Laura Brodie’s 10-year-old daughter, Julia, needed a break from her regimented elementary school. In Love in a Time of Homeschooling, Brodie writes about her decision to give her child “one ideal year of learning,” a child’s sabbatical.
The monotony of fill-in-the-blank history and math worksheets would be replaced with studying dinosaurs and Mayan hieroglyphics, conversational French, violin lessons, and field trips to art museums, science fairs, bookstores, and concerts.
As an adjunct professor and writer in Lexington, Virginia, Brodie was able to teach her daughter at home for a year.
With more technology-enabled parents working at home, short-term homeschooling could take off, writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post.
Within the homeschooling community, Brodie says, these breaks are no longer considered unusual. Home Education Magazine calls them “emergency homeschooling.” Your kid is being bullied. A hurricane has wiped out your city. This year’s classroom teacher is not a good fit. Your spouse gets a sudden transfer. So you teach the child for awhile.
At her home school, Julia wrote every day on a subject of her own choice and read for an hour daily.
Julia was ready for the excitement of a new middle school after our fifth-grade year together, but she was soon dismayed by the elimination of recess and “shockwaves of homework” (her words). There was also a lot of multiple choice and much less writing than we did in homeschooling, but her school was filled with good teachers and she liked the band and tennis team. Still, she says in the book that “School is a lot like sitting in an airport. You learn how to pass the time.”
I had a journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan when my daughter was in fifth grade. Due to joint custody issues, she started fifth grade at her old school, then transferred to an Ann Arbor school for five months, then returned to her old school for the rest of the year. She was way ahead academically, so I figured the disruption wouldn’t matter. It didn’t. The experience was great, thanks to her great attitude. (She still has credit in the Good Egg Bank.) If she’d been having trouble in school, I wouldn’t have done it, however.