Well folks lately I have come under some major attack in my homeschooling my children, and no it is not from an outside source, it is from me.
How is it that I can allow myself to feel guilty for trying to do what I think is best for my kids? Sure there are people out there who will have their opinion and disagree with me, but in the end it is my choice to allow that to affect me.
Ways I feel guilty... For instance watching Abby in Daisy scouts tonight and all the happy bouncy kindergartner girls, which by the way she thinks are silly. She fits in though, because she can fit in anywhere. She was giggling and having fun and for a moment as I watched her I thought, is she missing out on something? I sat and tried to remember being a five year old girl. MMMMM>>>> lets see, I hated kindergarten, I was devastated that my mom dropped me off each day and left me there with people I didn't really feel close to. Once there was a big dog outside the door and I couldn't make my way past, I didn't know what to do so I stood near the door and cried. When I finally got in the classroom I had to lie to my friends and tell them my blotchy red face was because I had a sunburn. I had friends and I am sure I had fun I just can't remember that part. I remember being in a row and not having a voice, being told what to do and how to do it. I remember being forced to nap. I remember telling the teacher I was sick and she told me to rest in the next room. They sent me home at normal time and I ended spending the next three days in a hospital. I was blue with pneumonia, and my mom immediately saw that when I arrived after a full day of school on the bus. I remember being in first grade, being board, quiet and tired. I was doing time. I remember being yanked by my long pony tail by a girl named Bobbie, she would drag me around the play ground for fun I suppose. I remember making strategies to out trick her and out run her. Ya didn't love school.
It is the little things that cause the hail storm of doubt, like a friend who said Abby should be doing more crafts. I started thinking about that and I wandered if I was doing enough crafts. Or the mom tonight that said her daughter learned to read in the first three weeks of school. Was I doing something wrong that I am letting Abby learn at her own pace? I hate forcing reading. I admit in the past I have been bad about repetition, I have learned I really don't like any kind of repetition. But I am better now as I am in my third year of homeschooling. And by the way Abby is reading just fine, better on days when she feels like it.
I feel guilty when I see Mason loosing "it" and his voice becomes like a knife and I wander, have I done this to him? It doesn't help when I can feel other judgments on this matter. Not to mention, Mason has always been highly emotional and explosive. I am sure on my feeling good days that if he were in school he would save up all that energy for me when he got home anyways. I tell myself it is better for him to learn at home to control his emotions than find unhealthy coping strategies that don't go anywhere. See all that fire is still fire and it translates to passion and I don't want to loose that and for it to be misdirected into meaningless worldly things like .... the latest and greatest fad.
The time has got to come when I stop the self loathing and doubting. The time has come where I set myself free from others opinions, even those who are closest to me. I know there is room for improvement there always is. While insecurities loom over my head like thick fog, I think I am going to fight, with myself, to stick with it. It is time to evaluate and reevaluate and make learning at home just that, learning at home, not school at home.
My friend gave me a nice little fact today, kids in school get about 8 minutes of undivided attention. At home my kids get all of me. I found Mason going ahead in his math alone, taking his test, reading them and figuring the test out even before I could teach the strategy. I sucked up his radiant face, both of us were pretty proud and we shared that moment. It wasn't lost. I had a big plan for him to do some LA worksheets, instead he sat on the couch and read for over a solid hour. Then banged on his drum for 30 minutes, working out some fresh beats. This wasn't all we did, he wrote a paragraph, a creative writing program and then read some more. He did over an hour of phonemes, listening and writing them out. He worked on 10 spelling words, and did worksheets. We learned about Egypt and the first kings of Israel. He played for hours with his sister, helped me clean up and played outside with some friends. I answered all his questions and he was allowed to have a lot of questions, because we are home and I am his teacher and learning doesn't stop ever when you take on the mentality of learning at home. Home is the school, the world is our play ground, every opportunity, even the most mundane is a chance to discover. Homeschool is not what you do, it is an attitude of discovery. Iit is about creating the environment for independent, strong minded kids who can "socialize" with just about anyone because there is not the boundaries of school. We are not bound to time, or to structure or to a building. The world is my playground.
Hey look at that I just talked myself into homeschooling another year. :)
So now it is 9:00, my kids want to play a "game" of cards, math they just don't know it. Why not we don't have to get up early. yawn.