Truth Time: School or homeschooling?

It has been a year of transitions here. All three of my children went to school for the first time in September but only one is still registered there. My oldest returned to homeschooling after only a month at school and my youngest returned to homeschooling after Christmas. You can read about the decision to send them to school here and about bringing my oldest home here. It has been a very strange year with so many transitions. Sending the kids to school and then bringing them home again forced me to confront the serious questions about why we were Continue reading

My son is proud of how I’m learning with Minecraft, and so am I

Today I found myself writing an email about why I recommend people buy Minecraft for PC/Mac. The reason I recommend it is that Minecraft is a game that can grow with a person. It’s easy enough for a small child but complicated enough that even an adult can continue learning with it. My six year old can build and play on it. She greets others on my multiplayer server with the few words she knows how to type and she makes a huge effort to read what others type back to her.  My older children have been learning about mods Continue reading

stopping the (home)school work struggle

One struggle I’ve faced homeschooling – and I know others face it too – is getting a child to do schoolwork when the child would prefer to whine, fuss and procrastinate. I’ve seen it discussed on homeschool forums and noticed a number of people suggesting two things: switching curriculum or going to unschooling. I want to talk about why those aren’t great solutions and what I would suggest instead. Switching curriculum is not a solution because although the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, it isn’t magical. Curriculum is a bit like a relationship. In Continue reading

the day after the American election

I started blogging right after Stephen Harper was re-elected. Back then my blog was called “Another Step to Take…” I was sitting in shock, staring at election results, and feeling horrified that Canada could re-elect someone so blatantly bad. I had been out knocking on doors during the election. I had helped drive people to the polls. Blogging was something I started doing as another step, started the day after an election, for trying to work for changes the next election. I started off blogging about politics. Since then my blog has shifted. I’ve blogged more on homeschooling. I changed Continue reading

Someone’s judging a homeschooler! Call out the troops. Or maybe, don’t.

Sometimes I read something someone else writes, and I recognize in it something that connects with other issues. Today I saw a post titled “Maybe we haven’t been critical enough of our fellow moms….” I saw it posted on facebook, and in most of the comments on facebook people were being very critical of the blogger, saying that people need to mind their own business and not judge. For my part, the post and discussion threw me into all sorts of confusion. The sense I had from the article was not that someone wants to stick her nose into other Continue reading

doing schoolwork while thinking out of sync

Being out of sync with the world can make school work hard. I think back to the time I was a teenager homeschooling through a correspondence type program where I had to fax my test and assignments to a teacher far away. I hated multiple choice tests so I wrote commentary all through my social studies multiple choice test, explaining why none of the answers were entirely correct. That particular teacher agreed that I could just write essays instead. I was relieved. Essays I could understand. I watched this past month as one of my kids struggled with an assignment. His class Continue reading

Choosing to homeschool, again.

I wrote back in July about the decision to send my previously homeschooled children to school. They started school at the beginning of September, and I’m writing now with our one-month update. Two out of three children will continue in school. The third is going to be homeschooling again. Going from homeschooling, to sending them to school, to homeschooling one of them took me on a very weird rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions. I had mixed feelings about them going to school. I have mixed feelings about the one coming home. To some extent I expected that. However there were things Continue reading

into the unknown: preparing myself to send my children to school

I feel like I'm looking ahead too, at an unknown path.

I sighed in the grocery store the other day. The store clerk, seeing I was watching my children, made a comment expressing sympathy about how it was only the beginning of summer holidays. I smiled, paid, and thanked him. He doesn’t need to know how much he misunderstood. To me this isn’t the beginning of a summer of having the kids around all the time. My kids have been around me almost constantly since they were born and this particular summer I am in mourning for the fact that my time homeschooling is coming to an end. This isn’t the Continue reading

my experience and plans teaching with Minecraft

My kids and I are eagerly working on our minecraft server these days. We build scenes and then add non-player-characters (NPCs) the scripts of which we write using a plugin called Betonquest. The boys built a fairy kingdom full of mushroom houses. With their help, I wrote up conversations for the fairies based on Shakespeare’s fairies in A Mid Summer’s Night Dream. We added a nine men’s morris board built of a grass path, like the “the quaint mazes in the wanton green” that the Shakespeare’s Titania had said was “for lack of tread are undistinguishable.” For each snippet of Shakespeare Continue reading

using an incomplete knowledge of Shakespeare for meaningful discussion

I have written before about reading Shakespeare with kids so they gain some familiarity with the stories and another time I wrote about reading it with kids as part of discussion on language and exploring complex ideas. Today I write about yet another reason to read Shakespeare with children. Today my argument is that Shakespeare gives us a chance to look at the incompleteness of our own knowledge and what scholarship means. We get to do that, all while enjoying the works of a master who filled his works with such amazing jokes and clever ideas. A few years ago Continue reading