

  1. I know you are super busy but I have an 8th 5th and 2 4th graders this year…I would love to see your plan for them!!! I did buy your homeschool book…just would love to see if your plan has Changed;)

  2. why are the boys starting on different days if they are both seniors?

    • We are pretty much equidistant between two high schools. Ben is going to the school within our official district and Josh got permission to go to the other school, which had extracurricular offerings that were interesting to him. 🙂

  3. Thank you Mary – the book arrived – thanks again! Loved hearing the changes in your schooling approach. No idea how you keep track of all the various schedules but wish your family the best of luck in the new school year!