Begin at the Beginning

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
 -Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

wonderlandHi, thanks for visiting. My path as a home educator has been an odd one. An aerial view of this map would look a lot like Alice’s journey in Wonderland, I suspect. Perhaps this is why it has always been one of my favorite books since childhood; I was being prepared for my future life.

Superhero Name:  Homeschool Mom

Nemesis: Laundry

Superpowers:  Writing curriculum, teaching, unschooling mentor, designing lesson plans and unit studies, supporting others on their homeschool journey, wearing several hats at once, and laughing (don’t ever underestimate joy or a good belly laugh).

Married to:  Homeschool Dad. He is a great guy who has, on occasion, bought socks and underwear on the way to work because Laundry won yesterday’s battle. His other superpowers are cooking dinner (he taught himself how to cook several years ago when my homeschool and work life collided in a most unromantic way and I started serving pop tarts and orange juice for dinner), running nearly all household errands, teaching whatever fell through the cracks during the day, creating the dad voice that causes a house of chaotic disorder to freeze so order can be restored, and being willing to be the “bad guy” who is the mountain the kid(s) can’t move.

Dependent Clause: The Underling is our biological son. The Cohorts are children I have been graced to inspire and mentor through some of their educational years. In order to respect the privacy of the Underling and his Cohorts who have or currently make me the home educator I am, this is where the very personal part of the bio hiccups (if this was a Monty Python sketch, this would be the singing bit).

Experience:  Preschool through 12th grade with methodologies and curriculum that matched each learner.  Actually, in writing this draft I realized two things:  I never taught kindergarten (the Underling and Cohorts attended some kind of school for kindergarten), and until now, most of 11th and 12th grades I am the master of schedules and transcripts/portfolios, not the sole educator (our local public high school lets homeschool students take any of their classes a la carte and the local community college has a great dual credit program).  Personally, my methodology sits somewhere between unschooling and eclectic homeschooling.

Special Skills:

  • Homeschooling multiple kids, all in a different methodology and curriculum;
  • Homeschooling only one child for a couple of years (this was more challenging than I was prepared for);
  • Homeschooling “special needs” and “normal” children (including dyslexic, hearing impaired, spectrum disorder, executive functioning issues, and literal immeasurable genius). I hate the words special needs and normal;
  • Unschooling/relaxed homeschooling one child (unschooling is the most parent-work intensive type of homeschooling out there; in my opinion, it is not for the meek of heart);
  • Adapting curriculum to a child’s learning style;
  • Writing curriculum when I could not find one I wanted;
  • Designing unit studies;
  • Teaching co-op classes;
  • Teaching workshops and mentoring clubs;
  • Trouble shooting “learning hiccups”

Statement of Belief:  As homeschool moms, I believe we should support each other as often as possible.   I believe homeschooling looks different for each family and sometimes for each child within that family. Homeschooling comes in all shapes and sizes: from boxed curriculum to unschooling and from only child to large families. Our reasons for homeschooling are vastly different; however, there is enough room for all of us at this homeschooling table. Unrestrained Homeschooling is for the homeschool family looking for something beyond the boxed curriculum or regular textbooks. Maybe you are looking for things to supplement these more traditional homeschooling methods or maybe you are an unschooler looking for resources for the next child led field of study you are co-designing.

I am Catholic, so any curriculum specifically used or reviewed for religious education will be Catholic.  Multicultural literature and studies about other religions are folded into our studies. I feel comfortable reviewing and recommending world religion texts, history texts that discuss religions of the world, and a vast array of multicultural literature.  However, I would not presume to review a religious education (theological) curriculum from another faith or religion, so my lack of information on religious education for other faiths should not be seen as a condemnation of that faith, but as an act of respect that I mean it as.

Feet on the ground, eyes on the stars.


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