Sunday, April 8, 2012

Contemplating Homeschooling

I have two children who are only a little over a year apart. From late 2007 through late 2010 I fantasized about sending my children to school. It was going to be the best thing ever. I would first spend a year at home regaining my sanity and then consider going back to work part or full time.

I like my profession. Becoming a parent also gave me a whole new perspective. Becoming a parent of children with speech issues gave me new insight. Getting back into the schools as an SLP would be wonderful. I itch to exercise my skills with children who need help (other than my own). I want to use my professional skills. I want interact with other adults. I want to make a difference in the lives of children.

And yet, a little over a year ago I found myself beginning to daydream about homeschooling. My children were outgrowing their toddlerhoods and entering into the preschool years. We were able to start doing some structured activities. Michael began learning his letters, letter-sound correspondences, and how to read practically by himself. It was all exciting and fun. And I was following some blogs of homeschooling parents. And so the occasional daydreaming began.

There are so many advantages. We would get to dictate our own schedule rather than having it dictated to us. We could visit family without worrying about missing school. I could customize content and pace of learning to each child individually. It is more efficient. We could accomplish in 2-4 hours a day what a school takes 7 hours to accomplish (not counting the homework time schools involve on top of school hours). My children could have stimulating, individualized education and still have time leftover to spend with family, pursue independent activities, play, and just be kids.

I feel like homeschooling could be a gift. It is a gift to the children. They get to learn at their level and pace with time leftover to spend with family and just be kids. It is a gift to our family. Instead of yanking everyone out of sleep and rushing out the door in the morning we can determine a schedule that works for us. Instead of picking kids up from school and doing homework until dinner, dinner, bath and bedtime we would have time for recreation, exercise, activities, and play. When we get invited to a special family event in Louisiana (ex. Easter Crawfish Boil/Birthday Party) we could go because we wouldn't have to be back at school on Monday.

On the other hand, it wouldn't all be roses. It is expensive. We'd need curriculum materials and we'd be giving up my salary indefinitely. I'd give up the opportunity to practice my profession. That's huge.

Another challenge... Hmm. How do I put this? It's an awful lot of together time. I love my children, but I know myself. I need a certain amount of "by myself" time in order to stay sane and happy. That's just who I am. I get that time right now during the two mornings a week the children are in preschool. If we went to full-time homeschooling I would need some way to get a minimum amount of time to myself, in my own home, to stay sane.

I also have to remind myself that in daydreams everything is perfect. The children are always perfectly behaved. Learning is easy, seamless, and fun. Lesson plans and materials magically present themselves to be used at just the right moment. Meaningful friendships and socialization for the children develop easily through some as yet to be determined activities/homeschooling groups. There are rainbows and unicorns. No one ever gets sick. You get the idea. I know that reality will be different.

And then I start browsing potential homeschooling curriculum materials. Oh, bliss. I love browsing curriculum materials. There are so many good options out there. I have already decided on some. You know, if I were to homeschool, I would use... Just theoretically.

I haven't made any decisions. Michael has one more year of preschool before he'd be starting kindergarten so I have time to decide. I'm thinking of getting some homeschool materials and trying them part-time in the meantime to get a feel for it. (Hello Rightstart Math Level A!... Hello Handwriting Without Tears preschool curriculum!)

1 comment:

  1. I realize that you are just in the "dreaming" stages of thinking about homeschooling. Sometimes that dream looks more like a nightmare...all that togetherness:) I just want to tell you that it can work, you can still get ME time and you can still work, you just have to be more creative. When I started looking at homeschooling I had a lot of the similar concerns. I searched online for curriculum and solutions. I found the Welcome to Homeschooling Guide which eventually pointed us at the curriculum choice we made. I didn't want to homeschool, but now I can't imagine any other way of life. We have been at it for 5 years and like it more each year. Good luck with your choices and decisions!


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