Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Great to start blogging! (Amy)

Whew! What an adventure this year has been! I'm thrilled that Kim invited me to participate in this blog with her. Her example and advice have meant everything the past year.

Learning about leadership education has changed the way I view education and my children's schooling. Suddenly I've been given permission to act upon what I as a mother feel is best for my children. Harmony has returned to my home, replacing the screaming and gnashing of teeth that came with trying to do "school at home". But even as I type this, my 12 year old and 7 year old sons are doing battle over who made the mess in the front room (and thus who should clean it up). So I guess we're pretty normal. BTW ~ they both contributed to the mess!

Teaching three sons at home has been an exercise in patience. My 5 year old is sitting on the couch next to me filling in pages upon pages in his "Get Set for the Code" book. He loves to do school. It is definitely his idea of play. My 7 year old has his Legos strewn across the carpet in battle formation and is perusing a Lego Magazine adding up all the Lego kits that he is dying to get. He just realized that he needs $472.00 to get all the kits he wants! That's going to take some saving. And my 12 year old just vanished to his room. He's reading through a book called "Force & Motion" that he picked up at the library.

Last year we tried "school at home". That meant that I set up our day similar to a day at public school. We did math, reading, writing, spelling, history, etc. They couldn't move on to another subject until they had finished the one they were working on. We were lucky if we fit in art, music or science. By the end of each day I wondered why I even considered homeschooling. The kids were miserable and resisted my attempts to make them sit down, be quiet, and fill in those pages! Each day we had groans and sighs as we trudged our way through the textbooks ~ and it wasn't all from the boys!

I got a copy of A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille at a curriculum fair last April. I read through it that evening and was hooked. I knew that it was just what I was looking for for my family. Principles such as mentors, not professors and classics, not textbooks made sense to me. My older sister and I decided to attend some seminars on the phases of learning at George Wythe College last summer. We spent 10 days and a couple thousand dollars each to travel from Alaska to attend. It was worth every penny. The training that I received has changed my life.

Since returning to Alaska I've become a TJ Ed enthusiast. My sister and I are hosting the "Face to Face with Greatness" seminar series here in Alaska. What an opportunity for our community to attend this conference locally rather than traveling thousands of miles and spending thousands of $$ for the same information elsewhere. We have families from King Salmon, Soldotna, Kenai, Tok, North Pole, Wasilla, Palmer, and Anchorage attending the "Face to Face with Greatness" seminar in April.

We now have several TJ Ed book clubs in the area. We've got a Young Statesmen's Book Club for youth 10-12 as well as a book discussion group for parents. Families all over Alaska have been attending "Introduction to Thomas Jefferson Education" meetings. Wow! I'm pleased to say that "TJ Ed" is becoming a household word.

This blog will be a great chance to share with anyone interested the things that are working and those that aren't for us. Believe me when I say we are real families with real struggles. Nothing fancy going on here. Looking forward to sharing more with you...

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