Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Early Years, Part Deux

As I said in a previous post, homeschooling wasn't actually legal in Pennsylvania until 1988. I was six years old, and I remember going with my family to the state capital building as a field trip to learn about the government. My parents took my sister and I on a lot of field trips, which is a side effect of having your mom as your teacher... any excuse for learning is exploited to its fullest potential. I have photos of myself touring the 'home of the Republican party' in Wisconsin and looking *very* grumpy and annoyed. But, I digress...
After homeschooling was legalised in PA, my parents jumped into it with a lot of excitement. They bought curriculums, joined homeschooler support groups, and invested in many, many books. The law in Pennsylvania requires homeschooled children to complete a certain number of days of logged schoolwork, keep a 'portfolio' of assignments completed or any other examples of schoolwork, and meet with a certified teacher who would evaluate the student's progress and decide whether or not she could pass the grade. We were also required to take achievement tests in 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades. My mother made us take these tests twice *every* year, and each time we scored off the charts. After my 6th-grade test, I scored as a 12th grader (last year of high school) in all subjects.
Our early years of homeschooling (my 1st-6th grades) my parents ran what could really be described as a 'homeschool'. Although my mother worked part-time, she gave us assignments to complete with our babysitters while she was at work, and when she got home we would have 4 hours of school in a mock schoolroom in the basement. We were also active in homeschool co-ops during elementary school, completing science fair and history fair projects (I dressed up as Anne Boleyn, 'pre-beheading' one year), spelling bees, geography bees, MathCounts, Math Olympiad, etc. I played soccer, the piano, the violin, sang in choir, participated in church activities, drama, Girl Scouts, took horseback-riding lessons, did 4-H clubs, etc. Elementary school was really fun, and I learned a lot.

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