Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Can I Do This?

Can I do this?

I've been reading everything I can get my hands on or get a link to about the many, many, ways to homeschool for nearly three years now. Wow. It's hard to believe it's been that long. My spouse always wanted to homeschool but I fought that concept as I knew it would fall to me to handle it. Lol, in getting copies of my son's medical records, even the pediatrian had documented this fact back prior to my son being of school age! (That was an interesting and unexpected tidbit to stumble over.)

I fought homeschooling as I had to work. I didn't even work normal hours so I needed the kids to be at school so I could sleep as I worked the midnight shift. So we put the youngest in school and it was terrible. My youngest was pulled out in Kindergarten, then first grade gifted, then the final straw was a private Christian school. I was being sleep deprived anyway so I'd just have to figure out how to deal with this, too, as the 'system' wasn't working.

Why wasn't the system working? Our older girls weren't having these problems. They had some, but nothing like what the littlest was going through. I've spent many hours pondering this and have come to the conclusion that girls are just wired different then boys. It also didn't help that my son was way beyond grade level. He was reading at an eighth grade level and doing math above a fourth grade level in first grade. Facts I didn't learn until I pulled him from the school and demanded his records.

We tried school at home using the kitchen table. My son was a silly little boy and did his math as he hung upside down. He did oral spelling tests while hopping around the room. Then Grandma had a stroke and the silly little boy had to stop being so bouncy in the dining room since Grandma was now there.

We moved into unschooling and it's something that I will never regret. I learned more and more about the way kids learn and I am always searching for more and more interesting things to strew about the house. I think the most powerful resource for learning has been in simple conversations. Yes, that's right, as a family, we discuss a wide and varied range of topics. I find myself constantly learning so I can answer the questions with knowledge.

But can I really keep this up? I've raised my kids to be free thinkers. I don't tell them their thoughts are wrong. I do ask them to explain and back up their thoughts. I do give them the right to choose what they would like to explore. I don't really test them. I say 'really' because sometimes that need to know if they really know does slip back in and I find myself giving an oral pop quiz of sorts.

An example of this was in discussing with my youngest what topics are normally covered in fourth grade. As we unschooled the normal fourth grade year, I was curious if he had actually learned any of the things that would have been covered had we have done a curriculum. Well the answer is yes! That really tripped me out as he had in fact learned all that he would have even though we never touched curriculum!

So here we are at the end of August. Back to school is being blared everywhere. Worse. Now I have to work 8-4 what most people consider the normal learning hours. I've been feeling so like a failure. Like I need to be home so I can make sure I can enrich my kids world. The homeschoolers are gathering at co-ops and parkdays while I'm at the office. Some days dad is home. Some days the kids are home alone with grandma. (Note: my kids are 10, 16 & 18 so not too young to be home without me.)

I feel so pulled. Then a wonderful thing happens and the Lord provides encouragement. I read a comment made on another friend's blog. It cheered me up even though it wasn't directed at me. Simple words of encouragement. Then another email slips into my inbox 'Are you qualified to homeschool?' Actually, at the moment, I'm feeling that I'm 'qualified' but not doing a bang up job at it so I go to read the article and my spirit is lifted up a bit more. I check my inbox again, (I'm waiting on a response about an order placed for stage makeup....) and a dear friend has sent me the 'I Will Survive (Homeschooling Parody)'. Wow! The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways.
Can I do this? Yes I can.


jugglingpaynes said...

I'm glad I sent it to you! I was only going to put it on my homeschooling e-loop, but I felt an urge to pass it to you too! There are no coincidences as far as I'm concerned.

I always find it funny when the people I think are doing great in homeschooling have these fears. I thought I was the only one! ;o)

Peace and Laughter,

appleleaf said...

I loved "I will Survive!"
It's the best example of a faith journey I can think of. I can remember when we used to do 'school at home' too and it turned out to be the most stressful time. Your comments on being a working/homeschooling mother have helped me put things in perspective and you're going great to hold it all together.