Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Homeschooling -- Can I do it?

Barring any earth-shattering events this summer, my daughter will not be returning to school in the fall. I'll refrain from elaborating on the circumstances that prompted this decision; suffice it to say that my husband and I believe this to be best for our daughter emotionally, mentally and academically. We remain ardent supporters of public schools -- and our son will continue in public high school -- but have recognized that our daughter needs a different environment at this time in her life. We are fortunate to be able to provide it for her.

I'm currently feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of directing the education of a rising 7th grader. I've been researching this for most of the past two months and wonder if I'm up to the task. There are so many options, so many resources, so many possible directions and approaches. I need a home school fairy godmother!

We'll actually start some form of home school this summer, on a limited trial basis. I want to see if I can rekindle my daughter's natural curiosity and channel that to learning, and I also want to make sure she will cooperate with me as the "teacher", or more appropriately, the educational facilitator. But summer is much too gorgeous and short in northern Michigan for us to spend any of it bothering with an online math course, so I'm keeping it light.

Her assignment for the summer will be to read 6 books (2/month average): three of my choosing and three of hers. I told her she can choose shorter books, but they need to be somewhat age appropriate. No counting books, haha.

The three I've selected for her are Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, for an engaging and accessible survey of science; Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' Reindeer Moon, because its heroine is a teenage paleolithic girl who hangs out with lots of animals; and Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, because, well, it's Rushdie!

Now I just need to somehow make the days stretch to about 50 hours instead of 24 so I can figure out what we'll be doing come September. Comments and advice welcome, if anyone reads this.

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