Hold on, it’s a wordy one!
One of the things I mentioned in my last post about letting go of things that are no longer working for us, was bringing our girls home for the upcoming school year.
My long-time readers , all three of you, (Hey Paul, Lisa, Denise, how are you? ) already know that Homeschooling has been on my heart for about a million years. Honestly, before we even had our first kid, I was trying to dream up a way to convince Nate that it was a good way to go.
He had some reservations, because he’s a good Dad, and naturally didn’t want anyone turning his kids into “those weird homeschoolers”. Also he knows me, and if we’re honest I will have be very diligent against laziness. You know the stereotype where homeschoolers wear pajamas all day? That’s a thing because of people like me.
Then there was the argument that we both attended public schools and turned out fine. Which is true, and our kids would probably turn out fine if we left them in school, too. In fact, our school is a very good one, as public schools go. The kids even like it, so why rock the boat?
For me, the ultimate reason is that I want to raise my own children, and from day one, sending them to school felt like shared custody.
I want to let them sleep in because we stayed up to see the Aurora Borealis, but they’re not ill, and we didn’t plan ahead, so that’s an unexcused absence.
I want them to learn at their own pace, but that’s disruptive to their class.
I want them to have mental energy for gardening, nature walks, Bible study, and really great literature. As things stand now, they just don’t have much left at the end of the day. I know how I felt after a long day in the classroom, and it’s not hard to understand why they want to stare mindlessly at screens when they get home. Of course there are great days when the sun shines down from heaven, and angels sing, and we all still have something left after homework, so we go for a walk or visit neighbors, but more often than not, we just lump. I have nothing against a relaxed evening mind you, in fact, I prefer them. I just wish there were time for all the things.
As it turns out there is; it’s between eight and three.
When I was working in the school one thing that bothered me was the amount of what I called shuffle time. Time students spent being shuffled from one place to the next, one activity to the next, inside, outside, lunch, gym, music. All noble and necessary, but so inefficient. They did the best they could, of course, everything just takes so much longer with thirty kids. It drove me crazy, and added up to a lot of time when kids are at school, but not actually in the classroom. Not that every moment has to be spent at a desk to be useful, I’m a firm believer that not all learning takes place in the classroom. I’d also argue, however, that anything they need to learn from standing in a line, silently walking from place to place, can be accomplished by the end of kindergarten.
The point is; we can get our “sit down” work done in a fraction of the time they’d be away at school, and have the rest of the day for the rest of the things. Does anyone else hear that Chorus of Angels?
And the common core. . .
And the Smarter Balanced Assessment. . .
And a couple hundred conversations where my husband said, “They just need to. . .”
And I replied, “Yes. But they aren’t going to. This is the way it is.”
And the stark realization that we were swimming against the current, when what we needed to do was get out of the river.
So that’s what we’re doing.