Last week, our friends at Beth Spera in Domino posted about A New Breed of Homeschooler
and it got me thinking about our family's experiences.
We have been homeschooling since our oldest was born in 1985. She has since graduated from our homeschool and is now attending College, working toward her Landscape Design Certificate. Over our years of homeschooling we have participated in many different activities and homeschooled in different ways. We started out doing mainly unit studies and have since moved toward a more literature based learning in most subjects. During our homeschool adventure we have seen the face of homeschooling in our area change tremendously. When our oldest was young, we had a group of friends that we got together with every week and we did many learning things together, everything from sewing to a unit on trees. We participated in 4H together with these other families and the children formed friendships and had fun learning together. For the most part these times were very valuable to our family, sometimes they were frustrating, which is a common result of working with other people. Currently our family has very few outside activities for school, we do work with another family once a week. I work with my boy#1 and her Boy #1 and we are working through Apologia's Biology Book. She takes my boy#3 along with her three youngest children and is doing a geography study with them. During the fall my boy#2 was at football practice during this time and now works on his own school work. Although this arrangement is working for now, it is not exactly the way I would envision a group time.
The truth of the matter is, if I wanted to have a group learning time again, it would be almost impossible or I would have to travel about an hour to get together with some friends who still homeschool on their own. There is a local group of homeschoolers that co-op together, but they offer very few activities for older children. Most of the people that we know that still homeschool are using school based programs, online or otherwise. Very few people that we know homeschool all the way through high school on their own. It is not that these programs are inherently bad - but they have definitely changed the face of homeschooling.