Sunday, January 15, 2017

Not Sure You Can Do It? Do a Summer Homeschool first

Nope, I didn't breastfeed my kids. I'm not built to and, I don't want to.  In fact, until I watched a particular Family Guy episode, the thought never crossed my mind.  However, I do want to home school my kids and the question is, can I?  Can I serve as a perpetual intellectual lactation machine?

I'm not worried about if I can teach them.  What I'm worried about is being with my kids all day long, every day, providing providing providing.  I love my girls, but operating in this role, ensuring the nectar of education is flowing is definitely a sustenance providing role that has to come from some place very deep within.  Even with self-driven kids, which I have, every single day helping them along all day long may prove too much.  If you believe the commonly male/female role accepted history, it is the woman who stays with the kids while the man goes out to hunt down the food.... so maybe like breast feeding, I'm simply not wired for this stuff.

So, how did I test the waters? Glad you asked, because that's what this post is about: how to try out homeschooling before jumping in

I had learned from a different major family lifestyle shift that it is best you sample the new scenario for a prolonged period before you go for it (another story for another post, but it involves living on a sailboat!).  For homeschooling, what I decided to do was do school for an entire summer with them.  That is, put them in Daddy Home Summer school.  I wanted to see if I could handle their education for the entire period, 11 weeks.

I looked at it this way, worst case scenario is that it totally sucks and we were miserable.  If that happened, we could just stop and they would go into regular summer mode, knowing that they would be back to their traditional school with no interruptions.... no harm no foul.  Any case better than that, then at least the girls would have a good start on the next years school material. All this, and I got time with my kids.

In June of 2016, as soon as the school year ended for my kids at their public charter school, they entered Daddy Home Summer school.  This would be a trial run for all of us.  We knew that they would be going back to their regular public charter school in September (see The Middle Way post), but for the summer it would be daddy school all the way.

I had work packets ready, ideas for field trips, proposed daily schedules, cool projects, evaluation criteria, and more.  We would be attacking material from every area of study that they would face when they returned to their public charter school the next school year, 3rd and 5th grade stuff.

Over did a dune buggy engine once,
making long distance driving not feasible.
This test summer run provided a tremendous amount of actual feedback and, like the time I designed an engine for my dune buggy, I found that not everything worked as my mind had planned.  Some things better, some things worse, but that it was all about balance.

Doing the Daddy Home Summer school before going Full Monty tested the waters in a number of areas, allowing me to refine my operating model.  However, the most important learning and the main reason I even did this trial run was to ensure that I could, in fact, do this week after week after week.

So, nope ... I can't breastfeed, and I really don't want to.  I can, however, homeschool for weeks on end, and totally enjoy it and myself.  Wahoo!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Our Homeschool Charter

Before upgrading my life to become a homeschool dad, I spent a lot of my time in the active and formal creation and application of "Strategy" to help target and guide organizations. So when I read a blog post about constructing a charter for your own homeschool, I thought "well damn, that makes a lot of sense!"

The homeschool charter becomes a formalized outline of your strategy.  That is, at a very high level, in the universe of all things that could be done, what will you do and wont do.  It also helps capture the fundamental beliefs that drive your approach to homeschooling and education. It becomes a way of keeping decisions aligned so that you can achieve and reach a goal, when there is uncertainty and unknowns before going in.

Below you will find the homeschool charter that I've developed thus far.  It will no doubt morph over time, as all good strategies do.  Oh, I've named our school Exerevno Academy (I thought naming the home school and having a mascot was a good idea too!)

Homeschool Charter of Exerevno Academy

I. Vision 
 - A world of Self-Sufficient, additive members of the human race

II. Mission
 - To Create Self-Reliant, effective members of society who better the human race 

III. Philosophy
 1. Each human being has a right AND obligation to grow to their full potential. This is only accomplished by pushing on ones perceived boundaries to see if they have reached their own true limits. 

 2. Leveraging the natural tendencies of curiosity, creativity, and resilience, Exerevno Academy provides an environment that cultivates a behavior of  reaching beyond the individuals perceived constraints of the mind, body, and soul thereby enabling the individual to  grow throughout their life time in pursuit of their maximum potential.  

 3. Exerevno Academy provides a challenging environment that cultivates a fearless love of the exploration of life.  Exerevno students enter the world Intellectually, Physically, and Spiritually stronger than most, ready to carry humanity forward.

 4. Actual experience is a far superior teacher to theoretical constructs.  As such, Exerevno Academy aggressively seeks to provide its students with experience based learning opportunities. 

IV. Colors
 - Silver, Gold, and Purple

V. Mascot
 - Dragon

VI. Strategy of Exerevno Academy
 1. Aggressive development in the Student an appreciation and application of feedback loops
 2. Emphasize the perspective pillars of Philosophy and Strategic Thought
 3. Favor learning techniques that are pragmatic over those solely borne of, and use only in, the academic world

VII. Tactics of Exerevno Academy
 1. Encourage self-driven exploration allowing the students to dwell in areas most interesting to them
 2. Foster self-driven analysis of an area under consideration through Science, Spirituality, and History
 3. Cultivate self-driven inclusion in the human race with extensive travel
 4. Grow self-driven problem solving skills by posing challenges, questions, and the like through scenario and word problems 
 5. Improve self-driven knowledge consumption with the exploration of a variety of learning models and memorization techniques

VIII. Operations of Exerevno Academy
 1. Daily practice of Martial Arts, Writing, Problem Solving, and Creative Pursuits
 2. Require each student to create and operate their own business throughout their tenure at the school.
 3. Frequent game play with games requiring strategic thought

IX. Fundamentals
 1. Feedback Loops
 2. Regular Daily Movement 
 3. Metrics and Analysis

(Copyright 2016)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

About XYHomeschool Blog

This blog exists to share the views and experiences of a homeschool lead by a dad.

About This Blog:
A vast majority of homeschool blog sites are by moms leading the homeschool show; not so here, as I'm all dude.  The language, perspective, and examples offered up will most certainly be from a guys point of view and will probably offend someone at some point.  It is updated as frequently as I feel moved to do so, which currently feels like once every couple of weeks.  I intend for this blog to 1. cheer on other guys homeschooling their kids with posts that will resonate (no hair color advice here, I'm bald!) 2. inspire other guys to take on this amazing experience and 3. share potentially unique homechool approach ideas and perspectives.  You can read the inaugural blog post outlining the manliness impetus here: Homeschooling Needs Testosterone

About Our Family:
Yep, I'm the luckiest dude on the planet.  These are my ladies!
We are a family of 4: mom, dad, daughter (b. 2005), and daughter (b. 2008).  Our daughters are remarkable, with each having distinct personalities and a variety of interests.  Both are voracious readers, easily consuming a book a week.  My eldest loves science fiction, like Harry Potter, Eragon, and all of Peter Jackson's books.  My youngest loves biographies and factual books, with President Lincoln being her favorite person in history and Giraffes being her favorite animal. Both are avid martial artists, having been training rigorously since 2013 and have both earned Grand Champion titles at different tournaments.    My wife is employed full time as an accountant (controller) and I'm home with the students.  Both my wife and I have multiple degrees (wife BBA Economics/Finance and an MBA, husband BS (Cum Laude) Physics and an MS Computer Science) all from University System of Georgia state schools).  We've both been road warrior consultants in our fields, have both had tremendously successful professional careers in the corporate world, and we have run 3 of our own companies along the way too. Before all this awesomeness, when we first got married back in 1991, I was an enlisted soldier in the US Army.  In 2005, when we decided to have children, we agreed that one of us would be home full time.  My wife took the first watch at home, birthing them and raising them until they were both in school (about 10 years).  Once our kids were both in the common/public school system and my wife employed, I started the shift into their primary care person, leaving my career.

About Our Homeschool:
Our plan was to let our daughters enjoy the common/public elementary school system as long as we could, carefully monitoring their growth, values, and environment.  We knew that we would have to pull them out at some point, with the absolute evacuation grade being 6th (the start of middle school). Until then, we would build homeschool prototypes doing afternoon supplimental home school, summer home school, and the like to build out our homeschool model and approach. This tuning and adjusting has resulted in a fluid learning environment wherein our girls can learn at their pace, be self-driven, follow their interests, not see knowledge as containerized, and enjoy learning as a life activity.  They use a variety of learning vectors to include online tools like Khan Academy and Florida Virtual School, groups like 4-H and ToastMasters, camps like Space Camp, travels like going to Egypt, community offerings like museums and zoos, nature experiences like extended camping, pencil and paper exercises through worksheets, and more.   All of these mechanisms fit nicely within our codified approach to homeschooling, as captured in our Homeschool Charter.