Monday, March 29, 2010

Cutting the cord

LemurBoy is enrolled in a public Independent Study school. Each week he meets with a teacher for an hour, goes to optional workshops for 3 hours, and we provide a weekly summary of his educational activities, which are supposed to total 20 hours a week, but they take our word for it.

For most of the past year and a half since he started school, this has worked well. I've felt that it provides a level of accountability that I need. This year, I developed a weekly schedule, and that was really helpful.

Then Big Important Life Events happened, and, for the past month or so, things have kind of fallen apart. In fact, aside from a twinge of guilt, I lost all interest in homeschooling whatsoever. We devolved to "videoschooling", though I can't even really say that, as I haven't managed to get to the library to restock our supply of documentaries. Radical unschooling, let's say.

This made it a little hard to fill out our weekly reports.

The teacher is accommodating. I write down everything I can classify as educational, she gives us partial credit (3 out of 5 days, or something like that). We're getting back on track now - I'm back to reading homeschool blogs and message boards, which I'd been totally ignoring, in addition to getting back to work with LB. I'm hoping to make up a few days by working through LemurBoy's "Spring Break" next week in hopes of avoiding falling afoul of truancy laws.

But it seems that this is where I start to really resent the independent study program. Part of the benefit of homeschooling is flexibility. With the ability to work outside the normal school year, it shouldn't matter if we end up taking an unscheduled break in the middle of the year.

We're moving soon to a state that doesn't appear to have attractive independent study programs or charter school options, so we'll be homeschooling independently, with the only requirement being that we file a notice of our intent to homeschool at the beginning of the year. The lack of accountability is a little scary, because I'm not always the best at follow-through. But we have a system that works well enough for us now (when not dealing with crisis, anyways), and I think we'll manage.

In other news, today we went to an educational materials giveaway. The state gets curriculum samples for review, and gives away what they can't use in classrooms to the general public. It was a bit of a madhouse. It started at 12, we got there at 12:05, and much of the good stuff (apparently some people got microscopes!?!?!) had already left. By the time we left at 1:00, the inventory had been reduced by about 3/4.

We contributed to that, of course. I have no idea where we're going to store all this stuff. I didn't manage to find Singapore Math as I had hoped, but we still got quite a bit. To my surprise, DaLemur went crazier than I did. I'm not crazy about most public school materials. Still, I found some Saxon math, an ancient history book that should fill the hole left by the necessity of the return of our borrowed copy of Story Of The World (too late in the year for me to really want to buy a new copy, though I suppose it would be an investment for upcoming years, too), science materials, and some other useful stuff.

It's a two day event, and they're setting out more stuff tomorrow, so we may go again. Early this time!