All parents want our children to succeed; we want to give them every opportunity…
It is my sincere belief that as parents we are our children’s first teachers. In that space, it is our job to intimately know what academic setting would garner the most success for them and as parents we are empowered to make that choice. We must be an advocate, by researching, finding and guiding them through that avenue.
I am the mother of four very different vivacious spirits that engage and understand the world through a unique lens and it is because of this, my older two children ages 16 and 15 are educated through a home school option called Connections Academy. Connections Academy is an online k-12 organization the gives parents who feel that their child would matriculate successfully from a home model the ability to mimic a school environment in the home. Prepping for the beginning of the academic year is different from my younger two who are in a more traditional French school setting at an institution named Lycee Francais. The main items on their “school supply” list is two working laptops one of which is supplied by the school. In that same avenue I have to make sure that my internet capacity is strong enough for them to participate in all aspects of their academic life, including access to online textbooks, videos and school events. I have received all of their text books, science lab and art supplies by mail last week so we have etched out a space for them to be able to work on those activities as needed. We make a schedule based on live lesson which are times when all students in that class log on and are taught live by the teacher, the school mandated lessons that are to be completed that week and other activities that they participate in. There is also a home school PE requirement that they have to record each day.
In order for them to maximize the opportunity of having the community and the world around them as their instructor I utilize my surroundings and community which help garner a productive work environment. I have been extremely luck in having a work environment, friends and family that have assisted in carving out space and opportunity for them to be able to complete all of their required work, facilitate and celebrate success and redirect when challenges arise.
My mother taught for 42 years and because of that, I consider myself the product of an educator. She required all of us to adhere to standards that she set that were above and beyond that which was set by each of our academic institutions and I choose to continue that tradition. In addition to the regular school curriculum, I give my children a personalized curriculum that I create based on personal academic, social and activities that engage their desires to participate in the community. They have research reports, language, art and community engagements that they all must participate in which are calculated into the schedule as well. The older two often complete school work by 2pm each day. However, projects, study time and personal standards often have them engaged well into the night and into the weekend.
I am often challenged with questions about their socialization with is fair because home school is often misunderstood and thought of as a type of isolation. However, it is the opposite. They are able to engage with other students and friends in a variety of settings that are focused on their individual strengths and weaknesses. They have opportunities to travel, participate in symposiums, attend conferences, and engage with work in a unique manner. Taylor was accepted to a program at Phillips Exeter Academy this summer where he took classes on social justice, journalism, and United Nations with students from 35 states and 52 countries. Jordan has traveled to Tennessee and participated in Music programs with students from all over the United States. Moreover, they have been able to learn how to self-prioritize and self-motivate, attributes that are often gained through trial and error when students enter college. All parents want our children to succeed; we want to give them every opportunity to be the best people they can. We are blessed that we have options and the ability to make thoughtful choices when it come to our children and their education.