That’s right. I quit. I quit my job. To homeschool. The kicker……I quit my job teaching. Educating other people’s children so that I can teach my own. I know. It seems so crazy. INSANE! It’s something I have been toying around with for a long time. I really love teaching (hint…that’s why I became a teacher). But, recently teaching has seemed a little less like teaching and more like….something else. I desire to instill a lifelong love of learning in my kids. So, I decided to just do it. And here we are. Homeschoolers.
I mean….of course good old Deuteronomy 6 is another one of the reasons we decided to just go for it and try out this whole homeschooling thing. “You shall diligently teach your children My words as you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” It’s kind of hard when the kids are away from home more than half of their waking hours.
I also want my kids to be flexible and adaptable. I want them to learn ‘how to learn’ and to L.O.V.E it. I don’t think it’s the best use of limited resources to prepare kids for taking tests when we could encourage them to be lifelong learners. I want them to learn useful skills not just data and information because it will be on the test or because it’s part of a core curriculum.
So, I did it. I quit my job of 15 years and now I’m a brand. new. newbie. homeschooling. mom. Why does teaching my own kids seems like such a daunting task? I have a Masters in teaching for crying out loud. But my own kids. Ummmm. Well, I don’t know about that? They are scary.
So, I spent the summer researching. Oh, so much research. Every single night I was reading books and reviews and pouring over curriculum catalogs. On vacation. No magazines on the beach for me. It was 20+ curriculum catalogs and library books about homeschooling! I was on the search for the perfect curriculum (spoiler alert….it might not exist). After several months of this, my mind was swimming. Obviously. CM, AO, BJU, CLE, CLP, MFW, ETC, HOP, HWT, RFH, MUS, R&S, SL, SM, TWTM, TUAC. I am drowning in a sea of acronyms.
And picking a curriculum might just be the easy part. What is my teaching philosophy? Am I an unschooler? Am I classical or eclectic or Charlotte Mason? Montessori or Waldorf? Should I make a school room? Do I join a co-op or not? If I do join a co-op…which co-op? Piano lessons? Gymnastics? Art classes? Second language?
And what about socialization?
Ahhh. Now that’s a big one. I was actually shocked at how many family members, friends, cashiers, grandmas, single people, neighbors and other random citizens are concerned about this. I thought for sure we had moved past this one. People are really concerned about my kids and their social life. Of all of the questions and doubts about this choice swimming about in my head, I think I am the most comfortable with this one. I mean, socializing with only your peers based on the year and month you were born doesn’t seem like the only way to go. It seems much more organic to learn how to speak with and socialize with people of all ages. Sure there are weird homeschooled kids. But I can assure you there are plenty of weirdos in the public schools, too. PLENTY!
This whole socialization thing, yeah, I’m not worried about. What does keep me up at night is the dumb stuff. Like what about Valentine’s Day party. And ‘eraser tag’. And “Heads Up 7-up”. And parachutes in gym class. And field trips on buses. And having a locker. And Thanksgiving Day turkey school lunch. And fundraisers with prizes. And boring assemblies that get you out of class. And class pizza parties. And bringing a treat to the class on your birthday. And school dances.
These are the things that I loved about school. Yes, I realize that ALL of them have to do with food, or parties or games. What can I say, I’m a party animal. And I also do realize that most of them don’t happen at school anymore anyway, but I just pray that I’m not robbing my kids of these memories. I do know that what I am replacing them with is far more valuable than a hot piece of lunch meat covered in gravy or winning a bouncy ball for selling the most chocolate bars.
I finally chose a curriculum. I actually chose many. I bought no less than 3 full curriculums. I think I may have overdone it. Thank goodness for eBay! And I did decide to make a homeschool room. Mainly because I already owned all the stuff to fully stock several homeschool rooms.
And here we are. We’re several months into it. So far we love it. I mean, it’s been hard to get in a groove. I think the groove will come.
The kids insist on starting the day outside on the porch. They knock and wait for me to open the door and welcome them to our school. They think this is HILARIOUS. I wonder how they’re going to feel about this in January. I am sure the neighbors already think we are crazy and need some serious socialization.
So far I’ve heard some doozies. I calmly requested that my daughter do one more Math problem and there was wailing. Actual tears. I told her to stop crying because I know she never cried last year in school for her teacher. And she told me, through snot and tears, “But you aren’t like a real teacher.” (I knew I should have framed my degrees and hung them on the wall of the homeschool room!) And the very next day she cried AGAIN this time with,“We never do anything fun in homeschool, all we do is work.” NICE! I wanted to scream, “That’s because everything you did last year that you thought was fun was actually mindless busy work meant to fill your day.”
But, instead we grabbed the magnifying glass and went on a nature walk!
Erin Woiteshek writes a blog entitled A Bird And A Bean (her kids nicknames) at www.abirdandabean.com.