I mentioned in my last post that road/homeschool is probably a temporary thing for us. We don’t envision continuing to homeschool the kids, at least not full time, after we get settled from this trip.
The 2 big kids want to go back to a “regular” school, and we’re open to that. Leyna and Kendall will have completed 2 grades via homeschool by the end of this school year. Actually, it looks like they will finish up their current grades long before May! We’ll still have them work on some supplemental lessons, but I don’t think we’ll push to start them in the next grade’s curriculum. All we want is for them to transition back into a school at the grade level they should be.
Finding a balance between travel, experiences, and schooling has had it’s challenges. Scott and I actually just discussed cutting back on what we’re having them complete each week so that it’s less of a battle of the wills around here, and so everyone’s stress levels can come down a bit when it comes to Acellus. That’s what the homeschooling program we use was called when we began. It’s now technically Power Homeschool, but when we’re talking school around here, we refer to it as Acellus.
There is no point in pushing them to finish x number of lessons a week, and stressing when they don’t, when they will finish well before the traditional school year ends.
Scott is in charge of their school work. He manages their progress and tracks their grades. He puts a lot of pressure on himself to be sure they are getting “enough” done, but he sometimes compares it to a traditional school day, and a traditional school track. And that is just SO different than what we’re dealing with on the road. Our kids are immersed in learning every day in so many non-traditional ways.
So yeah, I am campaigning hard for everyone to just chill. The work will get done! And when we stop letting ourselves feel bad or guilty for this path not looking like something it’s not meant to be, I think we’ll feel less stressed.
Homeschooling the kids was the only option for this trip, obviously, and we’d do it again for another big trip, but I don’t think it will be the best option when we settle back down. I know Scott would totally agree with me (and that I’m not throwing him under the bus) when I say that we’re just not great at it, and we don’t love it.
I would really like to find my kids some teachers who actually love teaching them.
I would also like to find them teachers and a school who will work with us to find ways to teach them that make sense, that won’t shrug us off, or tell us “that’s just the way it is, tests are a fact of life, they need to learn to control their energy and sit still.” And I really don’t have a ton of faith in a Texas public school doing that for us, but maybe I’ll be proven wrong, or maybe things will change, or maybe we won’t end up there.
One school model I’ve been researching a lot and strongly considering, especially for Kendall (who will be in 6th grade next year), is Acton Academy. They are growing rapidly, with campuses opening all over, but they started in Austin so there are quite a few central Texas locations. Unfortunately, there aren’t any near Lockhart as of now, which is one Austin area town we leaning toward.
It could be perfect for him if we can find a location that works. Here’s a little bit from a Forbes article about the Acton Academy approach:
At the Acton Academy, kids teach themselves and each other, as they respond to a series of challenges offered by adult “guides.” The challenges are tough, which leaves no one a stranger to life’s best teacher—failure. Talking out of turn and challenging the status quo are commonplace, but laziness and shirking are not acceptable.
The kids are responsible for an astounding number of things, right down to the janitorial work. Students run their own governance and currency systems, immersing themselves in negotiation and conflict resolution. They work part time as apprentices at local architecture firms, bakeries, and dance studios, exploring their personal interest and talents. And yes, they learn reading, writing, and arithmetic using state-of-the-art, game-based teaching tools that have helped them progress at three times the rate of their public school peers.
Best of all, kids are free to be kids. There’s no need to pump them full of Adderall to keep them chained to their desks, as they have the run of the place. Every act of learning is voluntary and self-directed.
Acton Academy locations are all run a bit differently in terms of schedule, it seems, but each campus I’ve researched is very flexible when it comes to attendance, especially as that relates to travel, giving us the freedom to set off on adventures at any time.
Time and circumstances and finances will tell where the kids go to school next year for 6th, 3rd, and kindergarten (we will likely start Lowell in K instead of 1st next year since his birthday would make him one of the youngest in a 1st grade class). I’m fairly confident that we won’t be the ones teaching them, though.