School Decisions

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.