For those that know me personally, you know that there are few things that I hate more than the cold. Not the snow – as long as I can look at it out my window and think how lovely and pretty it is – and it is lovely and pretty. However, the cold that comes with it makes me want to pull the covers over my head and not leave my house until Spring. When I lived in Florida we had cold days. Oh yes, I was silly enough to consider 60 degrees cold. It would drop below 70, I kid you not, and out would come my sweaters, my coat, gloves, you name it. I was prepared for winter – all three or four days of it. But Virginia, well, Virginia has a special kind of winter here. It gets so cold that I literally think I might die out in it one of these days.
This past winter was insane. It snowed for the first time the week before Thanksgiving I think? And we just had what is hopefully our last snowfall last Sunday. By saying I hate the cold, one thinks that I dislike, maybe even dislike intensely, the cold. Nope – I hate it. With every fiber of my being, I hate it. In fact, in the winter here I pretty much hibernate. I only go out as little as possible, and even then it is under duress. Now that it is getting warmer again – HA, 60 degrees!!! – I am going out, hanging outside, etc., I LOVE the warm weather. It changes my entire disposition, and makes me want to be outside all the time. The fact that I consider 60 warm is a feat unto itself, but when you have just lived through days that were literally 19 below 0, then yes, 60 is incredibly warm. Now, to be clear, not warm enough – 80s and 90s is warm enough – but I will take 60s and rejoice that the winter is finally coming to an end.
Of course, with the end of winter came our own version of disease. We took turns passing several things around to the extent that we were literally laid up for three weeks. Between the stomach flu that just would not go away, and bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections – oh it was wonderful. So just as it started getting warm and I was ready to leave my house, the disease struck us and we were trapped inside. It was just the perfect topping to the cake.
At any rate, due to disease we are behind in our school work, which is never good and with testing coming up that means for more days of schooling. In years past we have taken off spring break when the local kids had it off – this year we will be working. There were a lot of snow days this year that the local kids had to take off of school and initially we took them off too. However, it became ridiculous the amount of days they had to be off due to the sheer amount of snow that we got, so we worked them instead of taking them off as well. How thankful I am now that we did! I don’t worry about the number of school days that we get completed really because we work year round, however, I don’t like to get too far off in the middle cause it is too hard playing catch up later on.
As far as testing, we do ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) to monitor their progress. In Virginia I can do testing or I can do a portfolio – I choose testing. I like that I can order the same test every year and I have a marker by which to see how they are doing. I can see our strengths and weaknesses and I can compare it to the year before to see where we might have gone down or up in our scores. Some people don’t think that the test is a good measurement and so they like to use the portfolio method – to each his own – there is no right or wrong way of going about it. Homeschooling has worked very well for us, and although it is not a good fit for everyone, for us it was. I have a friend who is currently looking into it and I told her the pitfalls and the dangers and disappointments in homeschooling – then I told her the rewards. I think she is going to do it as it seems like a good fit for her and her children and knowing her, she will do wonderfully at it. But I also told her to remember that if at any point she decides that she wants to put them back in school that there is no shame in doing that either. We must never choose to homeschool or choose not to homeschool based on what others’ opinions are about the subject. We must always decide from the standpoint of our family and what is best for us and them. That is the bottom line. You might decide to homeschool and realize that it is not a good fit for your family and then put them back in school. Or you might find that instead of public school that you want a more structured co-op, or classes that you can take them to in order to give yourself a break. Or perhaps you might end up doing a half day program somewhere and schooling the rest on your own. There are tons of ways of handling how your children are educated – and no one way is right for every family. In fact, there is no right way for every student. My kids have two different learning styles and so I teach them differently from each other. There is overlap in some subjects, though not nearly as much as when they were smaller, and everything else is individual to their learning needs. I have a friend whose child goes to a school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and does work at home the other three days. I have other friends who are in our Classical Conversations group and we meet once a week on Thursdays, and then school the other four days on our own (reinforcing what was taught on Thursday, as well as adding in other things). And of course I also have friends who have their kids in public or private school as well and they love it and it works for their families. Remember, there is no wrong way of educating your child as long as you are involved and are an advocate for your child.
Whew, that ended up being a long winded something or other on education, when really I was just talking about winter. I have a friend that when she gets distracted she hollers “Squirrel!” Well, that was definitely a Squirrel! moment!
At any rate, here’s to spring…