Archive for Homeschool

Dare I Ask?

By guest blogger, Carolyn Cook.

I decided about a month ago that I would pick up the phone and start asking people questions.

I’m constantly asking questions inside my head.

  • How can I give my daughter the education she needs?
  • What’s the best way to support my aging mother?
  • What do I want to do with my career when my daughter is grown?
  • What adventures are in store for me and my husband?
  • How can I strike a balance between community life and personal life?

I took the plunge and asked one specific question this past month:  how can I give my daughter a great high school education? Should we continue to homeschool, or look at schools? If we look at schools, which ones? If we choose a private school, can we afford it?

I had brought up these questions with my husband and daughter several months ago, but I had never taken the plunge and contacted schools.

I think I was afraid of taking action.

If I didn’t make the calls, I wouldn’t have to make any decisions, and I wouldn’t risk looking foolish for not knowing what to do.

Hmmmm . . . .risk. Aren’t I supposed to be taking risks these days?

So I called a school and asked the headmistress a few questions, and the next thing I knew, I had scheduled a visit.  It’s coming up next month. I told my daughter about it, and to my surprise, she said, “If we’re going to look at one school, I’d like to look at several.” She got on the internet and looked up more schools in our area.  She read their philosophies and wrote down the dates of their open houses.

Will she go to any of those schools? Who knows?

What I do know is that asking one question has opened many doors. My daughter learned to take more initiative in her own education. I learned to risk asking questions – for information, for guidance, for help.

Today, I will ask a question.  Will you?

 is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship. You can now read about her life and insights at her own blog here.

This post first appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog, a project, which has now concluded.

The Risk of Relaxing

By guest blogger, Carolyn Cook.

I’ve taken two tremendous risks in my life: starting a small business, and choosing to home school my daughter.

In both cases, I’m doing something that plenty of other people have done successfully. I have mentors to guide me, friends to support me, and a belief that the rewards will far outweigh the risks.

But I am keenly aware that there are ways each venture could fail, or at least fall short of the hopes I have for them.

Lately I’ve been worrying about the home school venture. My daughter, who is nearly 13, spent two years in school, but we’ve built the rest of her educational experiences around home, community, travel, friends, and family. She reads widely, takes interesting classes, writes well, and has hobbies ranging from aeronautics to ragtime.

Our home school, where I am more a facilitator than a teacher, involves constant negotiation. What does my daughter want to learn next? What does she need?  Having chosen to sidestep traditional schooling, how do I make sure the bases are covered while allowing her the freedom to explore what’s important to her? How do we handle inevitable areas of tension?

I realized as I was writing this blog entry that the biggest risk I could take right now – and the most rewarding – is to relax.

I worry hard about my daughter’s education because it makes me feel like I’m doing something about it. But I’m not:  I’m just worrying. The thing to do now is to stop worrying, stop believing that it’s up to me to “fix” everything.

If I can risk admitting that, I can open myself up to the possibility that life is teaching all of us what we need to know.

Carolyn Cook is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship.

Note: This post originally appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog project, which has now concluded.