In spite of it being the very middle of summer my mind is thinking about education. I define our family's "school" year, to the state, as September - August so I'm getting ready for our year end portfolio reviews next month.
A very low key one-on-one meeting with another homeschool mom, who also happens to be a certified teacher. She'll check over samples of Celine and Laurent's work and "oh" and "ah" at all their art, scribbles and projects and then assure the state that the kids have made "improvements".
Simple as that.
No tests and no "at grade level" assessment crap. Ok, that's a strong word for me but I hate grade level assessments. What are they supposed to mean?? Who says a grade two kid should know a, b or c? What if my child wants to know X, K & F? Maine doesn't require anything of this c**p and I love that.
So, what are my kids learning these days? Our youngest two, in addition to their marble painting, critter catches (this time of year there is always caterpillars, chrysalis' and cocoons in jars around our house) and catapult launches (small dangerous objects flying around Laurent's room) are delving into math, for fun. "Can you print more math sheets for so I can take them to bed with me?" Mind you, our 5 year old has to work with our 7 year old so she can read the numbers for him but he's picking up very fast.
Picture it: two pipsqueaks snuggling in bed together, giggling, while they do math "problems", and complaining when it's lights-out time.
What about our 9 year old? Anyone else wondering if this girl of mine does anything besides sew? No worries, she's quite well rounded. She also spends time scouring craft blogs for her next sewing project and thoroughly exhausting every book we own on doll/stuffie making. I agree, she's destined for Etsy.
Other than that she reads, a lot. Especially fantasy, and she's currently interested in fictional stories about, you guessed it... dolls. Oh, and she's devouring all the fictional prequels and sequels to the Little House Series. As I write this she's re-reading her favorite Tin-Tin comics, go figure.
But what about, you know, her schooling? Funny, we think her interests are her schooling. It's what she is highly motivated to pursue (right now) and she is excelling. I can see the report card now: A in Doll Making.
Ah, but what about the stuff she needs to know?
If you're thinking traditional school subjects we sometimes do those too. In the fall the "my kids should really learn _______(fill in blank)" mood will strike around the same time I notice yellow school buses driving down my street. And during this time of harvest moon we'll return to a somewhat regular practice of math, spelling and handwriting. But I certainly don't consider those the sum or even the foundation of Celine's education.
I'll be honest, Celine is not as interested, as I wish she were, in pursuing some skills that I personally really value, like putting thoughts to paper or computer. But come to think of it, neither is her father. But man that girl can design, envision and sew like nobody's business and she will soon, if she hasn't already, surpass my own skill in that area. Not to mention she has an incredible vocabulary and understanding of language.
Just the other day she was "having fun" (her words) with homophones. But when it comes right down to it, who's to say learning to spell, read or write is more important than learning to sew??
Celine's childhood, all three kiddos in fact, is not about acquiring school subject knowledge. It's about the freedom to learn, grow, explore, experience, play, create, fail and succeed in the safety of a family's unconditional love and support. That's what I call an education.