While our children were younger at the time we saw the film (4, 6 and 9), we could not help but fast forward a few years and imagine how our own would ultimately fare in this system. Especially our oldest who struggles with anxiety in general and needs down time to unwind after school. He had already come to the point where he said he hated school and he hated learning. He also claimed to hate history and writing. This broke my heart.
I have to interject at this point to say that we really loved our school. At the time of the writing of this post, our oldest just completed his fifth year there! It provides a solid and interesting education for the kids. The community of friends we made there is an important part of our lives. The end of that school year was so sad. We are not homeschooling because of any negative experience at school. We are homeschooling to experiment with a different educational experience for our children. If homeschooling does not work out for any reason, we hope to return to this wonderful school! O.k., back to the story...
A week or so after we had seen Race to Nowhere, a friend posted this video on her Facebook wall. I was fascinated. Sir Ken's words so resonated with me and the thoughts still tumbling around in my mind from Race to Nowhere. I watched every YouTube video of him I could find and started reading his book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. In a nutshell, Sir Ken's passion is helping others find and develop their own passion and he critiques our educational system for being antiquated and squelching creativity.
With all this swirling around in my mind, I contacted the fifth grade teachers at our school, the grade our oldest would be in the following year, and asked about the workload we should expect for next year. Our oldest is very bright and always did very well in school, but after talking with the teachers I knew the homework and testing load for the next year would overwhelm him and eat up the free time he needs.
My husband and I resuscitated an option we had considered and decided against twice before- homeschooling. We laid out our goals for our children's education and childhood and determined that we wanted their education to be engaging and interesting, inspiring inquisitiveness and a love of learning. We want them to have time to explore their interests, develop their creativity and discover their unique giftings and callings from God. Homeschooling seemed like a viable option to meet these educational goals for our children.
As I mentioned, we've been down this road before so I knew just who to go to for advice and encouragement. (Thank you Jen, Andrea, Layla, Deirdre and Dorothy!) God has been so faithful to guide us in this process. He has opened so many doors- a few that completely shocked me- and by early 2011, we were finally ready to take the final step through in faith. We started by homeschooling our two boys while our daughter went off to Kindergarten at our wonderful school. It's been a wonderful year and we plan to bring our daughter home for the 2012-2013 school year!
We'd love to have you follow along on Our Great Homeschool Experiement!