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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adventures in Homeschooling: Part Two

by Seattle Jon (bio)

Adventures in Homeschooling: Part One can be found here.

Once the initial inspiration to homeschool came, Charlie started mentioning it to a few of her friends. The response she got was overwhelmingly positive, which surprised her. One friend even shoved some books about homeschooling at her. "Here," the friend said, "I've always dreamed about homeschooling but every time I pray about it the answer is not to do it." I continued to remain skeptical until Cher had me read one of the books her friend had given her. I finished A Thomas Jefferson Education in just a few days and was in. Since Charlie is the driving force behind our efforts to homeschool, I’ve asked her to describe what the last three years of our kids’ education has looked like.


One of the loveliest things about Seattle is that due to the popularity of homeschooling, several of the area school districts have homeschool resource centers (“HRCs). Each HRC has a principal, staff teachers (employed by the district) and workshop teachers (independent instructors who come up with classes that get approved by the district). Our HRC is housed in an old high school, so it has a cafeteria, a library, a computer lab, a theater and a gym. HRCs can best be described as “college for kids.”

Classroom settings are what you’d expect to see in a normal school district except that they are mixed-grade classes. For example, our ten year-old might take a class in Latin and have 4th and 6th graders sitting alongside her. Below is an example of some of the classes our kids have taken over the years, as well as a video of Will giving a speech on Chief Seattle in his Great American Speeches class (sound is horrible, apologies).

Musical Theater (the school puts on several plays a year)
Latin and Spanish
Greek Myths
Simple Machines (they study simple machines and then build them in Legos)
Great American Speeches (study great orators and memorize a speech, see video below)
American Girl History (history taught through the stories of the American Girl dolls)
Art & Literature (illustrate stories and poems they write)
Report Writing

Similar to the school experience I had growing up, our kids experience spirit weeks, assemblies, spelling bees and field day. Dissimilar to what most parents are used to, I am required to stay on campus with the kids until they are in sixth grade. As a result, I am able to sit in on classes and even volunteer when needed. I am also able to meet and spend time with all the other parents, and have become very close to several other moms as a result. Several of us hold a weekly bible study session at the school to pass the time. These women are incredible. On my “you might see me on the 5 o’clock news” days, these women buoy me up and throw a giggle and an eye roll my way.

The idea behind HRCs is for parents to be the primary educators of their kids, with the school district serving as a resource. So, our schedule is arranged to where we're at the HRC for two days of the week. Our home then becomes the classroom for the other three days. Part three of our Adventures in Homeschooling series will focus on what the homeschooling adventure has looked like in our home.

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