When I was in college, I went through sorority rush and joined Alpha Phi in the end. It was one of the best decisions of my life, but that's a story for another time…my point is, when rushing, both as a "rushee" and "rusher" (in the following years), you ask and answer the same questions over and over. And in that week of "parties" you begin to feel like a robot, repeating the same words over and over with different people. (Sorority girls out there, you know what I'm talking about!)
Well, this is how I have felt in the last four months, except instead of "Where are you from?" or "What's your major?" it's "How's homeschool going?"
Now, don't get me wrong. I truly appreciate all the support, enthusiasm and curiosity from everyone, but I feel very repetitive. So, I thought, just in case you're wondering and haven't seen me or had a chance to ask me, I'd go ahead and cut to the chase and give you all the answers to your kind and well-meaning questions here and now.
Question #1 (Always!) How's homeschooling going?
My Answer: Great for the most part. Some days are horrible, and I'm ready to run away from my family screaming and shaking my fists. Other days are amazing. Of course, this is no different than being a mom in general. So, I'm sure, as a parent, you can understand this.
Question #2 How do you make sure your kids are being socialized?
My Answer: Well, we still see friends and participate in youth/homeschool classes at our local YMCA, through the Children's theater, with a homeschool group and through community education. They play sports. And the boys get outside with the neighborhood kids. Additionally, we go to theatrical productions, museums, historical sites and special events. The boys attend Sunday School at church and we volunteer with our church's outreach to the poor ministry once a month. We see and interact with lots of people of all ages all the time.
Question #3 I wish I could/I wish I had the time/I would love to homeschool, but I'm not smart enough/don't have enough time/wouldn't know where to start/don't have the patience. How do you do it/fit everything in?
My Answer: Believe me, I said a lot of that before I ever made the decision to become my kids' teacher. I now schedule the heck out of each day. My parents' teach the boys on Wednesdays.
Oh yes, even my parents are in on this homeschooling gig. My mom and I are team teaching Wilson Reading. My mom is a retired Pre-k, K and 1st grade teacher and she took a course last summer through Groves Academy to learn the Wilson Reading Program and how to teach it. So, she is perfect for this job.
My Dad leads them on nature walks and teaches them about leaves and trees and poems and many, many other topics. They are now working on an archaeology unit. They also do art or sewing projects or cooking, etc. And most importantly, they spend time with their grandparents each week.
So, I get Wednesday to work and run errands and have quiet time. This is very helpful, but it's not enough when I have my legal editing contract work. During those times, I work late into the night, which is when I prefer to work anyway. And we set our own schedule, which means I'm not waking up at the crack of dawn to get my kids up and off to school.
But I do feel as though I am never off. I just keep changing gears and trading one hat for another all day and all night. I do get tired, but I can crash on weekends, generally.
And if you mean what you say and you'd like to try homeschooling, then do so! You'll figure it out as you go.
Question #4 When do you start and end your school day?
My Answer: Typically, we begin at 10 am to end at 2 pm, but sometimes (often) we have classes or activities that make our start or end time differ.
Question #5 Do you get sick of each other?
My Answer: Of course! Don't you get sick of your kids whether you see them all day long or just before and after school and/or work? And yet, the more time we spend together, the better it gets. This doesn't mean we don't each need time to be alone or with people other than the three of us. We do! And we make time and adjust for this too.
Question #6 How long are you going to homeschool?
My Answer: I have no idea. It's working right now, and we're having fun making up our own schedules and deciding what to learn about and traveling and going on field trips, and they are learning! So, we'll do this until it's not working for one or both of the boys or for me or our family, as a whole.
When and if they do go back to a school setting, it will most likely be a private or charter school. I have lost hope and patience and faith in public schools for my kids. This is not to say that I don't support others and their kids at public schools. We do. Our philosophy is to each his own…each family must figure out what is best for them.
And there you have it. All the questions you may have wanted to ask and all my answers.
I'm not a saint or an angel or a super mom or a crazy right winger or left wing nut. I'm just a mom choosing to do what I see as the best choice at this time for my kids.
Curiously, a few people have seemed surprised that the homeschooling is going pretty well and that I'm not ready to throw in the towel. The thing you have to know about me though is that I am determined and tenacious. So, once I decide to do something I dig in and start planning and learning and putting into action. I'm not one to give up easily once I've made up my mind. And my mind was made up a long time ago.
If you missed the why, as in why I decided to homeschool my kids at all, then you'll need to read this.
Again, thank you so much for all your enthusiasm, support and curiosity! We so appreciate that. I just hate to sound like an automaton when answering your well-intended questions. Over and out…