More Home Education thoughts.

Emma will be 5 in 5 months time and I’ve done nothing about finding a school for her. Mostly because I don’t want to send her, and also because I’ve been so busy as always. Despite leaning towards home education, I feel that it would be irresponsible to not at least look at the schools. Then, as I write that I think it’s a stupid idea. If I am going to home school, I must be convinced it’s the better option for us, and if so why research the lesser???

I have been considering home education for a while now, and keep coming back to it. The more I read the more I can’t leave it alone and it’s a bit like what a preacher once said (don’t know who for sure) : “Light rejected is darkness embraced”. I can’t plead ignorance anymore and sometimes I think I should never have started researching it because then I could just be part of the status quo. I guess I’m just plain scared.

My concerns:

1) Do I feel supported enough in this world to do something that is not mainstream, and is often completely misunderstood? (This from another blog but I forget where…..sorry)

2) I worry that it won’t be the best thing for my children if I am stressed and frustrated all the time and unfortunately I am too often that way now. I’m fairly sure that some better parenting skills (read discipline) would help me here, and some days I’m confident that we’ll get there. Other days I feel so completely overwhelmed by the sheer workload, that making changes seems impossible. I feel like a clown spinning plates at the circus and while I know that there’s a better way, I’m too busy spinning to implement change.

3) E says she wants to go to school. We know of home schooled families and I’ve said to her…do you want to go to school, or do you want to learn at home like the C……. family? Her response has been ‘ I want to learn kindy at home and then go to school.’ I realise that it’s not her decision, nor one she can make at her age, but I have those niggling doubts that if I keep her home and she wanted to go to school, it’ll come back to me in years to come.

4) To a lesser extent I fear other peoples opinions and judgements and while I know it’s not their decision how we educate our children, I’m human and it does affect me. Along these lines, I also worry people (particularly friends) will think that I think I’m judging their decision to send their kids to school, or that we think we are superior.

5) Similar to number 3) is I worry that E will struggle with being different to her friends, as they are all getting excited about going off to school and some have already started. I know this is only a temporary thing, as it will settle down once home schooling is normal to her, but never the less, it’s a concern I have.

Having stopped kindy a while back, I don’t get as much child-free time anymore. I’d never wanted to send my children to school to get rid of them and maintain that there’s something wrong if I can’t wait till they turn 5 so I can ‘send them off to school’. I cringe when people say things like…’I bet you’re busy…still, E’s turning 5 soon and then you’ll only have two at home’. Anyway…..here’s some questions I need to answer:

How much time is reasonable for me to have alone? (referring to the home schooling mother)

How to manage your day/week so that you get some time to yourself?

(This could turn into a whole other post, but lately I’ve found our days just too unpredictable and I’d like to implement some sort of routine.) What are some good ways to implement a routine and what are some good things to include?

Some recent reading that inspired this post: Rachael’s Soft answers to Hard questions ,this post on Why we homeshcool my regular visits to Just Enough, and some reasons for home schooling from Hawkhill.

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5 thoughts on “More Home Education thoughts.

  1. hey chick
    (pardon-me-for-jumping-in-here)
    i saw ya at rachael’s and have talked all this stuff around in circles for years and years lol….
    i *love* your questions, and gosh i had so many laughs at *funny you should ask*.

    my “swirling thoughts” about your questions:
    1. for us, home ed’ing is a lifestyle that we as a family choose. when we started, hubby and i said: we’ll just try it for a year, cos ya don’t *have* to go to school until you’re six in NZ. and i did visit the local classroom on two different occasions (as a relieving teacher, i taught a year two classroon of 39 children: yes, thirty-nine. freak me out) a month or two before our firstborn (now seventeen) was about to turn five.
    some days i feel as though we’re swimming upstream. we are. but it’s a lot of fun and games.

    2. expectations/time out. well, i think it all comes down to personality. and the dvd remote. i am just kidding, almost. it’s perfectly ok to just pop everyone in the car and head to the beach. or snuggle up with a big bar of chocolate (i don’t do carob lol) and a pile of books on the couch. or invite people over to break up the temporarily-tense-dynamics, or whatever. the world is our classroom. and it’s good for my kiddos to see me grow and develop as a human.

    3. our experience has been that our kiddos have been educated at home until high school (13 years) when they’ve gone to Daddy’s school, and into Daddy’s maths class lol. our two older kids who have graduated homeschooling have integrated fabulously into the classroom.
    yes, we’re a bit of an eclectic family, we still take things year by year, we still have three boys at home… and who knows what we/they’ll decide when the time comes…

    4. and 1. people will read all sorts of things into whatever our life-choices are: for me it’s been important to mostly surround ourselves with encouragers. of course we welcome any and all into our lives, but i try to Listen to the Encouragers *grin*
    (and you even *thinking* these thoughts is not “mainstream” lol.)
    we’ve been fortunate that our friends have understood our heart, and some of them have jumped overboard into the un-schooling surf too.

    5. three of our five children are extroverts: they get energy from being *with* people, and it’s been really important for me to encourage their friendships with other home ed’ers. then they have friends to play with during the day, and home education takes on a normality. and it’s also been important for my kiddos to maintain/grow friendships with “school” kids.

    ok i have raved long enough!!!!!
    much love and sunshine days
    kate X

  2. Hey, thanks for the link!

    You have raised some very valid questions. That in itself leads me to think that you’d be a good homeschooling mother. Truly. Just the fact that you’re the kind to question things, to carefully consider them, to search for answers… that’s a good mindset for hs’ing.

    Your post here and your 100 Things remind me of something a friend said about herself, “I want to go against the flow, but I also want people’s approval.” Brings about internal struggles, eh? (She, btw, is a homeschooling mom of five.) You’ll likely struggle with those kinds of things, so write down why you’re doing what you’re doing and regularly remind yourself of why you’ve chosen not to be “mainstream.” If you persuade yourself that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, you’re less likely to be swayed by others’ opinions.

    You have written about some of your faults and flaws. Please know that if we all sat around and waited until things presented themselves as perfect in order to start anything, why, we’d never marry, never have kids, and certainly never homeschool. You, as well as your kids, are a growing person… and, frankly, homeschooling is a good (what’s the word?) uh… can’t think… thing to spark the process of change when change is needed. For instance, it’s my goal for our coming summertime off to make a list of things that need to be done weekly, monthly, every three months, etc., around the house, then stick them on a calendar for the coming school year, so that they’re scheduled and I just DO the things that seem to too-rarely get done, like cleaning the inch-thick layer of dust from the top of the refrigerator. I’m not super-well organized by nature, and only a passable housekeeper. I have to MAKE myself be better; I can’t just wait to GET better.

    Plus, I don’t know how long school is in NZ, but here, it’s 13 years. That’s a good long time to iron out difficulties. KWIM? So, you don’t have Thing A figured out for this year, your daughter’s kindergarten year. Might you have it figured out in four or five years? Hopefully. :P

    It’s rather like parenting. Things that were so difficult with Child #1 become much easier with Child #2 and actually enjoyable with Child #3 and so on. You learn more with each child, by necessity, sometimes, you become better organized, even if you never reach your idealized level of organization.

    (Hope you don’t mind this is getting so long.)

    It’s also my guess that you are a harsher critic of yourself than your husband. I would consider asking him what he thinks of the list you’ve written. Perhaps there are things that he’d be willing to help you in — either the kind of help we like, like him taking on more tasks around the house, OR the kind we don’t like, like him holding you accountable to certain standards that you can both agree upon as necessary, both in parenting and schooling. Truly, when I have come under some harsh criticism (some publicly from my own father, no less), it is my own husband’s unwavering support of me hs’ing that has steadied me. So, get him on your side early!!! ;)

    Time to oneself: I have a mandatory 1.5 hr quiet time that everyone takes simultaneously in the afternoon. This is more difficult to organize when the littles are babies… but, basically, their afternoon nap morphs into a quiet time when naptime is no longer needed. Everyone reads, colors, or does puzzles and no one is allowed to talk to mom, or 15 minutes gets added to their time. :P Very effective.

    Kids who want to go to school: This, I’m less experienced in. All of my kids like being homeschooled. However, I do “play up” the benefits of homeschooling to them, AND I take advantage of group/friend activities, like encouraging play with neighborhood friends, participating weekly with their church groups, even using opportunities at parks and fast-food restaurants for interaction with others… Also, though I’m not a super-big fan of homeschooling groups, it might be helpful for you and your daughter, especially in your first year or two of hs’ing, to find a homeschooling group in your area that meets weekly. It would seem to be counterintuitive, but the longer my kids have been homeschooled, the more they WANT to be homeschooled.

    HTH!

  3. Kate, Thanks for the encouragement. I think that’s just what I needed. It’s still scary, but I know that if I have even just a few people that understand me, it will make it possible. There are two families in our church that home school their children (5 each). One of these families are good friends of ours and live just around the corner.
    Also, your point 2 reminds me that my stressed out feelings and frustration are actually ‘parenting’ issues rather than ‘home education’ issues. I have unrealistic expectations of how much I can achieve in a day, and with a young baby (10 weeks….I think!!) I think I have to adjust that down a bit for now.
    Oh, and this morning I realised that I have set her 5th birthday as a bit of a deadline for us to decide what we’re going to do. It’s really not necessary and we might just carry on as we are. Her first year or so will be very little different from what we’re doing now anyway! Thanks!

  4. Onlysometimesclever…and thanks to you too! I have really appreciated your comments. You are soooo right. I want to go against the flow, and still be one of the crowd! Talk about inner conflicts. Tee hee.
    And you know what…..I’ll never be ready for home schooling, just like I wasn’t ready for marriage, immigration, children! I am quite harsh on myself…you got that right. And I’m an idealist. I’m feeling so much better about all this today, thanks to some good sleep and exercise.
    My husband is supportive of me homeschooling although he thought we’d send her to school for a year and pull her out if it didn’t go well. I feel like I can already see that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks so don’t really want to do that. I think I must write that list you suggested too.
    1.5 hours per day!!!! Wow……I think that sounds wonderful. I can see that being a realistic goal to work towards with E (4.5yrs) but at this stage, not with B (2.5 years).
    Thanks again for the encouragement. Regards,E

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