Monday, February 7, 2011

Exploring our options...

I'll admit right up front that as we look at the options available to us for our oldest son's high school education, I'm strongly leaning towards continuing high school at home.  While it is my husband and I have the final say, our son is definitely a part of the process, and his input is invaluable as we work through our decision.

Our son with his felted wool project that was selected as an alternate for the Robert Hillestad Gallery.  He wet-felted and needle-felted a bowl and dryer balls from wool from his endangered Jacob sheep flock.  We were all pretty pleased to see his exhibit on display!
We don't actually have a lot of viable choices for schooling where we live.  We live in rural, central Nebraska.  It's really rural.  The closest private schools are at least on hour's drive away, so they're not really an option.  There are times in the winter that we simply cannot off of our homestead.  This doesn't always coincide with the weather 60-75 miles away, so they often have school in those towns while our local schools are closed, and the opposite is also true.  Even under ideal driving conditions, we don't feel that over two hours each day spent driving to and from school is a good option.

We live about fifteen miles from the public school in our district and about half that for another public school that he could attend if we opted out of our district.  These are the the two schools we're exploring as alternatives to homeschooling.  I really don't know very much about the school in our district.  I know much more about the school that isn't in our district but is closer to us.  I have many friends among the teachers and staff; I've judged their science fair for several years; and I recently helped out with their speech program (in a very rudimentary way).  We need to learn a lot more about both schools, and we're scheduling a few days for our son to "shadow" classes at each of them.

For homeschooling, we're also looking at options.  We started out as classical homeschoolers, but we've evolved to a more eclectic approach with many elements of Charlotte Mason tossed into the mix.  This has worked pretty well for us, but there's another methodology we're exploring.

I truly never thought "unschooling" was something that I would consider, but I read Blake Bole's book

 College Without High School: A Teenager's Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College 

I got so excited!  I read the book in a single setting and read parts of it aloud to my husband (who's now reading it since our son finished it).  When I put the book down, I thought, "I wish I'd read this book when I was 13 and had convinced my parents to let me do high school this way!"  I'll be discussing this book in future posts as it has made a huge impact on me.

It's interesting to see the younger kids taking in all of the discussions and research we're doing for our oldest's high school education.  They're mostly bemused by it.  Our eleven and nine year old boys think our oldest is pretty weird for thinking about doing school any other way than what we've been doing.  We'll see if they hold their opinions in the coming months!

Here's our homeschool crew after an outing to a local nature preserve this fall.

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