As you read through the book The Love of Learning and this blog, you may notice that everything is written from Aaron's perspective. That's because I'm the one who loves the writing part of learning. Annette, on the other hand, enjoys the research part of of learning. Though the words you read are mine, the ideas are all hers.
As I look back on our lives, I can honestly say that we never really set out to homeschool our kids. As a matter of fact we are both credentialed teachers and have spent considerable amounts of time in public school classrooms. When the time came to send our oldest son off to kindergarten, neither of us were enthusiastic about sending him to school. Since I actually taught at our neighborhood school, that was the only real option and I knew it well enough to know that it was not an option.
We knew there were homeschoolers out there, but we didn't know much about the idea. Right about that time, homeschool-based charter schools were just starting to emerge in Southern California. There was one charter school in our area that supported homeschoolers but also offered on-site classes one day per week. This felt like a good fit for our son, so we gave it a try.
Little did we know this little guy was about to take us on a long journey of learning ourselves. He was clearly a bright child long before he reached school age, but as it turned out, he was not exactly within the normal range of things. His intellect and passion for learning were both evident early on so my wife spent hours researching learning styles and educational philosophies.
We tried lots of ideas and, as a result, have developed what the experts term an "eclectic" style of homeschooling. We take a little of this and a little of that and put it all together.
The most significant influence on us has been the Thomas Jefferson model, but we also incorporate the unschooling model as well as what I like to call the "Go To the Library" model. I'm always a little cautious when I tell people that we are unschoolers since my experience with this model often results in undisciplined kids, which our version of unschooling clearly avoids.
Now that kid number six out of seven will be starting his official school years in the fall, we feel not only comfortable with our philosophy, but we are passionate enough about it to share it with others.
People who know us well automatically write off our success as homeschoolers to the fact that our kids are just smart. Yes, our oldest really is very smart, but each of our kids have different strengths, yet somehow they all share the same passion for learning. What's frustrating is that our ideas are often written off because other parents feel that their kids aren't smart enough for them, but no one ever stops to consider that perhaps our kids appear smart because of the way they were educated.