Friday, September 13, 2013

Homeschool Starts with "H"


It's been on my mind since I was in school myself, thinking ahead to my future kids and the pros and cons of educating at home.  I even wrote a college paper on it.  Despite being an introvert, I loved the social aspect of going to school, and couldn't imagine what I anticipated would be the extreme loneliness and boredom of homeschooling.  And, there are stigmas with homeschooling...

Yet, for some reason, I somehow always thought or felt that it was the way to go.  Especially when I decided during the course of my masters degree that it was essential to teach my yet-unborn children Biblical Hebrew, Koine Greek, and Historical Geography of the Bible--how can you add so much at home to their already heavy school schedules without completely smothering them???  Not to mention the anticipated resistance. 

And then I got married and had real kids about whom to make real decisions.  And my husband has his own ideas about what good education looks like, having attended a great school himself, and we have to wrestle together about what is best for our real children at this present time in life.  Ideals are great, so long as they work in real life!

Our oldest boy is very social.  He can make friends in 30 seconds flat, and they are important to him.  After 2 years of preschool, I really thought there was no chance of getting him to agree to homeschool, because he just loved his teachers and classmates so much.  However, our nomadic life being what it is--with another impending move to an unknown location--combined with his age (his birthday falls 2 days past the cutoff!), made it a little bit impossible to think about conventional school.  (We know he's young.  We were looking for a post-preschool/ pre-kindergarten type of program.)  We couldn't just let him languish for a year, so homeschool was our only option.

At first, the thought of it scared me to death.  I can't keep up as it is, so how on earth can I add such a huge, all-encompassing task to my plate?!  Then I started looking into it, and though still overwhelmed, I started to get excited, because it seemed that the curriculum and activities involved in homeschool were filled with exciting books and projects that I've already been wanting to do with my kids and just never got organized enough to do.  Hooray!!  Then I got excited thinking about how much extra meaningful time I would be able to spend with them, without the nagging thoughts that I should be doing all these other "useful" or "important" things--because school is useful and important, and you just can't argue with it. 

(Not to say that spending time simply playing with your kids is not useful or important, because it hugely is!!!  There's just something about unstructured play time that makes the dishes and the crumbs and the laundry shout a little louder.)

I knew I would never keep up trying to pick and choose from different curriculum and working out my own lesson plans.  But, we couldn't afford the all-in-a-box programs, and I wasn't super-thrilled with the free options we came across (although, to be fair, I did not explore them in any depth; it was more of a first-impressions approach).  So, our solution for the time being is to scour the book lists of highly-acclaimed curriculum and get the same books through the library, while adding in a few extra learning aids and workbooks.  There are only a few things we can't get, and I don't think they're critical. 

I have to admit, I'm feeling absolutely maniacally chaotic!   I am one minute overwhelmed with untamable excitement and fervor...and the next moment am a heap on the floor sobbing about how I'm failing my children in every possible way.  Yeah.  You never would've guessed, but sometimes I can be a drama queen. 

*what I'm afraid of*

Really, the only way I get through every day (whether trying to not push too hard or completely give up!) is to repeat to myself over and over and over:

It's only Kindergarten.  It's only Kindergarten.  It's only Kindergarten

We're going to find our way.  I'm sure of it.  With lots of help from those who have gone before, and most importantly, help from the Author of Knowledge. 

But not before I purge my complaints...
(stay tuned)

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