There are some revelations I have had in homeschooling my children. Concepts, that as a public school parent following public school philosophies, I was unaware existed. And today is the day I would like to share them with the world. (They directly relate to the title.)
- I am more than capable of teaching my own children. Because I am the expert on my child, and I am a capable and resourceful adult, I do not need to be the expert on specific subjects.
- Other families are not homeschooling for the same reason I am.
- Homeschoolers are what I affectionately call “Fringe People” because they are on the fringes of society for WAY more reasons than homeschooling. (Relates back to #2)
- There are subjects I love facilitating. Writing and math and art and history are some that come to mind. And I hated history in high school.
- There are subjects I’d rather pay someone else to teach. For me this includes science and banjo. I have no clue how to teach banjo.
- The evolution and creation debate is a real thing.
- I am in the minority as a homeschooler living here in the deep south by taking the Bible symbolically.
- Right before I started homeschooling someone asked me if I was on the “hippie” or “Christian” side of homeschooling. I didn’t understand the question. Now I do.
- I have rediscovered who I am by giving up my daily ME time and instead keeping my kids with ME. This is not to say that I don’t still need ME time….
- The relationships within our family unit have grown stronger, and I know my kids in a way I never knew I was even missing.
- 4-H is for all types of kids. Not just the farm kids.
- Technology is creative.
- Screen time is important.
- My kids are motivated. To learn. Without my interference. Saturday afternoons while I nap provide weekly proof.
Which brings me to: Why the Learn Bravely Inclusive Cooperative?
Our family has embraced homeschooling and looks forward to continuing. Yet as my children get older, there are certain subjects I do not feel confident in teaching to a degree that would truly challenge my boys’ potential. Knowing that AP Chemistry wouldn’t be my strong suit from the onset of this adventure, I have been researching options that homeschoolers use to teach higher level courses.
What I have found is lots of co-ops. Co-ops are groups that meet weekly or more to study and socialize. Most written work is still done at home, but students can work in groups and/ or receive the benefits of having various parents that ARE experts in some particular subject.
Unfortunately, the co-ops I have found do not fully align with my personal beliefs or are too far from where we live or are specifically secular or only meet one child’s needs. Now, we have friends that participate in these co-ops and are thriving. The ones I have considered are well run and offer some intriguing options. These could be viable choices.
In my heart there is not a creation debate. My God’s creativity never ceases to amaze me, and it also does not cause conflict with evolutionary theory for me. So when we talk about high school science courses, this becomes a conflict with some of my best co-op choices.
We really don’t want to drive an hour and a half. My favorite co-op would require travelling to our state capital weekly. This is just too much. I also cannot handle two different co-ops in order to cover both children. I need one, cohesive environment.
We are not secular people. Religion and spirituality and faith and an idea of a being larger than ourselves fascinates more than just Christians. Some of my most enriching experiences in life come from stepping out of my familiar and into another person’s reality. Eating dinner with our Hindu friends and my father’s description of an African wedding ceremony and a Seder meal led by a Rabbi and the funeral spoken completely in Spanish for a sweet friend (complete with a Mariachi band) are cherished memories. I want more than “secular” for my children. If they mention faith or discuss spirituality in co-op, I consider that a rich blessing.
Because of these challenges, one day I started discussing with friends what I would love to see for my children in my “dream co-op”. This included collaborative learning techniques and collaboration in the planning of courses among teachers and students, friendships, SCIENCE! classes, flexible structure, academic rigor, help in incorporating technology, stability, and accountability. That day was the start of Learn Bravely Inclusive Cooperative.
Learn Bravely encompasses what I want for my children. (See my list of revelations.)
It’s mission statement is as follows:
Learn Bravely seeks to encourage interests and develop friendships through a collaborative and structured learning environment for our children. We offer interactive classes using inquiry-based, student-focused techniques. Our online component allows students to continue exploring and collaborating between class sessions. We ultimately want our children to have the courage to pursue learning passionately and to think critically along the way.
By starting Learn Bravely Inclusive Cooperative, we embrace a new path for educating our children. Hopefully we can also help bridge gaps others may have also experienced through homeschooling their children. For me personally, the title Learn Bravely embraces what it feels like to start such a venture, and we are very excited to see Learn Bravely grow through both the students and the families it serves.