Home-schooling experience works for Amherst family
Greg (back left), Joanne (back right), Michaela (front left), and Kiona Osowski (front right) are a home schooling family that has recently moved to Amherst from Vermont. The girls are holding animal footprint molds they made on a recent hike. Michaelas is a bear and Kionas a raccoon. Colin MacLean - Amherst Daily News
AMHERST - Every morning when Machaela and Kiona Osowski wake up to go to school they don't have far to go.
Their parents Greg and Joanne have decided to home school their little girls. They would rather their kids learn out in the world instead of in an institution.
And even though the lifestyle has its ups and downs, overall it's been a rewarding experience, said Greg.
"We're trying to create a passion for learning in our kids,"
Every morning the Osowski girls pick a topic out of a hat and go about their daily lessons. They don't usually have a set schedule, said Joanne.
"We did at one point, but it got thrown in the garbage."
The hat system has worked well so far, except for one day when Greg decided the girls absolutely had to do math that day.
"He wrote math on all the pieces of paper," said Machaela.
For Wednesday's lesson she learned about aerodynamics. She constructed a small airplane out of some construction paper and two straws to demonstrate.
"It's not enough to buy a curriculum and sit down," said Joanne.
With a wind up from her little arm and a quick release the plane soars across her family's living room.
Machaela enjoys making things and learning about history, while Kiona would rather be doing math problems. Besides their basic school lessons they learn about music from their mother and the wilderness from their father.
"A lot of people destroy what they don't understand, so hopefully they will appreciate it a lot more," said Greg.
The Osowski's have recently moved to Amherst from Vermont, and they miss the friendships and connections they made with other home schooling families in the area.
But they were lucky enough to find another family nearby Amherst to share their experiences with.
"If the MacLeod's weren't here, this year would have been very hard," said Joanne.
Edna and Ted MacLeod are also new arrivals, having moved here recently from Alberta.
"You really learn to appreciate your children a lot more when they're at home," said Edna.
It's been great to find that connection again but it's always nice to keep your network growing, said Joanne.