When I look back over our homeschooling years and recall the moments that were of most value to me, without question those moments happened while sitting with another homeschool parent, lost in great conversation. Often there would be two steaming mugs of coffee between us, maybe a pile of knitting on the table, but the one constant was the remarkable absence of time. In all of my life I’ve never seen people more capable of shooting the breeze while losing track of the world around them the way a couple of homeschool parents can. There is never a shortage of things to talk about. Without teachers to consult with or guidance counselors to ease our concerns or cheer us on, we only have each other. I couldn't have realized how powerful these exchanges would be for me, as a new homeschool parent, but now that I’m at the end of our homeschool road I know for sure that this is where much of the magic happened.
I made a quick mental list of the most meaningful and tangible experiences/classes/resources/relationships that have come into our life as homeschoolers, and nearly every item on the list was brought to us by way of a recommendation in these very conversations.
As much as any parent loves to talk about their kids, these conversations often transcended our children and considered us, the parents, as well. Life, learning, and often income earning intersect on a daily basis when you homeschool. It’s a lot. Most of us would agree that it’s the best decision we ever made, but still, it’s a lot. To talk with another parent on a similar path is, well... validating. It is the epitome of truly being heard and understood. (That's a big part of your salary, right there.)
Over the last several months I’ve been working on an audio-based project with Ben Hewitt that brings this type of conversation to life in a way that allows us to not only share it with you, but enables us to interact with you. We're pretty thrilled about that part. If you’re not familiar with Ben’s work, allow me to send you in his direction. He is the author of several books, one in particular tells the story of his family’s educational path. (You should start there, then read all the rest.) Ben is an incredibly smart guy and to me feels like a pro with this audio format, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously which makes the work really fun and easy. What started as a relatively small and simple idea, has taken us through several months of collaboration which has been nothing short of a really great time and tremendous learning experience.
We’re calling this project Home Grown Education, and today it is finally available for you.
Home Grown Education
What can you expect?
- Four Episodes - In total, you will find close to 4 hours of audio recordings. In these recordings we talk about Our Respective Homeschooling Paths, Socialization and Community, Joys and Challenges, and Looking Toward the Future. (The fourth episode will be released mid-September, all others are available now.)
- Q&A - Over the winter I solicited homeschool related questions from you and we'll be answering many of those throughout the episodes.
- Archive of Writings - We have pulled together an archive of our education related writings* so you can have them in one easy to use, beautifully designed, digital resource. Within this near 50 page ebook you will also find a section of printables that have been helpful to me (ever the organizer that I am); everything from planning the homeschool week to writing transcripts, I share what we've used through the years. I've also included a full list of our curriculum, representing 7th grade through high school, with my thoughts on each item.
- Community - We look forward to offering a space where we can interact in a setting that is more private than our regular websites.
- Support - I feel like this point should be emphasized, but I prefer to keep bold face type to a minimum, so maybe just trust me on this one. The idea of homeschool "coaching" is beyond my comfort zone, but many of you have asked for this type of offering, particularly as it pertains to home educating through the teen years. Bring your questions, and we'll do our best to provide honest and encouraging answers. (Feel free to bring concerns too... we love hashing out a good homeschool related concern.)
- Join Anytime - This offering and the accompanying website will remain available for six months (until 2/15/17). We will pop into the comments a few times per week throughout this time, to connect and answer your questions.
- And finally, each episode is bookended with the musical contributions of my new favorite fourteen year old guitarist, Fin Hewitt. Hottest ticket in town, folks! Not to be missed. (He even wrangled his dad into a duet on one of the songs.)
*For the record, Ben suggested I omit some of the "salty language" in his contributions, but I decided not to (their inclusion is not gratuitous). So far he hasn't noticed.
I have truly loved working on this project. When we first started out, I think we felt our differences in style would be the most interesting factor, both for us and for the listener. Indeed, we discovered our differences to be intriguing, but we also learned it is our similarities that are most compelling, most unifying. If you were to observe the day to day style and methods of education happening at my house and at Ben's, you couldn't possibly dream up two more divergent scenarios. Upon closer examination, however, you would see that we are actually more alike than we are different. We are parents who love our kids deeply, and who are invested in providing a life and education that we think best suits them and our respective families. Isn't that what all of us parents are trying to accomplish?
This is why we need to gather... to learn from, and to listen to each other. Even better if there is some good coffee between us.
Home Grown Education is unlike any workshop I've been a part of. In fact, I would not call it a workshop at all. This is not a "how to" type of thing; our talks do not reflect a prescriptive dialogue. Instead, they discuss our shared experiences while offering a supportive and celebratory voice for our differences. And most importantly, Home Grown Education gives us a forum to answer your questions and support your homeschooling journey in a private, encouraging setting.
So, while this project may be unlike my previous offerings, it fully contains my heart. Our kids, family, friends, community... this is everything.
If this sounds good to you, then pour your favorite brew, grab some knitting (although I'm pretty sure Ben will not be knitting), and join the conversation. We'd love to see you there.
You will be emailed immediate access to Home Grown Education upon purchase.
(Email will be sent to the address associated with your Paypal.)