Rethinking Normal

2:09 PM

Most people already have their minds made up about homeschool and all the stigmas that come along with it. I always told myself I would never homeschool.
Sure, there were ideals about it I liked, but those were the unrealistic parts of it.
Homeschool kids turn out unsocialized and awkward, right? And who am I to think I as one person can provide a whole education for my kids?

But then, the time for school started creeping closer and closer. A year and a half out, I realized that half day kindergarten is a thing of the past for most of the nation and that I would be sending my 5-year-old to school for a full 8-hour day every day. I tried to wrap my head around it, but the idea just did not sit right with me. I felt like I would be robbing my kids of so much time to play and be little. I let my head wander to considering homeschool for a hot minute, mostly just so that someone would talk me out of it- which they did, and I put the thought to rest. But then it struck again. And this time, I couldn't make myself feel good about taking the traditional route with school even though it's all I or my family know.

So I started researching. And reading. And praying. And talking to people. And listening to podcasts. And allowing myself to recognize and follow my mother intuition when I felt it. My mind started opening up ever so gradually to a decision that I soon saw was inevitable.

Lo and behold, my thinking started to shift. I started to see how good of a fit homeschool could be for our family if I had the freedom to go about it in a way that resonates with us. We can take learning at our own pace and in our own order. We can learn as a family, with big siblings reading to little ones, mom reading aloud to everyone, and all of us simultaneously learning academics and how to be good, compassionate people. We can play outside on gorgeous days for as long as we want, get muddy every day, read books in our jams, and take our mornings slow. We can ENJOY life, learning, and one another. We'll have years to get through everything and learn together. We'll learn how to LEARN- and LOVE to learn- so that when an education gap comes up, we know how to tackle it. I realized this is exactly what I want for my family. And far as that whole "socialization" thing goes, if I'm being honest, I don't particularly want my boys to "fit in" with the cool kids. I want them to be different and to not be afraid of that. I want to foster within them the space to grow into themselves, to become, and to unapologetically live life as individuals. I have no doubt in my ability to allow them opportunities to develop social skills, and I'd like them to be able to thrive in conversations not only with those their same age, but with anyone and everyone they interact with.

So here we are, the summer before Milo would begin kindergarten, diving headfirst into homeschool with confidence and trepidation, with excitement and peace. This past year we've done preschool activities at home and fallen in love with learning and exploring this beautiful world together. As we approach Milo's kindergarten year, I've spent lots of time seeking out the best system/curriculum fit for us. We like flexibility, we like simplicity, and we like knowing that we are covering all our bases in a way that feels natural to us. I don't so much want to label our approach as one style or another, because I know it will shift over time and with each kid, but we do need a good rhythm and direction for our learning! After much deliberation, we've decided on The Good and The Beautiful curriculum. I love everything about it thus far and it allows us the freedom to learn as we want while offering the exact amount of structure and physical academia we need.

We're very much in the beginning, but some of the main points about The Good and the Beautiful that pulled my heart right in are:

- No frills learning. There are SO MANY neat-looking, Uber darling curriculums out there, but when they try to incorporate too many (albeit aesthetically pleasing) components, they are lost on kids (and moms)! I am not a Pinterest mom, and I need something that won’t leave me frustrated and overwhelmed and wondering “what are we REALLY getting at here?”. This program is very simple and clear cut. Perfect for what we need.
- Classical learning. Think poetry, recitation, repetition, etc. All the beautiful things that school should be.
- It just feels right. This curriculum resonates with me and makes my heart sing, and Milo loves it too. Above all, I think this is what is important when choosing a direction to take school.
- Family style learning. Science and history are both meant to tackle as a family, with the ability to tailor each lesson to the specific grade level. I plan on having lots of kids, and knowing that we can all learn some subjects together not only makes me really excited but offers a lot of relief!
- Short, sweet lessons. We can take them at our own pace and review often to solidify those building blocks.
- A full education from start to finish, with all the subjects covered. I've wondered (and been questioned often) how on earth I would tackle subjects like upper level math and science, and so many programs available just didn't feel right to me. More subjects and grade levels are being released all the time, making this exactly the long-term, all-encompassing solution I've been searching for. All of our subject matters will be cohesive and flowing, keeping physical and mental clutter away. 
- Affordability. As far as curriculums go, this is perfectly priced.
- Truly beautiful. From the artwork to the incorporation of religion, I feel actual joy about this curriculum.
- Natural learning and the incorporation of multiple subjects in one. For example, geography and art are both included in the Language Arts course. This makes learning organic, which is exactly what it is meant to be!

I can't wait to document our homeschool journey here and share our experiences. We will take each day as it comes. I don’t expect it to be easy. I’m sure I’ll have lots of humiliating days where I wonder what on earth I was thinking. But if I don’t start off optimistic and enthusiastic, I’m selling us all short! We CAN do this. And we are all kinds of excited about it. 

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