October was our first full month of forest school. [Two days a week my little attends a forest school program for homeschoolers].
Homeschool October| Reflection: Homeschool Is For Us!
It was glorious. My little marches into the forest, pack on, bounding out of the car. As I write this, he shouts “I love forest school” from the bath. Right before I sat down to write this post he asked me if he can always go to forest school, and last night I explained to his grandma how I would be home schooling for the next years [my plan is actually the foreseeable future]. However, I am open to taking things steps at a time and I know that even this idea of two more years not in the school system is a shock to my extended family who were raised in British East Africa.
The more I reflect on my own experiences of racism in the school system, reading Wild + Free, reflecting on the Black Lives Matter Movement, reading about indigenous experiences and ways of being [Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kilmer is my starting point] , and talking with other moms who reminded about the point of the school system – I cannot justify sending my own flesh and blood to such an institution [Waldorf or not].
One of the best perspective shifting videos is Schooling: The White Man’s Last Burden : The title says a lot. It is free on the site, so you should check it out.
Let me know what you think! I might write a post on learnings from it one day.
Homeschooling October: Reflection 2| There is No Race
I have been keeping my promise to myself to take things slow, at the pace that I can handle with working from home. Some nights I don’t have enough time to prep a story for main lesson and since I am making up my own stories this is challenging [especially for the Form Drawing block].
So somedays I just do the movement and form drawing part of main lesson. This is partly because I don’t have a story to bring and also because we may not have the full hour that I need. I grab what little time I have during my full work days and his forest school days. I like to leave time after 3 to prioritize play with friends [while the weather is good and friends are still out to play with].
If I consider where he is academically [meaning math and language arts] and what is meant to be covered by the end of grade 1 – compared to what he has already taught himself I don’t have to worry.
However, more than that I am learning to let go. There is no grand test – and aside from being literate there is no other measure the school system has that really matters.
Homeschool October | Reflection 3| What is worth measuring?
My measure is joy, resilience, competency, emotional intelligence, kindness. This is what I think matters to me. Can I measure it? Not in a traditional sense. Can I feel it?
Joy! – He has been pure joy since he started forest school, bouncing to the car and declaring “love forest school.”
Resilience – Just his ability to stay out in the cold, wet and rain – for 7 hours. Something I am not able to do as adult nor experienced as a child.
Competency – My kid can cook – on his own – including the stove. He can make chapattis, wash rice and cook rice, cook pasta – today he made a bean sauce to go with our potato fries. If that is not competency I am not sure what is.
Emotional Intelligence – he is beginning to realize that he is not the only person in the world and often asks about my preferences. I am sure this is partly a developmental shift rather than anything particular about his learning environment.
Kindness – This is something that needs work. For the first time I have seen him involved in actively excluding a child, and my conversations with him to encourage him to be more inclusive have not really worked. I probably need to read more about how to encourage this at this developmental stage.
Homeschool Reflection 4| The Community Needs to Be Built
Part of being a homeschooler means that my Son’s learning community is not guaranteed from year to year. In the traditional school setting you have the same brick and mortar buildings, some of the same peer group and possibly the same subject teachers year over year.
In the homeschooling community I feel there is more transience as people make choices and reevaluate homeschooling more frequently. Or they re-choose the communities that they are going to be apart of.
I might be luckier in that the forest school system has some structure and relatively low fees so people might be less transient.
Anyways building community is always hard; especially in a city. So that is something I have to give more thought to. How to build community and how responsible I want to be to that outcome.
Homeschool Reflection 5| This Is A Choice
I am lucky to be able to homeschool my child. However, it means putting my child’s education and upbringing before my:
- Purchasing a house
- Health Benefits
It means negotiating, constantly, between meeting my own needs, my adult time, my work time and my child.