We home school. It is a blessing. But I’m going to be quite honest, it has been a hard year. While this technically has been our second official year, it really felt more like the first. Our oldest started 1st grade back in the fall and what a difference the year has made. This school year I felt the pressures more than ever before to make sure we were covering everything.
As a former home schooler myself I know that we can relax a bit. That we can rest in knowing kids learn at their own pace, that it is okay that they learn at their own pace. My heart knows it. But my head feels the pressures. I find myself watching, checking, making sure we are “keeping up.” In the end the school is getting done. Colt is doing amazingly well. And best of all I get to be right there. I’m with him. I watched him go from struggling reader to a boy who can read most all he tries to. I was there to see him catch on and then design math story problems for his brother with their Lego’s. I was there when he got really into the study of snakes and ancient nomadic cultures. I get to be there, I get to relearn and live this world of school with him.
It’s great. Except… it is hard. We have had struggles that I never anticipated. I din’t know that it would take every ounce of my energy to school my son.
Last year when Colt was in Kindergarten. I had dreams of unschooling him. Just following his lead, doing a ton of reading and just drifting through the days living and learning together. But it quickly became apparent that in order to follow my child’s lead he needed and wanted more direction. He loves structure and plans and neat packages. Its just him. And it turns out a more traditional style suits me too. Though I love to be spontaneous and embrace whatever comes, I really do benefit from the structure of a more classical style. This does not mean we try to replicate “school” at home. Having not gone to a traditional public school myself I probably couldn’t replicate it if I tried. But it does mean we use an eclectic assortment of curriculum. We have also chosen to follow the educational outline of The Well Trained Mind. We have a specific plan.
Still I am surprised that home schooling is not what I thought it would be. School still takes most of my energy. I don’t ever catch up on the laundry. And sometimes we spend hours into the afternoon because we needed to wait until sister went down for a nap to get a lesson done. We also may have gotten a late start, or a lesson took longer than we thought, and then Alex (who is three) wanted to be included. But the good news is he is thriving. We all are.