Thursday, October 31, 2013

Picking Up Where We Left Off

It's Halloween, 2013.  My kiddo is fourteen and almost able to look me eye-to-eye.  Teenagers grow in odd and scary ways!  Kind of like our Great Dane puppy who is now two years old.  His growth could be measured daily, something to be seen to be believed.  He just recently seems to be able to exert control over his body; his brain understands now how to move appendages in synchrony with one another.  When in a narrow hallway with a Great Dane, move deftly to one side and hug the wall, especially if you suspect he is cavorting behind you.  DANGER.  We have survived twenty four months with this dog without any head injuries, thank goodness.  He's pretty awesome.

Cobus grew up!
I stopped blogging about being high on homeschooling because Max spent his seventh grade year with his best friend at a charter school.  It was a genuinely good year for all parties involved.  The teachers were outdoor enthusiasts and got the kids out a lot, into nature.  For one whole week in May they toured through the southern part of our state while tent camping.  He endured playing a stringed instrument, tolerated math homework and thoroughly enjoyed his friendships.  During the summer he took juggling lessons, an improv class, read book after book and lost himself in Minecraft.  Hours were dedicated to tackling its intricacies.  Did you know that Sweden uses Minecraft as part of its national curriculum?  You can learn more at

I used the time while he was at school to work on my photography business, raise a baby parrot and scoop Great Dane poo.  Household materials got pared down, closets got cleaned out and a kitchen got remodeled. I also became a fan of following a plant-based diet and discovered an underlying desire to spend time in the kitchen chopping vegetables.  All the while, though, I wondered what we would do for eighth grade.  The benefits and beauty of homeschooling become rather glaring when one isn't partaking of them.

Ziggy, the female Green Cheek Conure
A few weeks into this 2013-2014 school year Max began to petition to stay home.  He wrote a persuasive essay.  He began to research curriculum that he could do at his own pace.  He growled at his cello and plastered sad on his face.  The hours between homework and bed every day felt like fleeting wisps of light, like he had best get what was required of him out of the way so he could move on to the things he wanted to learn about if there was any energy left to be had.  There wasn't much time to hunker down into a good book of his choosing or research how to build a computer.  Go to sleep, get up, repeat process and sink deeper into a funk.  Two weeks ago, with my husband's support, I filled out the paperwork and pulled him from school.

We are learning at home again.

It's likely he won't set foot in another school building long term until such time he deems college a path to step out on.

I prefer to say that he is on an independent learning adventure of a sort to be determined (that's the line held in reserve for the occasional person at the grocery store who wonders aloud why that young man isn't in school where he should be; I will leave the "to be determined" part out of those interactions.  Heck, maybe I'll choose not to interact at all.)  It will take awhile to figure out where he wants to go, what he wants to do.  We are wandering into UNSCHOOLING territory with its heavily prescribed doses of freedom to breathe and be; my job is to remain calm and keep feeding everyone kale.

It feels like good timing to begin blogging again.  I hope you will have us back as we pick up where we left off.

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