|NOT a selfie!|
Photo credit: patheos.com
Right now, the prospect of homeschooling is weighing heavily on my heart. It started because I am just now exploring the kindergarten process for Noah, who just turned 5 and will be eligible for
|The ideal classroom|
I have not seriously considered homeschooling before now but as I tour schools and listen more
carefully to families participating in the public school system, I question if mainstream education is the right place for us. The thought that I'm committing truancy if I keep Noah home from school to do something really cool instead or because he needs a do-nothing day to recharge his batteries chafes me. I'm conjuring childhood memories of elementary school boredom and remembering just how much learning time was devoted to citizenship and crowd management (saluting the flag, raising one's hand to speak, standing in line, asking to use the restroom, etc). I am reluctant to give up the best hours of our days with Noah, to relinquish the flexibility of our lives, to give up so much of his upbringing to teachers and (more accurately) peers. At the elementary level, in a room of 2 teachers and 25 kids, I'm not at all convinced the quality of education is any better than I would provide at home, one to one.
But, there are many buts. Noah's attending kindergarten will allow me to increase my work hours and we could really use the money. Right now, paying for two children in childcare negates the financial benefits of working more than part time for me. Also, I cherish daily no-kid time and it is essential to my wellbeing so rejecting the free childcare component of mainstream schooling is a huge burden. That's 35 hours of free childcare a week. Do I really have the patience to teach my child how to read, one sound at a time? I love teaching him in an unstructured, ride-the-interest-wave sort of way but learning how to hand write at the kitchen table is a whole 'nother level of drudgery and repetition.
I know this about myself: sometimes I am in love with an idea and the reality is not nearly so enjoyable. I have to really kick the tires of my fantasies, you know? The full color fantasy surrounding this homeschooling notion is of the DIY, homesteading, large family-having, natural rhythms-keeping Crunchy Lady Madonna. (You can see examples here and here.) Even though I don't sew, we're done having children, and are committed to urban living (seriously - what's left?!), I am drawn to the freedoms I associate with this lifestyle. It's a poignant image for me: a close family meeting many of its own needs and rejecting societal trends and values that do not benefit them.
I'm moving forward with all options on the table: seeing what comes of the public school process, connecting with homeschooling families, trying out more formal learning scenarios with Noah and learning about different ways to homeschool. I am struggling with the uncertainty but trying to enjoy the not-knowing what's next. I welcome your feedback!