Home schooling remains one of the highlights of my life marking over 30 years of time spent.
But these days it’s just rear view mirror images of days gone by and seasons past.
Having traveled more than half of my life down this road I have hit the pot holes,
taken the wrong turns and got the flat tires.
I’ve also led my family on adventures, cranking the radio and singing really, really loud.
Advice I would give to first time drivers, those who are learning to accelerate or those who are in the
which-way-do-I-go home schooling season is fairly simple…..
Pick the car that fits your states rules and get in.
Learn what the home schooling requirements are for your area and abide by them.
That is the car you are in.
Buckle your seat belt so you don’t bounce out when the going gets rough, cause the going will get rough.
This seat buckle will keep you within the laws of your state which is a safeguard for you.
Some home schoolers choose to buck the system and disobey the states requirements.
That’s their prerogative. I didn’t drive that way.
I met the requirements, on time, every time.
I submitted the paperwork.
I did the evals and testing.
I didn’t agree with everything. But that wasn’t the point.
I wanted to be known as a compliant, non combative home schooler.
It worked well for me.
I drove below the radar.
I never had any trouble with the school districts personal, home school administrators, paper work, etc…
I was gracious when I spoke with them on the phone or via letter or email…even if they were not so sweet to me.
I have never regretted this decision.
I drove the car of my state and I buckled.
Then I took the country roads.
Once in the car of my state and everyone was buckled
I drove the roads I wanted to at the speed I enjoyed.
I always knew where I wanted to end up on the final day of any school year and I headed that way.
Yet, I stopped often, wasn’t afraid of U-Turns, veered off the path and drove all year long.
I didn’t have to drive very far on the home school road to know that schooling worked better for us
when we did not stop the car completely for 3 months straight.
Seems the car parts got rusty and locked up if we did that.
So we home schooled year round.
This was a smarty idea because inevitably flu season would roll around
and crash our car for a few weeks.
The year round driving schedule gave us the wiggle room to make it work…
even when we didn’t work.
I drove my home schooling car year by year.
That way we allowed for tune ups, adjustments, and maybe even getting a new car!
I found that every single year we drove differently
because family dimensions changed so much within that time frame.
Finances changed, health changes, new babies, potty training, unexpected needs, learning disabilities, etc….
We always stopped to read our road map at the end of every year, assess our unique situations,
see how much gas we had left in the tank, and then we would figure it out from there.
We stayed in our states car.
We kept our seat belts buckled so we wouldn’t fall out.
But we made the adjustments our way, in our time, for our best.
We were not bound to curriculum, married to workbooks, and we never made any blood pacts with IHIPS.
With so many people in our car we chose only activities that worked for the whole family.
That is how we drove.
Mom’s chronic illnesses and lots of kids made it impossible to drive any other way.
No individual sports teams, classes or activities.
Either their was a place for everyone in the same space at the same time
or it was out of the realm of our journeys possibility.
We simply didn’t travel down that road.
I believe this is one reason my kids still today, over 30 years later,
continue to be each others best friends.
Also, we chose to never have a T.V., VCR, DVD player in our car.
For at least 25 years we were a fam-bam that went without that “luxury.”
Since sitting in front of something for entertainment was not an option
my kiddos were all forced to create their own fun.
And they did.
My home schooling car was always full of art supplies, instruments,
movie cameras and props,
and laundry baskets full of books.
We drove weekly to our local library, toting laundry baskets full of books to exchange for new ones.
And when we could we car pooled.
We hopped into someone elses home schooling car or they hopped into ours.
I have the fondest memories of years of home school co-ops full of multi-age kiddos,
with the best and greatest home schooling moms all driving their cars, their way,
pulling into the parking lot to rally together.
Then there were the family-to-family special interest classes, mini seminars,
or once-a-week get togethers.
And since we were all driving the same way we could do that, anytime we wanted!
I wasn’t a perfect driver. Some days not even very good.
There were times when we kept the car parked in the garage never going anywhere.
And there were lots of times when I sat behind the wheel alone crying my head off
because I had no idea how to fix our car that had stalled along side the road.
These days I sit in my driveway in my car alone and smile.
I gaze into the rear view mirror and remember.
And sometimes, by myself, I crank the radio up and sing real, real loud.