About Oyster Academy
This site is about our homeschooling journey and serves as a place to discuss some of the issues that we face as we work towards readying our daughter for the world. Out goals are, in part, to encourage, in her, a life-long love of learning and to help her develop the skills (both basic and advanced) that she will need to meet her future head-on.
It is also where we posts some of the lessons and assignments in which we are currently engaged. You will get a glimpse of some of our work and be able to chime in on discussions too.
I’m Kristina Brooke, and I wear many hats. My most important role in this chapter of my life is Mom. I am OK with being “just a mom,” because that phrase means so much! A mom, I am a teacher, a role model, a counselor, slayer of monsters, soother of boo-boos, protector, friend, and the first line of defense in my daughter’s life.
I’m a bit of curricula junkie and am always looking for ways to make learning fun and natural. Despite being a die-hard functional planner, I struggle with consistency and overthinking. So, we change things up often, and I am not afraid to try something else if what we are currently doing is not working.
I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, playing video games and cooking, and in some ways exercising. I was lucky enough to have met my husband in college, and we have cultivated a friendship that has sustained us through some hard times. And I believe that I was lucky enough to have my daughter at a time when the world was beginning to make sense to me. Timing is everything!
But I know people are curious as to what qualifies me to write about homeschooling.
About My Educational Background
So, if it makes you feel better, I have a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University, and a Bachelor of Science in English from the State University of New York, College at Oneonta. But don’t go giving me your approval yet; you haven’t heard the whole story.
At seventeen I graduated from Columbia Prep, a posh private school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and went on to the State University of New York, Albany where I failed every class but one in my first semester, and all my classes in my second. I managed to talk myself back into the university, albeit on probation and spent my second year there doing everything possible to ensure that I failed out again. I didn’t, but between working two jobs, the teenage and college angst, and attending classes part-time, I learned that this education thing in the way they wanted me to do it was not for me.
Going to class every day when I could learn on my own? THAT was not for me. I wanted freedom. Autonomy. I wanted it on my terms. So, I left SUNY Albany and went to Westchester Community College for a year so I could earn my General Education credits. Then I transferred to SUNY-Oneonta. There I was forced to go to class (although I did not always), but I also discovered Independent Study. Finally. Something that worked for me!
Let’s not forget that I was educated in various schools and at home by people who claimed to know what they were doing but dropped the ball with me on so many levels. Luckily, I also had a mom who fed my reading habit and made it clear that education was not only essential but a requirement! So my desire to learn was formed not in the classroom but at home where I was given the freedom to learn what I wanted to when I wanted.
OK, but how do I earn money?
About My Work
Five years after I entered the alternative certification program, The New York Teaching Fellows, I resigned from my position as an English Teacher. Frustration, frequent illness, and anxiety compelled me to leave the classroom to work towards living the life that I had dreamed of creating. I wanted to run a business, and I wanted to focus on homeschooling my daughter as I firmly believe that until there is real educational reform, our children don’t stand a chance in the overcrowded, under-staffed, test-centered schools of today. So I went rogue.
I am a seasoned web designer and developer. In the past, I was a Creative Director and Lead Designer/Developer on numerous projects including personal websites, corporate websites, and local government web projects. Currently, I am an Automattician with Automattic, Inc., the company behind WordPress.com, Jetpack, Akismet, Simplenote, and others (We’re hiring).
About Dre, My Husband
My husband Drew is my rock. He parents (not babysits) and is my partner in this homeschooling journey. He
was a bit skeptical about homeschooling as he doesn’t want our daughter
to miss out on the experience of school. However, he trusts my judgment
and has agreed to take this walk with me. We have known each other for a
long time and have grown with one another over the years.
About Our Child
And then there is our child, The Tornado. They are the perfect combination of both their father and me. That means they have our stubbornness and determination but also our compassion and empathy. They love cars, garbage and fire trucks, planes, dolls, tutus, the color
purple green, and art.
Then there is Rex, our dog. He’s the protector and chose our daughter above all the other would-be-owners at the Farmer’s Market. He was a stray, and we’ve swept him up in the empathetic nature of our family. He’s a raw-food doggy and rarely likes going to the dog park. He loves ice, feet, and barking at trucks when they pass through our apartment complex.
The newest addition to our family is Gutenberg (aka Gutie). He’s enjoys being picked up, being given hugs, licking everything in site, chewing through stuffed animals included this for heavy-duty chewers, fighting with The Tornado, and jumping high. We saved him from a breeder who was made that her prized Yorkie got knocked up by a Boston Terrier. He was the last of the litter.