It's 2 A.M and a Leap of Faith

It's 2:00 am right now, and I am not sleeping. Insomnia hits me sometimes, and I just can't or don't feel like going to sleep. Maybe it's the fact that the house is quiet for once. Just the sounds of the animals moving around and Annika's radio coming from the monitor.

I have had a lot on my mind lately, school being the front runner. We are about to start year number 7, and I think it's going to end up very different than any other year. Usually we start at the first of July and follow a 4 weeks on, 1 week off sort of schedule for most of the year. This year we discussed it, and the boys decided they would rather follow a more traditional schedule and start in mid-August, after their birthdays.

So I have been thinking a lot lately about school. Thinking about things I have fought against thinking for a very long time because it wasn't school. It wasn't the school I was used to. It wasn't the school I went to. But when it comes down to it, I chose a different path. I chose NOT to send my kids to that school I went to. I wanted different for them for many, many reasons.

I was a good student in school. I tried hard. I worked hard. I got good grades. Do I remember everything I learned? No. Does that affect my day to day life? No. Do I even need half the stuff I learned in school? Probably not.

And every time I sat down to think about planning this next year, I got stuck. Lists of units, book work, standards were piling up. And I couldn't help but think, why does it matter?

Does someone really need to know how to diagram a sentence?

Does a child really need to learn calculus?

Does it matter in day to day life if you don't know the technical names for the parts of speech?

The answer to all of those is no. Unless...

And it's that unless that is what really matters. Think about it.

I am a firm believer that most of what kids learn between Kindergarten and 12th grade can be taught in a ridiculously short amount of time. Meaning that if I taught nothing until one day my son decided he wanted to be a [enter profession] and he figured out what it was that he would need to know to accomplish that goal, he could do it. And end up at the same level as those who were taught yearly through 12th grade.

So, if your future career/life includes sentence diagramming, calculus and adverbs....then yes you need to know that information.

I am also a believer in universal skills. I think that everyone should know how to write, and write well. Knowing how to communicate with others is important. I think life skills are seriously overlooked in today's society. I mean, what use is calculus if you can't feed, house and keep your self clean? And I think that if you know how to learn, that is all you really need to know- until you want to know more, that is.

So where does all of this leave us at the start of the new school year? It leaves me with a leap of faith. That taking a new path is a good thing. That positive things will happen. The specifics are still being worked out, and that is another post all together, but I think it will be a good change. For all of us. 


  1. Oh, Sadie, you really hit home for me with this post! Although I follow you, I don't often comment. This post, however, prompted me to because I feel exactly as you do. I think you are a very fine teacher and mother. I think that is the most important part. The specifics matter less. I am looking forward to seeing this year unfold.

  2. Hi there! I also was up at a horrendous hour this morning, and I, too, am in the mtns of WNC! I like your post - I think of this sort of thing alot, but I always come back to the idea that I'm sad that as a society we've moved away from some of the "classical" education, and I think that is what keeps me focused even when it seems like "who needs this!" I have come full circle to acknowledge the importance of computer literacy. Actually, more than literacy, our kids need to be top-notch on computer skills to compete in a world 20 years from now that we can't envision. So I have loosened up on my "classical" ideas to that extent! ~Dawn

  3. Encouraging and inspiring thoughts!

  4. Encouraging and inspiring thoughts!

  5. Although DD is only 3 1/2 and I have yet to "officially" start homeschooling her, your post rings a bell in my mind. As in learning to learn is the most important thing. Then REAL life skills. What good is knowing the difference between a noun and a pronoun if you can't even boil a pot of water to make pasta or know how to keep yourself healthy?

  6. Having been public, private and homeschooled. I can honestly say anything after 6th grade is NOT new. It does not prepare you to boil water, make change, balance a checkbook, bathe a newborn, speak to a boss anything. High school was totally a useless tool in my life. Just from my perspective. ~Claire

  7. Thanks for this reminder...sitting here trying to prepare for school...feeling totally inadequate.

  8. I enjoyed reading this post. It gave me more perspective into your thoughts and philosophy. I agree with you in that learning to learn is important -- I would call that critical thinking. Unfortunately, what our school system teaches is how not to think and still 'succeed'. If I can teach my kids to be present in their moment, engaging their circumstance and those around them in dialogue, I am sure they will be successful because they can change the world.