Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Experiment

So I am pretty much sold on the idea of homeschooling. I have been reading so much about it, like this and this and this , and I wholeheartedly believe that kids really need less structured "activities" and "lessons," but instead need their education to be a natural part of their lives. They need enthusiasm, love, playtime, and, yes, a little bit of math. I have come to see how school is an institution that most of us do not question -- but, why, really, do we need school? Why does learning need to take place in a group setting? With only kids ones' own age? With a "certified" teacher? Multiple studies have shown that kids do much better (in many ways: they score higher on tests, are more emotionally secure, more enthusiastic about learning, etc.) when they are taught to on an individual basis. And when there is time in the day for them to express themselves, and to be heard. All of these reasons led John and I to enroll our kids in small private schools, but perhaps there is an even better (for us, of course) way to do it. Maybe the lessons could be geared toward my kids' specific interests and learning styles. Maybe there is a way to go at their own pace, without being measured against a "norm."

I was a teacher before becoming a mom. I loved it as much as I was overwhelmed by it. It was the most challenging and exciting job I have ever had, save motherhood. I was also a student (for many, many years) and I loved that, too. I am a card-holding nerd. I love books, notebooks, pens, dry-erase boards, and, most of all, ideas. The only job besides being a SAHM that I can imagine doing is teaching.

But -- those are only my theoretical reasons for homeschooling. The practical implications of it might be much less fun. So, this summer John and I have decided to refrain from signing the kids up for any summer camps (gulp), have them stay home all summer, and "do homeschool." It will be a three month tester for us. We will see how things might actually works when everyone is together 24/7, when I am not only keeping up with household chores and my own personal life (i.e friends, doctor's appointments, working out etc.) but also with lesson planning, teaching, and supervision of the children all day long. This is where the rubber will meet the road.

We are also curious to see how the kids adjust to it. Will they miss being around their peers for the summer? Will they be bored when not kept busy 7 hours a day? I mean, we will be doing a lot, but our intention is also to slow down and have a lot of time for play, for thinking, for resting.

This will also be a time to concentrate more on some character traits that need attention, such as self-control and responsibility. I feel as though I do not have time to work on these matters with the kids when we arrive home at 5:30 at night, hungry, tired, and in dire need of a bath. I think one way we will work on this will be through setting up a chore system. Morning and evening chore routines will add some structure to the day.

So...let's see how it goes...I am going to have an open-mind and try to be flexible. I want to be really open to how this will work and have that not be shaded by my own desire for it to be a cure-all for my recent sense of unease.