Monday, August 4, 2008

Homeschooling - Genius or Insane?

It seems that homeschooling is becoming more and more popular. Maybe I'm just noticing it more because I have a school age child now (sniff, sniff). Right now with Kindergarten looming only a week away, homeschooling seems like a magnificent idea. The thought of throwing my poor scrawny, innocent, adorable little baby into a giant maze-like school scares the bejeebies out of me. The only thing scarier I can think of is spending hours a day working with her one on one.

I'm a former hard working, dedicated elementary teacher. I volunteered to teach the lowest reading groups when we grouped our 4th and 5th grade students by ability level. I loved those kids and I was so patient with them. Each tiny step was momentous to me and a great thrill. I loved to come up with creative ways to teach the most boring lesson.

However I become this insanely driven person when it comes to teaching my own daughter how to simply write her name or practice numbers. It drove me absolutely crazy that she couldn't remember how to count to 20. All of my patience flew out the door once the child became my own. I guess I expect way too much of my own kids. I could never submit them to my craziness to be their sole educator. They'll have to deal with me and my expectations when it comes to homework help and that's enough for me and them. I've even thought of hiring tutors - a job I once did - just to help my kids with homework if it gets to tough on me and them.

I give total credit to those who can teach their own children with normal expectations and lots of patience. I would rather teach 28 strangers kids than one of my own. Kudos to those that do it successfully and are able to be their children's complete teacher. Teaching not only life skills but academics as well.


Amanda XOX said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I couldn't agree with you more! I am also a former classroom teacher, but cringe at the thought of having my kiddos at home for "school" each day. I will gladly send them off to school(when that time comes) and then determine what will be taught and reinforced at home since not all learning takes place inside the classroom walls =o)

Kalisha @ Mommy Lounge said...

I have read a few books on homeschooling because I might consider the possibility for my daughters. Homeschooling the term in no way is supposed to be the same as a traditional school based education. From what I got from the description it could be more hands on, out in the field child guided learning. Not just sit down and do book work. Allowing the child to explore and learn at their own pace while providing them resources in the community to enhance this learning. I guess people do it a lot of different ways. I know now I feel the peer pressure from other parents because they put their children in preschool at age 2. I hadn't planned on putting my daughters in preschool until they were at least 4 if at all because I stay at home with them. Well, after speaking with a mommy mentor of mine who has over 23 years expierence with early childhood development she reassured me that play (developmental) focus was learning enough for a child 2-5. Singing songs, playing games, reading, art, free-play would prepare a child enough for the beginnings of school.
You are right--it does take a person with patience to be able to teach their own children, but if we let the children lead the lessons it could be easier on the parent/teacher.