In the summer of 2001, I gave my children the choice of being homeschooled. Em was eager to stay home because she'd had a very difficult school year and felt very badly that she'd not learned to read.
Dee, for the first time in her life, was very eager to go to school. School was becoming a very social place for her.
During the summer, we visited an organic farm as WOOFers and had a good time there. Then we house-sat where we were able to go swimming almost every day and enjoyed that. When we came back to the Toronto area, we rented a place in the country to see how we'd like it.
It had it's good points. Dee enjoyed the quiet except when she was woken by geese honking as they flew overhead. The snow stayed white longer and there were opportunities to toboggan and build wide-spreading snow structures. And when it was cold enough, it was wonderful to skate on the pond.
It had it's bad points. The worst was that we lost one of our cats - the beautiful, fierce Molly. She liked to go prowling at night and we think she was killed by a fox or a mink. It was lonely, too, with few friends to play with.
The long drive into town each day turned out to be family time when we could listen to each other's thoughts or experiences of the day. I missed this time when we moved back to the city.
All these experiences were educational. Because of Em's bad school experience the previous year, our homeschool was of the unschooling type. I simply kept a log of the activities she did, what we read, what we discussed and where we went.
We met occasionally with other homeschoolers but Em would dearly have loved more friends. I worked mornings so she was with a babysitter part of the day. She was happy to help with the preschool children who were also in the babysitter's home but she wished there were children her age to play with.
In April, when I started teaching more hours, she finally got her wish. We learned of a woman who had a small homeschool in her home. Em joined them and had a very happy time. This teacher restored her confidence in her ability and soon she was reading, to her great astonishment and joy.
Next year, the girls will continue in their respective schools and I will return to full time teaching.
So once again, home schooling will be just a dream for our family.