Homeschooling and a Blog Crush.

March 22, 2010

I have a new blog crush. I don't even know the writer's name, but I am smitten. Childhood Magic...a Photojournal of Second-Generation Homeschooling. (For a further description of the writer and the blog go here.) The projects and activities she does with her children are so sweet and inspiring. Many are very similar (even identical!) to what C-Man and JuJu do at the Waldorf School, but I'm not the one there with them while they're being made. This mom is there and gets to participate in and witness all the magic that happens.

Check out this awesome gift basket she made with her son for one of his friends. There isn't a gift more heartfelt than that, no?
A handknitted gnome, a felted egg with a playsilk inside, two handmade wrist cuffs (one leather, one knitted). I'm in love.

A good friend of mine just started homeschooling her daughter, and ever since then I've been saying to myself "Could I?" "Should I?" "Nah." Even B agreed I'm probably not cut out for it. But the kids who get homeschooled (at least ones like the kids from Childhood Magic...with super dedicated and thoughtful parents) get the best of everything, I think.

What do you think? Would you homeschool your child?


  1. i think about homeschooling my kids nearly everyday...most days they go to school but some days are homeschool days...i am nervous about making the leap. however they get lots of homeschool-ish activities supplementing the local public school.

  2. Homeschooling works wonders when you live abroad... I am preparing myself to home-school my daughter. We live in Brazil and she's learning 3 languages simultaneously. I must say that it is incredibly fun for me to research and buy books, decorate her classroom and get all the things together for next year.
    I agree with you, homeschooled kids get the best :) I did a lot of thinking and it took me a while to make my decision but my husband works from home and he will take part on the homeschooling process so I couldn't find any excuses to say that sending her to school would be better.
    Some people argue that homeschooled kids don't get to experience the everyday things of school and friendships but if you are surrounded by other friends who teach their kids from home or a good circle of friends who are supportive and helpful things work for the best.

  3. nicole: maybe that is the best of both worlds? lots of homeschoolers do the hybrid thing, from what i hear...

    ana: i agree. socialization is probably the weakest argument i hear against homeschooling. kids these days have more of a social life than their parents! (at least mine do!!)

  4. I do homeschool Annalie! We're sort of unschoolers this year, for kindergarten. Next year we'll probably do a more curriculum-based approach.

  5. I was homeschooled back in the day when it was not so cool and I feel like it was really great for me. It allowed me to really take on a lot of responsibility for my own schedule- I learned how to be a self-starter. Thankfully, my parents had me involved in lots of social activities, so I feel like I turned out pretty normal. I transitioned well to college life too. However, I have a fantastic mother... I'm not sure I am capable of homeschooling my future kids... they may just get sent to grandma's. ;)
    Good luck on your decision.

  6. The creative force behind Childhood Magic is Ariella Prol. She is a genius! Would you believe that we knew each other as pen-pals when we were children?!? we linked up through the pen-pal classified ads in Growing Without Schooling (sadly, now defunct). We lost touch through the years, but thanks to the magic that is Facebook, we reconnected about a year ago and I am so glad we did, I am such a fan of her and her beautiful blog.

  7. I do homeschool and I want to share one thing: I have been doing this for year and a half, so my first child is in 1st grade. The coolest, THE COOLEST thing was being there everyday as I taught him to read and got to be a part of those "AHA" moments. Absolutely PRICELESS! I recommend it to everyone, even though it is a challenge. But I like challenges. :-)

  8. That is a really cool blog! I love the fairy garden-- I'm gonna try that!
    I would LOVE to homeschool my (future) children, but I don't see it being financially possible for me to not work. :( Hopefully we can find a great school though!

  9. For me it would be a tough decision. One one side I know that when the time comes I will have a lot of issues with the school system and the teachers (for example: I just heard that our local school uses Disney textbooks to teach foreign languages..WHAT??) and I do think that nowadays kids spend way too much time away from home and their parents. On the other, I also think that kids, reached a certain age, do need a tiny bit of an outlet and plus...very selfishly, I am already dreaming of how I will use the time when I will have a few hours just for myself (although I know that I will probably think of them, bake for them, prepare lovely activities for them...). Allowing for the fact that not every parent is also a good teacher, maybe a hybrid system is really the way to go.

  10. Man - do I understand this struggle. I have been having it for years. I absolutely, positively did not want to homeschool and thought I was very ill-suited for the job. I am not very patient, organized, I love having time alone, etc. I also thought my kids and i would like each other more if we had a break from each other. Nonetheless I decided to give it a try after New Year's, really to just be able to check it off my list. I took Eva out of Montessori and started homeschooling both her (5) and her 3 year old brother. All of the things that I most feared have actually been opposite of what I expected. The kids and i have never been closer, I have never been more patient with them, and I wouldn't trade the gift of my being the one to get to witness them learn everything new day after day. I am officially hooked, it's far better than I could have imagined.

  11. emily/wideopenspaces: i have the same exact fears you had. not organzied enough, not patient, like my alone time. very inspiring to hear that it is working for you. the people i've met who are "good" at homeschooling seem different than i am. maybe we can chat soon. i want to hear how the new baby will work in the mix too. :-)

  12. Such an interesting topic! I don't feel cut out for homeschooling either, Jora, but I'm already panicking over how much I'm going to miss M when she starts a 5-day-a-week pre-K in June. Parents are required to volunteer in the classroom though (and luckily little siblings are welcome too) so hopefully that will be the best of both worlds for us.

  13. What a journey this has been for us. I'm the friend Jora mentioned. I spend the first hour of our monthly catch up time (with Miss Jora) reviewing this topic. It's new to us since we started homeschooling in February. At the risk of writing a novella about the topic I'll try to keep it brief...

    I have three kids with three (or at least two so far) learning styles. So, for the moment, I have them in three different programs. I'm a big advocate for working with what you have and appreciating your child's gifts and aptitudes for what they are.

    There is a very wide range of options with homeschooling these days and it is becoming increasingly common. For that reason, you (the general you) are likely to find something that suits you, your child and your family.

    I'm more of a school at home person. I like structure and academia. We have a high bar for learning (but the kids pretty much set that) and fiercely protect and nurture their innate curiosity and desire to learn. I believe that is the root of it. If the child likes to learn, to read, to explore, etc....the structure can come in and support that. (And any homeschooler will tell you...It doesn't take from 8-3 to cover what they are getting at school.)

    Even with MY need for structure, we love that homeschooling allows us such great opportunities for enrichment. We have barely even tapped into it since we are nearing the end of our school year and we started mid year with our program. I plan to continue hs Anna next year and will have more chances for indepth field trips, science, etc. For my daughter, she seems to be thriving with the opportunities we have at home to do a whole lot more.

    If you are considering homeschooling, I encourage it. It's a big commitment but it also can be very relaxing in a way. You are able to see where your child is excelling (and can move on) or where you might want to spend a little more time with something. The enrichment that it affords is priceless.

    The other comments about your family life and closeness...I second that.

    P.S. I share in Jora's blog crush. Great projects at Childhood Magic.

    P.P.S. The online community of homeschoolers is wide and diverse (Even Ree -Pioneer Woman--does it!). But one thing I have noticed is generosity and warmth is a common trait. If you have questions or need advice, resources, etc. you will get it. It's a refreshing sense of community I hadn't expected from a seemingly isolated (NOT!) group.

  14. I am so glad you posted about this! I'm considering homeschooling next year and need all the resources I can get. :)

  15. would love to talk, Jora.

    and YOU can advise me on how to handle 3...!

  16. I’m a public education fanatic. I have always held opting out of the public school system with disdain, as a choice the affluent and the holier-than-thou. I was full of judgement for people who refused to work within the system for the good of all, and instead opted to give a specialized education to the benefit of their kids…

    Then why do I have four preschool curriculum books sitting right next to me right now?

    The answer is simple. It’s easy to pass judgment when you aren’t looking at the needs and development of your own child. But I am. And since my wallet cannot give my child what I think she needs as she moves towards her third birthday, I have decided to begin actively teaching her at home (I know that I teach her plenty, but I am looking to do it with purpose).

    While there are free or supplemented early childhood options for people in our income bracket, these programs do not mesh with my educational philosophy. They’re also targeted at helping children from generational poverty compete when they get to elementary school. At 2 1/2, my child has some shockingly high academic skills that simply can’t be nurtured in a classroom where other students' needs are so great.

    And this is the great paradox of our current public education system. The needs are so great, but so disparate, especially in the district I live in here in Oceanside.There’s a lot of work to be done, and I have no given up on the promise of great public school. but in the mean time, like so many parents out there who love their children and only want what’s best for them, I’m doing what I think is right for her.

  17. No, it wouldn't work for our family. My sister does and seems to enjoy it though.

  18. Oh my. So many good comments! I love how homeschooling is becoming more mainstream and accepted and the old arguments against it just aren't applicable at all!

    I started homeschooling 2 years ago and it's been the hardest/most rewarding thing I've done so far. I've given up so much free time and have had days where I want to take homeschool and tell someone to shove it...

    But I always go back to how wonderful it is to spend time with my children, see them learn and enjoy their company. We also do the hybrid thing- there is a homeschool resource center that the children attend a few classes a week. It is part of the public school system so we are supporting public schools and giving them a great experience.

    To all those who are considering it but feel inadequate- join the club! I didn't start doing it because I thought I would be awesome at it. I did it to give my kids the best childhood I thought they could have. I'll have free time sooner than I think is possible. They grow up so fast!

  19. If you are thinking of homeschooling, there really are great programs in San Diego to help support the journey! I have been working over the past three years for a K-12 charter that assists homeschooling families and I absolutely love it!

  20. I love Childhood Magic, too! Glad to see you mention it. And as for homeschooling, I think it can be great.

  21. Wow! Jora, I am crushing on you too!
    Ok, seriously, you are amazing! This post really made my day.
    On the subject of homeschooling, I also wasn't sure I was cut out for it, and at least one day a week I am absolutely SURE that I'm still not cut out for it. The other six days a week I revel in this blessing, journey, colorful love-fest called homeschooling. Our days are full of art, philosophy, love, books, experiments, trips to the museum, plays, nature walks and running around at the park with friends. It's like you wake up everyday and try to think of the absolute best/most fun thing you could do, and then go do it! the world is your oyster!
    You can really make it whatever you want. People think I must be perfect, that I must be the perfect mom who lives in the perfect place---but truth be told I am just like anybody else--I get tired and frustrated, irritable. My kids whine and complain! I worry that I am not organized enough or maybe I'm too organized? I worry about basically everything!---but that's all part of the journey. We're human beings, a family, nothing is perfect. So don't be afraid to try homeschooling if your only reason not to is because you think you're not cut out for it. Nobody's really cut out for it! We all just do our best!
    Ultimately, with my time here on earth, I just want to love my family, teach, guide and provide for them. I want magic and won't settle for anything else!!
    Anyway, I am so rambling here. Hope some of this made sense!

  22. One more thing---not to brag, but I do feel that homeschooling produces smart, kind, thoughtful, interesting, stupendously wonderful children!

  23. This is really a fascinating topic and I've been thinking about this for the past two days...Where I come from, homeschooling is unheard of (yes, the odd aristocratic is still privately tutor, but that's another story...) and I've never met anyone who has been home schooled or who home schools her children. These are my fears about home schooling:
    - It would really be a serious job. Where would I find the time to organize/prepare everything?
    - Would I be objective in assessing my children's progress, achievements? Wouldn't everything that they do/think/write be amazing to me? Will I ever say "Whoa, my son is really a sloppy speller?"? Wouldn't I find a justification for everything they mess up?
    - Would the dynamics between my children and I change? Would they feel that the need to please or contradict me more than if I weren't their mother?
    - I do see how much more efficient and rewarding homeschooling could be for the child, but the fact that a homeschool program is really tailored to a single child, wouldn't encourage that child to think that he is the center of the world?

    A few considerations which came to me after reading some of the comments above:
    -Not all teachers are cut out for the job it's true that sometimes we should be less fearful...
    - I think that most of the joy of homeschooling one's children comes from the ability to spend so much time with them. And this is something I'm adamant about. In our society we don't spend enough time with them. So, going to the science museum, sitting down to read a special book, playing an instrument, learning about the changing leaves, these are all things which bring great rewards but that could and should be part of a healthy family regardless to the type of schooling chosen. Most children spend 35 hours a week in school outside the home . That's a job, not an education! They don't need that much. Add to that all the sport, ballet, whatever else lessons...Schools have become synonymous with child care (or children parking) and that's just wrong.
    Well, I think I should stop now...I'm just rambling...

  24. I'm definitely not cut out for it either. I don't feel bad about it at all. He is having a great time at school and doing so well. He is bilingual English / Dutch, something I could never have taught him, and surrounded by good friends. All praise to those who do home school though.

  25. Here's another great blog I just found through a link on one of the blogs you linked to:

    Great topic here! I'll be back when I have more time o read through all of the comments. Thanks!

  26. I love your blog!
    I was homeschooled from Kindergarten through 10th grade. I think it was a wonderful gift that my mother gave me, and I definitely want to homeschool my future children. I am dying to read that Homeschool Magic blog, but it is for invited readers only. How do I get invited!?


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