As the mom of a public-school second grader, I enjoy reading a number of the homeschooling blogs. I admire the nature carnivals at By Sun and Candlelight, the science studies at Lapaz Farm, the poetry and history suggestions at Farm School, the beautiful Mississippi farm and the good books at Twice Bloomed Wisteria, the spiritual generosity of Homeschool Diary, and the humorous realism at Poppins Classical Academy.
While I have never homeschooled, I get great ideas from all of these blogs, and when I met some unschoolers at the park last fall, I could talk enough Charlotte Mason that I didn't need a translator, thanks to Here in the Bonny Glen and the Lilting House. One day I hope to meet the hilarious and very political Redneck Mother and her husband, because between the three of us, I'm sure we could share some awesome tall tales.
What I see in those blogs is similar to what I see in my favorite teacher blogs. All of these teachers, including the homeschoolers above, obviously enjoy being with children, and all are eager to share the learning-filled days that their vocations afford them. Educating Alice, Ms. ABC Mom, The Miss Rumphius Effect, and A Year of Reading are some excellent teacher blogs that come to mind. Over and over I can tell that they understand children in a way that gifted educators do.
My son is a bit of a non-traditional learner, and I have jokingly said that I am going to start a totally hands-on school at the beach, where my family has spent so many good days. I spot students for my school everywhere, from the local skating pond to the urban public school where I volunteer to our town's nature center. The young fisherman at the river, the kids on the high dive at the Y, the boy who figured out how to drain a flooded street, the girl who loves running into the wind. At Beach School, we'll count wharf crabs, measure sand-castle towers, and study plankton under the microscope. After we fly kites for gym class, we'll multiply seagulls as we shoo them off our picnic lunches. And of course we'll read fun and interesting books, write in the sand, and change aged worksheets (is there any other kind?) into papyrus instead.
The seaside academy is a fantasy, but in the days ahead I'm hoping to live my life more like Beach School. Many, many thanks for the inspiration to all of you online teachers. You make an excellent faculty.