29 July 2009

The ABCs of Homeschooling. Child initiated, led, and executed pictured above.

This is an illimunated manuscript page done at my friend and neighbors home. She has recently opened up a new studio where we are taking art classes.

Our family is famous (infamous?) for um, rescuing items bound for the landfill. My aunt (pronounced "aint") Cindy sent the boys a box each of art supplies that she saved from an immanent landfill death.
They dove right in, got creative, and are very proud of their art supplies. Ollie is even catching on. The above picture is done on the back of a piece of paper he had used for something else. Re-used. He has something that looks like an ordinary waste basket in his room, that is actually his "re-use" bucket. He keeps things in there he intends to reuse some day. I swear it must be in the blood.

Coming tomorrow: Evidence of science and socialization!

26 July 2009

Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head

I have much to say about homeschooling; as our lives shift, so inevitably will the shape of this blog. I will try to break up my thoughts so as not to keep you reading here for hours, but this is a good place for me to hash things out.

Let me say, that our decision to homeschool was not made in fear or hate of public schools. I have come to realize that there are thousands of reasons to homeschool, some are a desire to stay out of "the system" or stay "off the grid." I am on the grid. I bank, I have bills, I participate in this society for good and for bad. I also believe to my core, that public education, in theory is one of the reasons that this country is so great. I know from my own studies what societies and cultures look like that have a lack of an educational system. I think that if we did not have public education, we would as a nation demand it from our government as many are now doing with health care. Public education was created in part to make educated voters. It is because of our public education system that I can educate my own children. We are privileged to be able to make this choice in this country. I know many, many talented, gifted, and loving teachers most of which are in my family. I respect what they do. I did it myself.

On the other hand, I see a system that has a myriad of problems from large class sizes to standardized tests. I see room for improvement, and instead of just waiting the problem out, voting the problems out, or volunteering at Ollie's school, I choose to simply not yet be involved. I have seen so many great parents make the same sacrifice and decision for their family's. Perhaps when we as a society fix the problems with our education system there will be a resurgence of smart, gifted, creative students to the school system. Until then, we will educate our children in the safety of our privileged and educated homes.

I am reading a fantastic book on Homeschooling now, and I'll leave you with a quote about public school from it that struck me:
"Children are made to fell out of control, very self-conscious, dependent rather than strong, very conscious of time (the 48-minute bell will ensure that), passive, and with challenges never set by themselves or for themselves. If there is 'dead' time, it must be because the teacher is unprepared. Children learn, more than any other content that inadequacy, or alternatively, happiness that is entirely conditonal on the approval of others , is the way things are supposed to be. "

The author continues, but I like the above because I know it to be true. We are, as an educated society allowed to evolve, to change, to grow. But unfortunately it painful and slow. Until then, again, I'll keep the children home to inquire, to be engaged, to learn about the world...

23 July 2009

Want me to fly like an eagle

The Rayburns are embarking on yet another adventure that many of you are already aware of: Homeschooling. We have been debating the issue back and forth in every which way for about a year now. The debate started for me anyway, when I began to actually work with homeschool families through my Spanish teaching endeavors. I fell in love with their educational experience. I could tell that the children in homeschool families seem to thirst for knowledge and education. I saw them enthralled, on bated breath to learn more. If you have been around Ollie, you know that he is the same way. He MUST figure everything out. He must know. He picks up things quickly and relishes learning.
And, I am a picky parent with the heart of a teacher. I have only encountered two teachers of Ollie out of many that have lived up to our standards of helping him grow. Only two that held high expectations, did not insult his intelligence, and with whom I learned to respect because of their educational philosophy and passion. I could not bare for Ollie to have a mediocre educational year, when I know in my heart and soul, that I can provide for him the opportunity to soar like an eagle. He deserves the best, and for now, this is the only I know to provide him with that.

13 July 2009

In his garden flowers

I thought you might need to see a couple of shots from the yard.

I planted tomatoes late, so this is one of my first.
I love the smell of tomato vines.
And, I refuse to buy more stuff to garden with, so this forces me to be more creative with my lackadaisical method of staking. Real gardeners had the poles all tee-peed before season began, but me nope. I am to reactionary and impulsive and make do with a stick and an old t-shirt when the branches sweep the ground. Maybe one day...
I have never grown it, but I will again! I am so excited that it is growing!

Wanna guess what this is?
Tall, tall canas..

And a sad, unloved pepper plant clinging to life in spite of a pattern of neglect.

09 July 2009

May your hands always be busy

Eli's hands, so soon to grow and shake off their child like nature. I love lately.
Today's homeschool lesson was Ollie led completely. He has been begging for 2 days straight to clothe his dear friends, Teddy and Fredly. They are pictured below, obviously thrilled with their new attire. Fred chose a tye-dyed beach look, while, Ted, always more serious, chose "work clothes" to match his bow tie. Both pairs classic draw-string style.

Ollie also took to quilting today, and stayed with it all day. I had a garage sale quilted looking handbag in the craft closet that I cut to be flat then hemmed. I showed him how to quilt along the pattern, and he is really into it. He is very enthusiastic and I believe he will finish this small blanket soon. I am threading the needle for him, but other than that, he is quilting in straight, neat stitches.

08 July 2009

The most amazing women on the face of the planet. This is an old photo from our wedding that I dug up.