Red Oak Community School offers a range of enrollment packages. Some students come to school on a traditional 5-day, 9am-3:30pm schedule. Others attend only on Mondays and Tuesdays, and a third group attends Wednesdays through Fridays. This flexibility is part of what's made us so popular with families in Central Ohio searching for alternative schooling options.
As I shared in the post "Home(school) Sweet (Home)School," my daughter is a 3-day kid. As the year wraps up, I'm reflecting on the work she and I have done together, what she's experienced at ROCS, and how it all fits together. Today's post comes from Cassie Lewis, whose child attends the 2-day program. She offers her own perspective on balancing home and school, and how these fit in the context of a life well-lived. - Jodi Kushins, ROCS Mom and Blog Editor
As a “homeschool school,” homeschooling our children is an ongoing topic at ROCS. When my partner and I were starting out and I had reservations about whether we could handle our child’s education, the Columbus homeschool community was kind enough to share their experiences. Here I share some of the lessons we've learned for those new to homeschooling who might have concerns about the idea.
Homeschooling is honoring childhood
and trusting that our child will learn what is needed when ready.
We formally became homeschoolers when we pulled our child out of pre-school at age 4. We quickly learned that with a child that young homeschooling is not necessarily “doing school at home.” For us, everything is homeschooling; our curriculum is composed of the lessons of everyday life.
Homeschool is being mindful of our time and what we engage in.
I used to joke with a friend that a good homeschool day is one with the TV off. For us, this became the honest truth. But adopting the mantra "homeschooling is everything" means everything. So sometimes homeschool is time in front of the TV. Judicious use of child-appropriate media can teach us all kinds of things about living in the world. It can take us to galaxies far, far away, help us understand people’s choices, and enable us to explore our planet. We can even study foreign languages and practice reading using language settings and subtitles.
Homeschooling is reading Harry Potter or The Wizard of Oz and countless other stories together. It’s visiting the library.
Homeschooling is connection - to our child, ourselves, and our family. It is attunement to our community and the planet we live on.
Homeschooling is gardening, harvesting, and cooking together. This engages us in environmental education, sustainability, math, science, nutrition and self-care. We learn about empathy and compassion through engaging with our animal friends.
Homeschooling is using the outdoors as a classroom for a science lesson and developing our motor skills and appreciation for our planet. It is also testing our limits and developing our physical strength by climbing trees.
Homeschooling is providing an environment and materials geared towards spontaneous learning and creativity.
Everything is homeschooling because
any reasonably educated, literate household can homeschool.
Although time is an important factor, it is still possible to homeschool when primary caregivers work outside the home. Since everything is homeschooling, I have no doubt we would “homeschool” in some form even if our child attended school five days. I have no doubt that other engaged families do something like this already, but maybe don’t call it homeschooling. Homeschooling can be a unique experience for each family. The important thing is that the concept of school shifts from achievement of preset goals to trust in curiosity and wonder, to valuing connection.
Homeschooling is letting go of what isn’t necessary
so the flow of days are organized around and follow curiosity .
My partner and I were brought up in formal schooling environments. Becoming homeschoolers has required us to undergo a certain amount of “deschooling” and constant checking in with ourselves. If all of life is learning, we as adults must be open to its teachings as well, especially when our children don't want to sit down and “do school” or we need to work to maintain their well-being. Children come into this world as teachers, if we are willing to learn from them.
As homeschoolers, we feel extremely fortunate to be a part of Red Oak Community School. ROCS provides us with a balance of new ideas, concepts and playful academics from other sources. It provides us ample opportunity to develop social and emotional skills in an environment that respects children. We learn from peers, talented educators, other parents, and members of the community. To reiterate a previous ROCS Blog post, it is a school that indeed feels like an extension of home.
While our family loves homeschooling, we are not immune to the anxieties or pressures of modern parenting that center around the ever present question of “are we doing enough?” With Red Oak as our community, and in a sense our homeschool co-op, the answer to that becomes “we are doing plenty.”