It’s a beautiful thing, sitting here, on the other side of fierce and giant and scary risk. I do like to dip my toes in things that scare me, but right now, I am happy to bask in my comfort zone for awhile.
Ten years ago we had an idea to try homeschooling so we could travel with our kids. How hard can it be? We asked ourselves. Well. It has been hard. And wonderful, and fulfilling, and all the other things. Homeschooling High School was a natural progression for us and was the right decision for our teens, but we never really knew how it would turn out. I can safely say now, and I know Tony would agree, that homeschooling has been one of the most colossal, audacious, highly successful, thoroughly, profoundly rewarding things we have ever done. And we have a list.
In June, Sophia graduated from our own Newport Rhode Island Homeschool. She applied to every university on her wish list and was accepted to all of them. She put in the work and deserved every accolade. We proved that while we traveled and learned and read books together, we could reap the benefits of living a quality life – all while still pursuing college-bound dreams.
This morning I came upon this article, which was written about our family several years ago by Bob Arrington at Passagemaker Magazine: https://www.passagemaker.com/lifestyle/home-sweet-homeschool. There it was, the early days of our reckless-yet-fruitful adventure: Our hopeful story was explained with wisdom and bravado, yet we were just getting started! We knew so little about what we were really doing, but we knew it felt right.
If homeschooling preschool and elementary ages is a dream (and it IS), homeschooling High School is a whole other ball of wax. In order to do it well, one’s mission or foundation has to be solid. It was lovely to travel back in time today to re-read our own words spelling out the building blocks of our young school. Even more rewarding, is seeing how we stayed true to that mission.
“There are many uncertainties and obvious challenges. Travel and adventure schooling is not for everyone; it is not easy, and no, we are not on vacation! But for those who are able to make it work, the rewards are significant. It is the passion for life, travel, and our small family that keeps us going. We love being together–growing, learning, changing, and supporting each other.”Lynne Rey, Passagemaker Magazine
Empowered by Sophia’s success, our small school is still going strong as we embark on our ninth year come September. Oliver will begin his 11th grade/Junior year of high school reporting to a new school district. While we will sorely miss Sophia at home, we do have a great year planned for him.
When I think of all of the beautiful parts of our homeschool journey, the thing I cherish most are the relationships we have cultivated. Our commitment to our kids’ learning-lives, and theirs to ours is something we will have forever in our hearts. We removed a lot of outside stress, read a heap of books, and tried a new way of learning, and we did it together. We will never forget our creative, happy homeschool years.
Creating a peaceful and happy home is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children, and ourselves. The way we talk to eachother, the way that we treat eachother, becomes a legacy for each and every member of our family. Calm and loving environments spill over to friends and visitors, as well.
Last year as Sophia was preparing to take her ACT for the 5th time (regretfully aiming for “just one more point!”), I was reminded to relay some important life qualities which are NOT measured by standardized testing or any school lesson for that matter. These are qualities I know my kids hold deeply in every cell in their bodies: Love of learning, check. Self-awareness and self-discipline, check-check. Plus all these:
I am grateful for the sound counsel I received from a few homeschool moms who worked through their high school adventure before me and lived to tell the tale. And I would have pulled every last exhausted hair out of my head, had I not found a friend in Lee Binz.
Based in Washington State, Lee has a business counseling Homeschool (specifically High School) parents on how to stay calm, create transcripts, write course descriptions and otherwise cherish these incredible years with our teens. I learned over time, how to teach with courage and creativity, encourage critical thinking and resourcefulness and how to keep meticulous records. But most importantly, Tony and I both learned how to develop relationships with our children that will carry us through the rest of our lives.
“We are embracing an unfamiliar path and willing to take the risk associated with that. In the spirit of adventure, we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, try new things, meet new people, go new places. And we are happy. Could this type of educational path work for more families? I say, emphatically—yes!”Lynne Rey, Passagemaker Magazine
Our school is non-denominational/secular, thoughtful, kind, challenging, yet compassionate. We say no to unnecessary rigor and yes to trying new things while staying committed to College Prep ideals. As we chart yet a new course this year with Oliver, we have decades of experience to guide us and only two years left to go!
School for us will start in early September, and I could not be more excited – please reach out if you are considering an adventure-school life! There are so many resources available now, so why not give it a go?
*Secular: adjective 1. denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.
For homeschooling HighSchool help, find Lee Binz at the Homescholar: https://www.homehighschoolhelp.com