Creating a School for Your Child


I love having my daughter home with me. Since I work out of the home part time, she also goes to a part time, play-based program. It all works. In future years we may venture into the school system, but I would like to do it our way. I’m one of Those Parents. The ones who are Difficult (yes, with a capital D). I don’t think that I am difficult on a day to day basis, at least I try not to be. However, I like to be Difficult in the big sense. I like to change things.

That is what I am working to do this year and the years following it. As a nature educator and someone who lives in and grew up in a beautiful natural area, I think that the children here should be outdoors understanding the wonderful wet ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest. I think that nature is an amazing place to learn and grow. I am also inspired by the idea of forest schools, something that is a fairly prevalent concept in Europe but a relatively new idea in North America. In these schools, children play and learn outdoors for much of the day.

This year we have been learning in a parent-led forest cooperative. This fall, we will launch our forest and farm learning group guided by a facilitator. My ultimate goal is to get something here for older children, something that my daughter can attend part time for years to come. I want an outdoor, environmental program for home learners. That’s all. See, I don’t ask for much. And the thing is, I know that it can happen. Check back in a couple of years, you’ll see. There’s a movement afoot, one of growing interest in forests, food, and farming, and our program is garnering so much interest that I am astounded.

Families homeschool for many different reasons. Some of us do it because we want more time with our children (most days!). Some of us do it because we have religious or political ideals that are very different from those in the dominant school system. Some of us do it simply because we don’t think that the schools work for children in our area, or for our child. But what if you could invent a learning structure that worked for your child and your ideals and for other families as well? What would it look like?

Image courtesy of polishpnut at Stock Exchange.