I’m back on the homeschooling idea. Monkey’s teacher, who came up with an accelerated program for Monkey and two other advanced readers in her class, had to move back to where she had moved here from. I don’t know the whole story, but it had to do with a job for her husband.
Anyway, so Monkey has a new teacher. She’s also getting bored in school. She likes learning and she’s doing very well, but that’s just it. She’ll finish her math before the other kids and quietly draw on her paper. She got in trouble for it. Twice. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to talk to the teacher to get her story before she left, so I don’t know both sides. I only know that Monkey had finished her work, correctly, and was trying to occupy her own time while waiting on the other students to catch up. At least that’s what she told me.
So, now I’m looking again at homeschooling for next year. Can I just tell you there is way. too. much. information out there about homeschooling. I have never felt so overwhelmed about one “simple” topic in my life. Except for maybe statistics. That was pretty overwhelming. Thankfully, I have friends who homeschool and are enjoying it, so it’s not like I would be out there all on my own.
So, as I see it, here are a few of the perks: The “school day” is shorter. The state where we live only requires four hours of study for it to count as a full day. This would allow for more free time with Monkey to do things like sports/dance/girl scouts without having to rush, rush, rush after school and before dinner and/or bed time. I wouldn’t have to get up quite so early every morning, since we’d be on our own schedule (selfish, I know, but it’s true). I could teach to her skills. She’s reading on a 3rd or 4th grade level (she’s only 6, remember) and she does really well with math. She’s even started doing simple multiplication in her head. In her HEAD! Another perk is that in this area, there are lots of homeschool groups and enrichment programs, so she’d still get that classroom feeling with other students two or three times a week. She’s a very social girl, so I know that would be important. We’d be able to take field trips to museums and such and I’d be able to teach through involvement. She’d also get to stay in her current Girl Scout troop, so she wouldn’t lose that connection with her current friends. And if it doesn’t work out after a year, she can go back to school for third grade.
Naturally, just as there are some upsides, there are downsides as well. I would lose a good bit of my own free time. I know, that sounds horribly selfish, but anyone with children will agree (even if they don’t want to) that downtime away from one’s children is very important to one’s sanity. One way to “fix” this would be to make sure Monkey is in one of those enrichment programs (which I would do, anyway). The trick will be getting it to coincide with preschool with Little Man so that when Monkey is at school, Little Man would be, too. That would give me a couple days a week to have my “mommy time” without both children. The idea of coming up with a curriculum is daunting, at best. There is really so much out there – how would I know what to choose? Also, I’m not a very organized person. I know one doesn’t HAVE to be organized to teach, but it certainly helps. And will Monkey and I be able to slide into the student/teacher roles? Will I be able to be the teacher without being the mommy? Will she be able to accept and respect me as the teacher when it’s time to learn?
All these questions and doubts are floating around. There’s a reason I never wanted to homeschool – I just don’t know if I “have it.” But, if this is something that Monkey needs to succeed, I’ll do it. I can’t screw her up that bad in a year, can I?
What do you think? Any words of wisdom out there?