When you start homeschooling, that fear and worry seems to triple.
Two and a half months now, the kids and I have been trying to find our place in the homeschooling world. At this point, I feel like Goldilocks:
We started out with an online school-at-home program "porridge"- Too Strict
We moved to unschooling- Too Relaxed (according to Hubby)
We started a more relaxed daily online curriculum program- Too Easy & Boring
At this point, I've thrown the homeschool porridge against the wall and am currently pouting in the corner, wondering if there's any porridge out there that's "just right" for my kids and I.
Two months now the consistency has been rather spotty. They do math at Khan Academy everyday, we've found literature and grammar curriculum that we've stuck with, and they write posts for their blog each week, but as far as science and history are concerned, we're just bouncing around.
I'm totally screwing up my kids' lives, aren't I? Why did I start homeschooling in the first place? Why did I think I was qualified to do this?
These thoughts stay in the back of my head like poison, seeping forward every once in a while to drive me bat shit crazy.
Needless to say, I've been stressed beyond belief lately.
My readers and my friends tell me that we'll figure it out. They say homeschooling takes adjustment
time. They say everything will fall into place when it's meant to. They say my decision was a good one.
I'm glad they have so much confidence in me, because most days, I feel super lost.
I fight with myself constantly, it seems. My brain is still in my-kids-need-to-be-on-or-above-grade-level mode that's hammered into us through the public school system. So, I looked up the standard curriculum for each of their grades, and they aren't covering it, in history and science. The Ginger hasn't started the solar system yet, and The Girl is supposed to be working her way through genetics and heredity (one of my FAVORITE subjects, by the way), and moving on to evolution soon. The Ginger is supposed to be up to his eyeballs in explorers and world history, and The Girl is supposed to be somewhere in the 1970s with American history.
Nope, nope, nope and nope. Is there an option E- None of the Above? Because that's where my kids are right now.
Now, when my inner Negative Nancy starts to scream at me, she totally overpowers the small voice saying, "Hey- your kids learned about the events leading up to the Revolutionary War since they started homeschooling. They learned about the European Renaissance prior to going to the Renaissance Festival a few weeks ago. You've started the different types of ecosystems with them and watched documentaries- and all of this, the kids still remember, instead of memorizing for a test and then forgetting, like in public school."
Nope, that voice is drowned out by "Could my kids pass a standardized test right now, if they were tested?"
And let me tell you- I HATE standardized tests. It's because of the over-emphasis on standardized tests that I pulled my kids from public schools in the first place (well, one of the reasons). So why in the world they pop into my head like that is beyond me- unless I just like to beat myself up when I'm already down. How masochistic of me.
I thought the de-brainwashing would be easy for me. I thought I'd shed the philosophy preached by public schools, and standardized tests, and the US education system as a whole, of grade-levels and teach-test-retest and pass-fail pretty easily. I mean, I'm pretty Damn the Man on my own as it is, so I thought this would be easy for me, tough for the kids, because public school is all they've ever known.
But damn, it's sure throwing me for a loop, that's for sure.
When I started homeschooling my kids, I wanted our days to be filled with fun and learning. The things I still remember from school fall into 3 categories for me:
- Topics I was actually interested in.
- Topics that I use in everyday life, so I have to remember them.
- Topics that maybe didn't interest me at first, but were taught in a fun way that stuck with me.
This is how I wanted every day to be for my kids. I know subjects like math and literature/grammar are crucial to function in everyday life, so these would probably be met with some grumbling from the kids because they have to do them, but I wanted them to get done with the core subjects early in the day, so the rest of our day could be fun. I envisioned science experiments at our kitchen island, and teaching the kids yoga and meditation; Learning about the Roman Empire and then watching "Gladiator;" Field trips to the zoo after spending a week or two learning zoology; The Girl making money with her bow business and understanding business money basics and how to run a business; The Ginger making successful stop-motion videos and learning the history of animation. THIS is what I wanted homeschooling to be for us.
And what's wrong with my vision?
(Blink. Double blink. Smack myself in the forehead.)
NOTHING! That's what! It's time for me to kick Negative Nancy in the ass and send her on her way. It's time for me to stop doubting myself as a mom, and as a homeschooling mom.
It's time to make my vision a reality.
And it's definitely time for me to stop thinking I'm screwing up my kids for life. Hell, I'm not off smoking crack, leaving my kids to fend for themselves, exposing them to the horrors of the world. I'm trying to find our place in the homeschooling world. Major difference there.
Homeschooling is a hell of an adjustment- one that apparently doesn't take less than 2 months like my over-achieving mind aimed for. I need to relax more. I need to meditate. Take a dose of my own medicine of free-flowing, hippie tree-hugging, stress-free beliefs. But when it comes to my kids, I just want to know that I'm making the right choices; that I'm not screwing up their lives forever.
That's what every Mom wants to know.
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