Homeschoolin’ Pt 2: Smashing Traditions

Yesterday I told you all about the freak-out sesh I had regarding homeschooling.  Now let’s get to the why.

Why I decided to calm the heck down and just trust what God was laying out.  Why I decided that public school (and private for that matter) wasn’t going to cut it for Monkey.  Why my being a Christian isn’t my only reason for going this route.  Why being a single, full-time working mom won’t stop me.  And why I am the most unlikely candidate for homeschool momming.  I’ll go over some of the latter ‘whys’ in future posts.  But, let’s go ahead and tackle the traditional school, aka Why #1.

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My face usually looks like this, so this meme is probably misleading.  Sorry.

First, let me start off by saying that I don’t have an issue with teachers.  I don’t even have an issue with schools.  I do have an issue with how education has become a commodity instead of an experience.  I do have an issue with how learning has become synonymous with standardized testing.  I do have an issue with how creativity has been scrunched and confined to sitting at a desk for hours instead of gathering knowledge with every touch, sight, taste, and sound.  I do have an issue with how common core outweighs the importance of the arts, music, and recess.  Yes, recess is freaking important.  I do have a bone to pick with those who believe that our kids need to “keep up” and compete with other countries for no apparent reason other than pride, all while they are ironically falling farther and farther behind.

Now of course I know that every school does not fall into this category.  There are some exceptional schools out there and even more outstanding teachers who see the road we’re going down and are working tirelessly to make sure we don’t fall deeper into this trap.  I’ve attended public schools my entire life and am friends with a gaggle of teachers.  And I think I still turned out pretty awesome.

But when we operate in this way, many kids get lost in the shuffle.  And mostly because some of them don’t learn best from reading assignments and multiple choice tests.  And some do. Some need real-life application, while some just need facts.  Some need hands-on experiences, while some can watch others and repeat easily.

Now, to be honest I’m not quite sure what kind of learner Monkey is.  If we’re keeping it 100%, I have moments where I truly feel like that girl has been here before.  And I do believe that she would absolutely excel in a traditional school setting, but I trust that she will flourish outside of it.  Where we’ll get to figure out together how she learns best and create a space where she feels safe in her failure.

Speaking of failure in education may sound counterintuitive, but isn’t that what learning is anyway?  Being given the opportunity, responsibility, and privilege of failing over and over again until you figure out the most efficient path to success?  Or possibly even realizing that most paths don’t lead to success at all.  But the journey through the mistakes is what creates character and a person doing life with the intent to gain and give.

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Regardless, I believe that we as parents should be responsible for raising, shaping, molding, and guiding our kids into this world.  Not for the purposes of making mini-clones.  That would be terrible for some of you.  And selfish.  But to teach them to use their strengths to their advantage and become independently curious with a thirst for lifelong learning.

For me, the most obvious way to do this is with a homeschool experience.  For others, it may mean public or private school.  But the beauty of it all is that I get to choose.  And so do you.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 

Homeschoolin’ Pt 1: The Freak Out

I might be homeschooling Monkey next school year.

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Sorry for the delay.  I just had a minor freak-out while typing that.  I’m back now.

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It happened again.  Ok, I’m good.  I’m currently doing some deep breathing exercises to stave off any additional breakdowns or panic moments.

So, like I was saying.  I’m on the road to being a homeschoolin’ mom.  Which is strange to say for several reasons.

  1.  I have a full-time job.  I run a practice, own a business, and fill-in at other practices during the week.  Further explanation as to how this supports my ‘this is strange’ theory should not be necessary.
  2. I’m a single mother.  As in it’s technically impossible for me to not work unless I get a sugar daddy.
  3. Just the thought of homeschooling gives me the heebie jeebies.  I mean, I love Monkey to death.  But let’s be honest here.  No one wants to spend all day every day with their kid.  In order to maintain sanity and order, alone time is a must.
  4. When I think of homeschooling, I get all stereotypical.  I think of the moms with white Easter socks with the frilly edges, those awkward ankle length jean skirts, cotton button up shirts tucked in perfectly at the navel, and running shoes with no running involved.  I think of weird children with no social skills who are sheltered and in need of more than a play date.  Before you get mad at me, why don’t you try conjuring up some images of what you think of when I say “HOMESCHOOL” super loud.  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Now while I was wallowing in my hesitations, singleness, heebie jeebies, and stereotypes here’s what I discovered:

  1. There are a ton of working moms who homeschool.  Google and increasingly random run-ins with working homeschoolin’ moms told me so.  Isn’t it odd how when you see the impossible, God will put possibilities in your path to show you he’s bigger than your fears?
  2. I researched for hours and hours on how to homeschool, buy curriculum, etc.  Let’s just say the amount of ‘overwhelm’ was abundant.  However, while scouring the interwebs I stumbled upon the concept of hybrid homeschools.  Basically, these institutions provide curriculum, guidance, and your kids get to go to school a few days a week while still allowing room for creative learning at home.  Well Hallelujah.
  3. In order to make this work, I’m going to have to sacrifice some me time.  When I have days off during the week now, I relish every second of not having to think about someone other than myself for at least 6 hours.  I go to the gym, lift heavy things, and trot when my coach tells me to run.  I eat.  I fall asleep.  I eat.  I fall asleep again.  I pretend to do work.  I eat.  I wake up wondering how long I’ve been asleep again.  It is magical.  There will undoubtedly be a little less me-magic when homeschooling, but I also relish the strange conversations and debates I have with Monkey.  I get all gooey when she calls me Mummy instead of Mommy.  I can’t help but smile (and be thankful) when she announces her farts before they’ve been farted.  I love how much smarter she is than me already despite the fact that she can only spell 10 words.  So even though I won’t be able to fall asleep at 10:32 am on a weekday, I’ll still treasure those moments that are not just about me.  Mostly.
  4. Not every homeschool mom dresses like a Duggar.  And I’m not knocking the ones that do, I just know that I don’t fit into that mold.  I have tattoos, big hair, and enjoy showing off my big ol’ calves and amazing décolletage.  But while running into those random homeschoolin’ moms I spoke of earlier, I also learned that they are a diverse, honest, and kick ass group of women.  Whether they are full-time moms, part-time retail salespersons, or night shift working nurses, they are not all the same.  They had the nerve to strike out and make a decision against the grain, in the face of fears, and do what they believed was best for their families.  And if their kids happen to be weird, it’s not because they homeschool.  Their kids are just weird.  And I love it.

So if you’re thinking of homeschoolin’ and are freaking out like I was (and still am), don’t let your preconceived notions or narrow-minded cliches keep you from taking that step or at least widening your view.

However, if you’re going to homeschool, you must say homeschoolin’.  It serves to up the cool mom factor.  Not in real life, but at least it’s more fun to say.

Now if you’re wondering why I even embarked on this odd journey, stay tuned for the next post…