My girls are living proof of how homeschooling can work. For instance, we went on a field trip this last Wednesday to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. It happens to be the only active Egyptian exhibit with mummies in the greater Los Angeles area right now, and we really wanted the girls to see it. So, Mrs. Woody organized the field trip on behalf of our homeschool group (this gives us a pretty decent price break), and we went along with about four or five other families.
Mommy had already started studying Egypt with the girls a week or two before, and had even used the teacher's guide published online by the museum. Thus, the Woodyettes were primed for Egyptology, and showed their knowledge on several occasions when the docent would ask questions about certain artifacts. "Mommy! Just like in the story!" The docent was clearly impressed, because it wasn't just the Woodyettes that were answering the questions.
Later, in the gift shop (of course there was a gift shop; in fact, there were two: the regular one, and a special one located adjacent to the Egyptian exhibit) the cashier asked the girls if this was a day off or if they were homeschooled. "We're homeschooled," piped up the Jelly Woodyette. "We go to Wonderwood Academy!"
That same Jelly Woodyette just came up with yet another reason why - for us, anyway - homeschool is the way to go.
The girls attend "Hogwarts Home Study" as part of their school activities. This is their third year, and they just got their acceptance letters via owl post today. Included in the letter was an order form for various materials that they are required to have for their classes this year. Jelly had just finished filling hers out and put it in her owl post tube, awaiting Hedwig to deliver it tonight.
"Mommy," she said. "I think filling out that form was like homework."
"Why is that?" Mommy asked.
"Because homework helps us learn!" she answered.
I caught that statement and recognized its significance. When I was that age, homework was already a form of captivity and torture similar to the Spanish Inquisition, only more painful. I despised homework because it seriously cramped my style. I needed every single non-school waking moment to capitalize on my play time with my friends, and homework really got in the way of my laziness. Homework was the greatest single factor in my pursuit of perfecting the art of procrastination than any other facet of my life.
Yet here is my nine year old daughter, sagely advising her teacher/mother that homework helps us learn. It is not, apparently, the torturous device that her Daddy always thought it was. Even as she said it, she was bouncing on the balls of her feet as she always does whenever she's engaged in some ultra-fun activity.
This same child, I must tell you, would likely be diagnosed by some zealous school counselor as ADD in a public school setting. She simply cannot sit still long enough for conventional teachers to be able to cope. Yet it is only her extremely vivid imagination that creates this impression, and has nothing to do with her ability to learn. Once Mommy gets her focus, the child is sharp as a tack.
And she loves to learn.
Life is good.
(Yeah, I know I promised a travelogue... so sue me. This just happened and Mrs. Woody looked at me and said, quote, "You need to blog this, Bud." So I did. Travelogue still to come.)