GSHE will periodically publish personal stories from families about their home education journeys. We hope they provide insight into the diverse and extensive community we have in New Hampshire, help prospective families get a sense of the amazing array of options available with home education, and encourage a better understanding of home education. Each story is written by the family, not GSHE, and shared with permission.
Read our other Homeschool Portraits here:
My husband and I made the decision in March of 2020 to unenroll our three children (8,8, and 5 at the time) from public school and begin our homeschooling journey. We, like many of you now currently homeschooling, had no idea how this was going to pan out! One thing I was looking forward to was building in weekly field trips and experience-based learning. However, finding a place to visit for a weekly field trip had become quite difficult. Many of the places I wanted to bring the kids for enrichment that also coincided with our studies were admittedly closed (some due to time of year, most due to COVID) and there are only so many state parks/hikes/nature walks I can talk them into per week! That was, until I was willing to think outside the box- or as I like to call it- PIVOT.
With a little bit of convincing, I got our kiddos excited about traveling to all parts of our great state to visit ALL of the covered bridges. There are sadly only 54 remaining covered bridges left to NH. There once was over 400!! With a great interactive map from a fellow granite state homeschool mom, and a wonderful book New Hampshire’s Historical Covered Bridges by Conrad Young we began our passion project. To up our anti and to spread our love of this great state, we decided that each town we visit, we would give back to that community by donating to either their local food pantry, local fundraiser, or supporting a local business in that town.
Some weeks we got a handful of bridges crossed off our list, other weeks it just wasn’t in the cards. We listened to countless podcasts, finished the audio version of The Story of the World Vol. 1, did memory work, and played loads of Carl Spies. We got to visit areas of NH we never otherwise would have seen and by getting lost (just a few times!) and worked our sense of direction muscle, too. But we persevered and finished in just a few days shy of 12 months! A few of my personal favorite bridges; the five standing Railroad bridges (including the oldest one in the country in Contoocook), the upside-down bridge in Franklin (yes, you read that right!) and the covered bridge in Bartlett that is now a gift shop!
I hope this inspires you and your family to tackle a passion project of your own! I have found that sometimes (well a LOT of times) when you start something new (homeschooling in our instance) you have to be willing and open to PIVOTING when things don’t go as planned. Look for the little gifts along the way. We learned how to get lost, how long it takes to reach the border of Canada, how to find a restroom in just about any town, and how much rich history lies outside of museums and parks. These are things that we could never teach in a classroom and should deepen anyone’s conviction on the beauty of homeschooling.
We look forward to 2022 and finding our next passion project!
By Eliza Hale