Counting Planets Can Be Tricky: Gina's Interview

This is Kali on a rock somewhere on planet Earth. She lives with her mom and dad in Massachusetts, which is also on planet Earth.

Her mom, Gina, blogs about her family's life here on Earth at her site, Homeschooling Mom Going Sane. Gina knows a lot about Earth, but she received a suprise lesson recently when the two of them were discussing the number of planets in our little corner of the universe...

1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?

We have been homeschooling since 12/2007 when we took our daughter - Kali - out of public school midway through 5th grade and we will never return to the chaos of the life that we led prior to homeschooling. Our choice to embark on this journey brought back the daughter that we had lost during the prior 3 years of public school.

2. One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it allows. Can you give us a few examples of how this freedom and flexibility benefited you (your family)?

There are so many benefits that it is hard to choose, but I will try to narrow it down.

The flexibility and freedom of choice is HUGE academically for us - we often will speed through or slow down during different areas of study depending on the interest level as well. For example, if I have a week planned out for a unit, but Kali is just not feeling it, we can get it done in a day or two and on the other hand, if she is truly inspired by the topic we could take a month or more to do a really in-depth study.

Another benefit is being able to pick and choose WHEN we do our lessons. If Kali wakes up on a Sunday morning and realizes that there is a solar eclipse that will occur on that day - she can spend the day researching eclipses, why they happen, how often they happen and anything else that she can come up with and that can be considered a school day!

Vice versa if there is a 90 degree Tuesday in May and we want to go to the beach for the day - WE CAN! ~ of course I would probably still count that as a school day as she tends to search through tidal pools and examine everything she finds! But we have the freedom to do that!

Besides academically, the freedom also benefits our family as a whole in many ways. We have a VERY eclectic and VERY extended family and one of the most profound benefits about the freedom of homeschooling is the amount of time that we get to spend with our family members that we just didn't have time to see when Kali was in school.

She has such formed incredible connections with her extended family - aunts and uncles, cousins, great & great, great aunts and uncles- that is so touching to me and never would have been there if she still had to spend 8-10 hours a day being in school and doing "school" work.

Kali's dad has a job in a profession that flows with the seasons and this was always REALLY hard for all of us during the spring and summer months when he gets busiest - however now she can stay up and wait for him to come home or we can go and have lunch with him, which helps a bit. She also gets to see him so much more during his slower times in the winter when he can be involved in her lessons.

3. Another benefit of homeschooling is the fun factor. Can you give us a few examples of some especially fun times you had as a result of homeschooling?

We have fun in just about everything we do now - truly I am not just saying that. The freedom of homeschooling has allowed our family to really connect again and we truly enjoy being with each other! There are so many moments that have occured over the last year and a half that I have thought "This never would have happened if she were in school!"

I think the one thing that truly sticks in my mind is the incredible amount of fun that Kali gets to have with her younger cousins. They spend so much time just being silly, giggling, blowing bubbles, making up games, playing in the rain and just having FUN with each other.

Now I know that a lot of people might think - well wouldn't she get to see her cousins anyway, but really not like she does. Kali is 11 and her favorite cousin -Sophia- is 2 - I watch her for my sister a few days a week and we have all day to play with her on those days, but if Kali was still in Public School she would have left for school hours before Sophia gets here and would be home for about 30 minutes before she gets picked up.

Kali has also made a TON of true friends through our homeschooling network - not that she didn't have "friends" before, but they were more based on what kids were put into her class that year and not because they had things in common. Now she has friends that she truly likes and has things in common with, that she can have fun with, doing things that they are all interested in.

4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?

We have had several situations where things like this have happened - While looking up information on the planets Kali and I had a heated debate over the number of planets. She said 8 and I was positive that there were 9. We then proceeded to list them and we both got them all until we got to Pluto - little did I know that in 2006 it was demoted to a dwarf planet.

About 2 weeks later we had a very similiar conversation that happened when we were discussing the oceans and again about a month later when the topic of Australasia came shows that you really should look over the material if you want your kids to think you have the ability to "teach" them!

Who knew so many things had changed in the world since I was in school - just a little over 12 years ago! I actually enjoy the fact that we are learning so many things together. My strength lies in Mathematics and I am pretty sure those theories will not be changing anytime soon - as long as I keep her away from that "Public School" version of math that is!

1 comment:

Ruralmama said...

I am so glad that this family found out how wonderful homeschooling can be. Fantastic, and it looks like they feel that way about it as well!