Educating him has been an adventure from the start: he spent K-3 in public school and 4-5 in a Montessori school. When we became aware of his passion for percussion (about 3rd grade), we set our sights on Alabama School of Fine Arts, a specialty public school for grades 7-12 that requires an extensive audition process and only accepts about 1/3 of applicants into their music department. With that as our goal, we chose to spend this last year, 6th grade, homeschooling.
I've homeschooled in the past, so I wasn't fearful about the legalities or curricula. I learned the first go-around that unschooling is the best approach for our family. While I did print out the Alabama curriculum standards for 6th grade, I did not worry one iota about testing. That's right: Eric has not taken a single test the entire last year. Our goal has been learning. And given Eric's interests, it should come as no surprise that the majority of his learning has been in the area of music.
Great news: he auditioned for ASFA and was accepted into their program for next year!
For his final homeschool assignment, I asked him to write a paper about the best and the worst parts of his homeschool year.
On his worst list: "no friends"
On his best list: "being able to triple my abilities music-wise"
And here is my most favorite part of his paper:
"Otherwise, I have created myself into me."
He went on to explain all the things he learned about himself. The paper sounds like it was written by a college student. This has been a year of self-discovery for him. And how thrilled am I to have been such a big part of that??
For me, the best part has been spending time with my kid, getting to know him better, all the great talks while driving in the car. The worst part has been feeling like I haven't quite been able to give him everything he needs. He's beyond me in so many ways. And I worry some about how he will adjust as he moves back to a traditional school setting after all the mad freedom of this year.
He loves music so much, I have to trust he'll be just fine.
I know this for sure: I wouldn't trade this past year with him for anything.