Just before Kael turned 3, a friend asked me if I had considered homeschooling my kids. At the time, my answer was, “I want my kids to be homeschooled, but I don’t want to do it.” At that point, that meant essentially no, I won’t be homeschooling. As time has passed, that statement became less flippant and more honest. I really did (and do) want my children to be homeschooled. I just don’t want to do it, and as much as I don’t want to, I also feel unprepared to do it.
I’m not unprepared in the sense that I am unqualified. I am sure that my education and experience qualifies me to homeschool. I have a degree in elementary and middle level education with a masters degree in special education. I have the credentials necessary. I am legally qualified to teach other people’s children. Somehow teaching my own seems like a much bigger and more daunting responsibility.
So, if I look at my statement a little closer, there’s really two issues. One, I want my children to be homeschooled. Why? I want someone who knows them and cares specifically about them to have a personal stake in their education. I think that art and music are such important parts of an education, and there are less and less of these each year. Both of my boys, but Kael in particular, need lots of physical activity. Two recesses for 10–15 minutes and gym class twice a week are not enough for them. I also want someone who has time to answer all of the questions they ask, and they ask a LOT. No matter how loving and dedicated a teacher is, I’m not sure that with 18 other kids there would be any way that anyone would have that kind of time in a day. Lastly, I want to encourage my children to think in their own ways. I don’t want them to do an art project that is the same as 18 other projects. If they want to do a math problem and get the answer in a different way than the “right way,” that’s okay with me. If they want to wear polish on their toe nails, that’s okay with me, too.
The second part of my statement on homeschooling is that I don’t want to be the one to do it. What? I know it sounds a little bit ridiculous. I also know that part of the benefits of homeschooling come from the parent knowing the child so well. I guess part of it is that I also know myself. I am not nearly as patient as I would like to be, nor am I as patient as I would like a teacher of my children to be. I also tend to procrastinate some things that I don’t want to do. I really wish I had a dig in and get it done attitude, but too often it’s a last minute, last ditch, not my greatest work effort that I put forth. Also, I worry about time. I currently have a 4 1/2 year old, an almost 3 year old, and a baby on the way in October. Some days I barely get everyone dressed and fed. That is certainly not enough productivity for a homeschooling family.
Fortunately, Kael has a fall birthday. This gives me another year before I need to make a decision that I am going to act on. At this point, I plan to do lots of reading, researching, thinking, and blogging. I’m hoping for a decision which I feel committed to and can stand behind completely by the time it’s school time for him.