I’m currently on hiatus from blogging (read more about the reasons why), but want to continue to provide interesting and insightful content on my blog in the meantime. For a while I will have guest posts from various bloggers interspersed with posts by me when I am moved to write. Thank you for your understanding. — Amy (CDG)
This guest post comes from a good personal friend of mine named Jen who blogs at The Evolving Homemaker.
How We Came to Home School
I had always been fascinated in the idea that kids could learn MORE than what they learned in conventional classrooms. I think the first time I had ever heard about homeschooling I was in college and heard about a little girl who was attempting to fly across the country solo. While the trip ended in tragedy, I started to wonder why it was we arbitrarily sent our kids to school and how much more excited they might be about learning, if they had a little flexibility, more time to explore things they were interested in, and more freedom to discover themselves.
As I was becoming a new Mommy, I thought for sure we would home school. I had lofty dreams of how our days would be and how much smarter my kids would be than so many others.
And then motherhood gave me a reality check. Toddler-hood. Woah. Would my kids learn from me? Was I patient enough to teach them? Patient enough for even the hard days? Was I creative enough? Organized enough? Would I be able to still do laundry, home school, and have any iota of a personality and passions to call my own?
Then I started being haunted by panic attacks. I was under a lot of stress and doing a lot at the time. I was volunteering, heavily involved in the political season, lobbying, and raising two small children and trying to be a ‘good enough’ house goddess too. Whatever it is that looks like.
So I sent my son to kindergarten at a local Montessori that had just opened. I was sure they would be able to do it better than I could. After all, they certainly knew more than I did about educating young minds, this would be better for him.
Except it wasn’t.
He began to show signs of anxiety. He wasn’t learning to read there. I sat in one day to find him not partaking in the ‘works’ but playing ‘cars’ with the tape dispenser instead. He didn’t like to go. Every morning he would ask, “Is today a school day?” and if I said, “Yes.” he would yell, cry, and be mean to his sister. He would come in the car in the afternoon like a pressure cooker and burst in a fit of energy.
With two weeks left in the school year, they told us he should be held back in Kindergarten.
We decided instead to try it at home like we always thought we would. With both kids.
It has been fantastic. And hard. And scary. And frustrating. And fun. They both have time to play, they are learning to read, and they are exploring their own interests. We are all learning more about ourselves and our passions. I am learning that I can do it, that doubt and fear are not infallible. That I am a ‘good enough’ Mom, and that yes they need math, but they also need my presence.
I wanted to home school because I wanted my kids to learn to think outside of the box. That life isn’t just about going to school, getting a job, and then working for 50 years, retiring, but all the while hoping you make it to retirement without a heart attack or cancer. Nope, the marrow of life is at their fingertips any second they decide to find it. That is what I want them to learn, that they are the creators in their own journey, and while we use some textbooks, I don’t think they need a textbook to understand that.
Jen Parsons is Mama bear to two babes 7 and 5. While she would like to be better at parenting, crafting, farming, sewing, ceramic scouring, knitting, homeschooling, travelling, book writing, domestic laundering, boxing refereeing, spousal engagement, etc., she is learning to realize she cannot do it all but blogs about the journey at www.theevolvinghomemaker.com.
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