Thursday, January 31, 2013
To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool
I don't have a direction in mind for this post, so it might come out nonsense, but I have been thinking about this topic almost non-stop. So here goes.
I have been a supporter of and personally interested in homeschooling for many years now - long before I was married. I definitely don't think it is the only way to do education, nor would I even say it is always the best way to do education. But, if done properly and a good fit for the family, I think homeschooling is brilliant and offers advantages that classroom schooling cannot.
But when it comes down to the reality of actually homeschooling our own children (a reality that is rapidly approaching, nay is pretty much already here!), I have been quite ambivalent.
Almost everything about the idea of homeschooling makes my heart thrill with excitement. Learning and exploring right along with my kids, flexibility and creativity, freedom to tailor learning to my kids' needs and interests, freedom to make use of a huge variety of resources in our community. Oh the freedom! And I feel so strongly about making education become part of a lifestyle, as natural as breathing, rather than something that is a segregated aspect of life (school). I don't want education to be something associated with dry textbooks and pop quizzes and being teased on the playground. I don't want the goal of learning to be a letter grade, I want it to be a reward unto itself.
BUT. Can I possibly do it? Do I really even WANT to homeschool my kids?
I worry that I will do an inadequate job of educating them.
I worry that my kids will drive me insane - I am definitely one of those moms who highly values regularly taking a break from my kid. The thought of having my days free again sooner rather than later sounds pretty amazing.
I worry that it won't even be an option financially because I will have to work in order for us to make ends meet.
Listen, I know, I KNOW, I don't have to have all those worries assuaged from the outset. We can start down the homeschooling path and if at any point it stops working, that's ok! It is not a forever, all-or-nothing, no-turning-back decision that must be made next week, or ever.
I also know so many kids who are educated in schools who are everything I hope my kids will be. I know that many schools can be and are amazing. I know that schools offer opportunities that homeschooling may not. I know that even if we do send our kids to school, we are not rendered helpless or utterly removed from their education - we can still find ways to make learning their lifestyle and not their weekday burden.
So, as to the immediate future - I had been researching preschools for Josiah for this fall. I am not doing that anymore. (For one thing, preschool ain't cheap.)(Besides, when looking at the curriculum of the 3-4 classroom of the closest preschool, it mostly consisted of skills he has already mastered!) (Proud mama.) There are at least two homeschool co-ops I know of that offer preschool aged activities that we can join this fall. And between that and the church nursery and friends and cousins to play with, he is getting plenty of socialization.
I am excited that we are going to start down the road with the intention of homeschooling him, always free to turn aside at anytime.