This week Maria starts high school not homeschooling. Weird to think the first day of "school" came when she was 15 years old. Still she will not walk the halls of a traditional high school, instead we have found a non traditional path for our very non traditional student :) She will learn under highly qualified professors with intellectual peers in an online environment for gifted students.
Looking back over the years I have truly enjoyed homeschooling her but I always knew that I would "know" when it was time to be done. She always said - "I will homeschool until college" but I think I knew deep down inside there was no way I would be capable of accomplishing that, as bright as I am - she is brigher :)
We spent the past few years being creative and outsourcing individual classes as needed, this worked for awhile but slowly I think we all realized she needed more. Not wanting to jump straight to college, which she honestly would be ready for academically we needed to find alternative solutions. We still live by our "life in balance" mentality here and all of us want her to have a more normal college experience and not rush the social maturity piece. This gives us hope as a positive compromise and step in her academic life. Will report back at the end of the year :)
I still have Ciaran and Sirah at home on our journey together, this year in 8th and 5th grade though typically working ahead in most class areas - with some outsourced high school level classes for Ciaran. Homeschooling has changed for us over the years but there are certain elements that always remian the same. We are committed to finding the best fit and maintaining the flexibility for our learners to help them become life long learners - that means changes every year and holding loosely to some elements while tightly to others.
Recently I took the kids to a working farm near us - and the older two thought I wanted them to be five years old again because I brought them. I think they believed I was trying to relieve the "glory days" of homeschooling with them. In reality I was not, I was bringing Sirah at the perfect age for her to enjoy and learn and they had to come along on the older end - when she came along she was too young to remember. I tried to encourage them to find new things to learn or new ways to look at it - instead of thinking I was making them be five again - they tried but I think they are just not there yet. Like CS Lewis said "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again" - right now we are in the middle where they feel too old - to be expected I suppose. But it won't stop me from doing what is needed :)
I look forward to this year and all that it may bring - it will be exciting to see the growth in each of them and to be part of the process for a little longer.