I've been a little silent online lately because I've begun another adventure. I have been working tirelessly to successfully launch the Scott Family Classical Homeschool Academy. My wife and I both believe that the most important thing we can leave this world is well-raised children. Because I travel about 200 days a year (often to some pretty cool, historically significant, places), and because the school district in which we live only allows students 10 excused absences a year, my wife and I decided, after much prayer,
wise counsel, and diligent research, that we would homeschool our three children. This would allow us to stay together as a family, educate our children, and expose them to some really special places around the country and the world. If our circumstances were different, and my work did not require me to travel so much, I doubt we would have come to this conclusion. Nonetheless, we realize the need to do what works best for us and our family.
So, for the last eight months, I have been spending time with mentors I’ve met through my doctoral studies who have informed and enhanced my own approach to education- I’ve been sitting with Piaget, conversing with Vygotsky, dining with Erickson, hanging out with Fowler, and philosophizing with Frankena. I’ve been gathering and evaluating materials, studying curriculum, and creating a plan that I believe would help our children flourish into well-read, well-spoken, well-traveled, God-honoring, globally-minded, people-loving citizens of the world, for the sake of the world.
In order for those outcomes to be realized in the lives of our children, I knew that I would have to treat the education of my own children the way I treat the education of the audiences to whom I speak- I always give them my best. For the last fifteen years, I have been on the road more than half of the year, and, for almost every single presentation I’ve made, I have woken up four hours before work (usually around five in the morning) to prepare myself physically, spiritually, and mentally for the day ahead. Whenever I have given myself that much time to get myself together, I have usually been at, or near, my best. With my own children, I’m committed to being my best.
Because our Augusts are always so busy, we decided to start our school year at the beginning of September. So we just finished our first week of schooling, and I must say that this has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done! To be sure, teaching a kindergartener, a first, and a second-grader at their respective, developmentally appropriate levels is very hard work, but incredibly enjoyable work. To meet each of them on their levels, last week I prepared and taught thirty-two lessons in math, spelling, grammar, reading, writing; history, geography, science, and fine arts, I spent several hours each evening to prepare for the next day. After this first week, I think I am going to try to prepare all my lesson plans for the following week on early Saturday morning (spent about 4 hours preparing today, and still have 3 more days for which to prep!) In any case, this week was, as my kids say, “epic!”
On the first day of school, I wanted to set a tone for the kids that I take teaching them seriously, and that our time in school together is very important. So I dressed up, putting on my suit and tie, and my dress shoes. Christopher wasn't having it. Halfway through the day, Christopher asked, "Dad, why do you have on your work clothes?" I replied, "Because I'm working." Still unconvinced, he said, "Yeah, but you know you don't need to do all that for us, right?" All I could do was smile (We'll see how the suit and tie hold up).
I have already begun to learn from them. After the first night of school, at bedtime, Christopher said, "Dad, I like homeschool better than my other school, but can we do one thing a little differently?" Curious, I replied, "Sure, buddy, like what?" "I would like to stand up a little bit more during the day," he shared. So, the next day, I got them a lot more involved in the lessons, and things went more smoothely. While teaching them, they are already teaching me. Sometimes I teach teachers to humble themselves and become students of their students; to learn about them, from them, and with them. Doing so allows teachers to become much more effective with their students. Well, this week, I had to do that with my own children, and I must say, I enjoyed it. That little feedback from him prompted me to adapt my lesson plans to his learning style, and that little correction has already helped me grow as a teacher.
Finally, this week has already given me a much greater appreciation for what all you teachers have been doing every day. Of course, I have always respected and honored the work of teachers, but being this involved in the day-to-day education of my own children, has surely deepened my veneration of educators exponentially.
When time permits (between teaching my own children, speaking around the country, working on my doctorate, and keeping my wife happy), I will post updates about this new adventure that we’re on.
For those of you who are teachers, or who have homeschooled your own kids, what pointers can you give me as I embark upon this journey? Thanks for your work.
Turning the Page, again.