Tuesday, May 29, 2012


As many of you know, I've spent the last calendar year homeschooling my youngest son.

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.


  1. special time, special year for your special son. It seems that it was a win, but there are often things we give up, aren't there, in order to reach some certain goal. And because he was accepted I guess one of the goals at least was met. Our school focuses almost entirely on the students' individual interests & that is what they study. From 5-14 they choose & the teachers guide that learning in so many different ways. We do no testing, & when students move on to more traditional schools, they are accomplished in several ways & figure out the testing easily (or so they tell me). I'm happy you had such a great year with your son. My brother is (was) a passionate percussionist so there is a special place in my heart for all those who choose that music. Have a great day Irene!

    1. Linda, I love the sounds of your school! How wonderful. And thank you for telling me about your percussionist brother. It's been really fun watching/listening to Eric learn all these instruments.

  2. That kid is going to be fine... he just ignores things that most kids would stress over. He is more rounded than you or even he knows... as an outside viewer, I see you're kids adjusting better than you sometimes think... they want you to make everything all better and when you don't or can't they handle it ... sort of like adults except an adult can run to Mom and Dad to fix it...but I see the older ones looking at those adult shoes and Eric doesn't want anyone doing anything for him that he can do himself ... so suck up that tear and poke out your chest in pride... they're great kids

  3. That comment brought tears to my eyes. What an inspirational parent you are!

    1. Thanks, Julie. Parenthood is the hardest job EVER. xo

  4. This is beautiful!! Congrats to your boy. xo


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