Sooner or later, everything old is new again. ~ Stephen King, The Colorado Kid
It's true! And here we are. So much old is behind us and there is so much new to tell about. The blog is back and for the moment I don't think I'm going to get rid of a single moment of the old. Right? Cause really I'm all about treasuring the old and continuing to learn from it.
But I reserve the right to change my mind about it!
For now this is where we are: Homeschooling. Seriously. I have five children. Three are out of the home. I have GRANDCHILDREN. I'm wide open on facebook - stalk away. Follow me as Laura Towns Spradlin on Facebook. Or better yet send me a real friend request if we aren't already acquainted. I will love getting to know you better there!!
We have two children still in the home, my two youngest daughters, Emeline and Lila. They were born on this blog. They grew up on the blog. They unstuffed the couch cushions on this blog. They are now 12 and 13 years old. My first blog post was when Emeline was about six months old in January 2005 and I wasn't expecting Lila Pearl yet. I was newly married to my husband Jeff, went through custody tragedy with my three older children, moved from Texas to Kansas, improved my knitting skill, learned to dye yarn, learned to spin yarn! Opened a yarn shop! And somewhere in there made a lot of blog friends that migrated with me from the blog to FaceBook. And the blog fell quiet. My last post was in August 2012. Over five years ago.
Fast forward to right now.... Homeschool. Emeline and Lila Pearl were handled just like my older children and sent to public school at the proper age. What a relief to be free to do as I wished with my time and let someone else do the hard stuff. They started school during the season when I had a yarn shop in town. That didn't last too long. Soon after closing the shop I began working at the Economic Development office in our community. What an adventure that was! So much to learn about how things operate and what makes a difference in the economy of a community. I enjoyed soaking in the learning that happened there but felt the tug to get back to my home, which had really suffered for several years through owning the shop, working part time, and doing a lot of volunteering at our church. Nobody was at home taking care of things, literally. It was during that time we decided to take Emeline and Lila out of public school and to a very small private Christian school. We were feeling uneasy about things happening around them and to them at public school despite our love for the teachers. The small Christian private school was perfect and they were overjoyed with the teacher, environment, and other students (so few other students!). Over the next 1 1/2 years they thrived academically and socially at the private school. Until the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. Something flipped a switch with them, and I dare say it was probably puberty. They were still doing fine academically but socially they were both more than a little depressed, the school was growing a bit and the structure had changed. They were just not finding and feeling the joy there that they had when they first started. It was time for another change, and their emotional state was a bit fragile. We made a rather hurried decision to homeschool. My husband Jeff (their daddy) was a bit hesitant but honestly from the moment I breathed the words "home school" there was no turning back with the girls.
Emeline had begged me to homeschool her since early elementary school. I never felt like I could. I didn't know what kind of education I needed. I had several friends tell me "of course you can" but they never really showed me how it worked. I had no concept of "curriculum". Like I thought they just made things up to teach their children? I HAD NO IDEA. But the private school had used Abeka homeschool curriculum. With no preparation, no research, no planning before bringing them into the home, we decided to continue with that curriculum because it was what the girls were familiar with. It was very expensive. It was quite complicated, though I did get the structure figured out with quite a bit of effort. I spent quite a lot of time every day getting their lesson plans ready for the next day, correcting their daily work, wash, rinse, repeat. We were committed to a four-day school week with a break on Fridays - like a serious BREAK. They bounced into the academics quite easily but I was quite overwhelmed by the new requirements. This was supposed to be easy - give them the work, they watch a video, I check their work, they virtually teach their self. Right? Sure. In a perfect world.
Soon Lila was shutting down by lunch and couldn't pull herself together to do any more lessons after lunch. Emeline was motivated to get to her work in the morning, rush through - check the boxes but didn't do the work she didn't WANT to do, and go get on her computer to watch Netflix. This wasn't working well at all and they were doing separate work so it was 2x everything for me. I couldn't even dive in and teach them the subjects they weren't doing on their own. I was keeping up with the math subjects but history and science were the trouble spots. Anything that required much reading was pointless. They weren't having it. They were burned out on all of it. They were sick of the video classes and the teachers that spoke a mile a minute plus the nearly robotically perfect classes full of students spouting fast answers and responses to teacher prompted questions. Sick of memorizing stuff from flashcards so they could take a test. Sick of spelling lists. Sick of vocabulary definitions. And honestly so was I.
So we stopped. All of it. And I began researching. Staying up late at night. Listening to YouTube videos. Scouring web sites. Looking for curriculum reviews. Learning about new, old, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, eclectic schooling, KONOS, Montessori, Waldorf, Classical Conversations, Unit Studies, and more. My thoughts and ideas of what school and learning should look like began to shift.
That's enough to chew on for now. Tomorrow I'll tell what we began shifting to. For now, thank you. Thank you for reading. Tell me what can make it better. I look forward to the next post!