School at Home: Celebrating Two Years
I was driving the kids around the other day.
It was just another day.
Another trip across town for a lesson, tutoring appointment, or field trip. I don't really recall where were were going.
And it hit me.
More specifically, it's mid-January.
Meaning...it's been two years since we embarked on our homeschooling journey.
It hardly seems possible.
Yet it does when I think back to those early days.
Slow mornings filled with zero alarm clocks, an abundance of pajamas and yoga pants, hot, cooked breakfasts (as opposed to cereal) and an ever-present sense of unease because I didn't feel like I knew what the heck what I was doing.
That first month as we adjusted to our new "educational experience" was less about delving in to a bunch of curriculum and more about getting used to spending so much more time together, finding out how each child learned best, and asking what they were interested in learning (novel idea, I know).
Despite my own personal sense of terror at now being "responsible" for my children's education, I started to understand another emotion I was feeling.
The growing list of things that I found dissatisfying about my children's public school education was no longer of concern. We had a clean slate. A do-over.
So as I was driving around the other day, it was good to reflect on those early days and both the sudden and gradual changes we experienced together and as individuals.
Because I would be lying if I said that it has always been so warm and fuzzy.
I've had my doubts from time to time that we made the right choice. I worry that I am not qualified enough to teach and guide my children in their educational quest. And frankly, some days it's really, really hard.
There are days that I am tempted to chuck it all and re-enroll my kids in public school or one of the progressive charters that are popping up. In many ways it would be easier. I would have more time for myself. I could make it to the gym more. I could even re-join the workforce and bring in more money for our family.
But then I see my eldest daughter who had lost her love of reading for pleasure and learning in general choosing to read, write, and draw without being told and required to do so - -gaining more and more confidence in her abilities.
I see my second eldest daughter who was constantly in trouble for leaving her seat in class voluntarily transcribing from a book (something I would have begged her to do in the past and she would cried and fussed over doing) and bouncing away on her red exercise ball -- accomplishing her work and managing her ADHD at the same time.
I look over and see my third child (who has been home-schooled from the start) whipping through his checklist of things to do, right on track for his grade level.
And I look over and my fourth child who is excited to do school with us even though he is only four, and the thought that come August, I will be homeschooling all four doesn't completely terrify me the way I thought it might.
And who knew that I would actually be learning in the process too! For example, this math-o-phobe now knows that the number 2 is "the smallest and the first prime number, and the only even prime number (for this reason, it is sometimes called "the oddest prime)."
I still don't know if we will be homeschooling in another two years or ten. But, more and more, I am grateful for the ability to choose.
I can't deny that some recent state legislation and a seeming dissatisfaction on the part of many of my friends with children in public school makes our decision to homeschool easier to stand behind.
However, I never want to come across as smug or superior to anyone who makes the choice to have their children educated via our public school system.
It's human nature to look at the grass on the other side and compare the quality and color. I think that no matter what we were doing at this point educationally, we'd probably be looking over that fence to the other side.
There is no perfect education.
There is just what works best for your family.
And for now, it's this.
School at home.
To read more about our homeschooling journey, click here.