I’m homeschooling Kirstyn this year. We’ve been homeschooling all along, if you want to be technical! But this year I’m scheduling, and documenting, and creating a portfolio to turn in at the end of our 180 days. In Pennsylvania we don’t have to have our children in school until they’re eight years old. Isn’t that crazy? The lack of pressure is nice, though. Of course I’d be teaching Kirstyn anyway, but I don’t have to. I’m choosing to! (The rebel in me likes that.) I have two years to conquer this homeschool thing, with all its subject requirements, field trips, documentation, schedules, lack of schedules, testing, and portfolios (which I’m dreading). By the time Kirstyn’s eight and I have no choice anymore, I’ll have this whole official homeschool thing down pat! Rriiight…
I get comments about my choice. People say, “Wow!” And, “You’re brave — with all those other children?” Stuff like that. And it’s true — it will be hard! Those comments don’t encourage me. They make it worse! I’m already totally nervous and freaking out. To be honest, I would love to send my children to public school. (Yikes! I just admitted that in public!) I’m not afraid of the hard work. I’m afraid of failing. I want my children to have the best education possible, and sometimes I don’t feel like I can provide that! Part of me feels like if I stick them on a bus they’ll be safe. Better off than at home with me. They’ll learn more. I know, in my head, that I’m thinking nonsense! I know, in my head, that I can do it! I know I’m the best choice for a life-long influence on my children. I know I’m doing this so my children can have a better education, if we’re diligent, and so we can have fun while we learn. I know I’m doing this so I can incorporate God into everything we learn. When my kids leave home, I want them to remember God when they remember science or history or anything else they learned.
And so, my journey as a homeshool mom begins. Has begun. I thought I’d be really sad, thinking about lazy days with my four small children… days that will never come again. (Sounds like ages ago, huh?) And I am sad, a little. But then I realized that I already have nine school days to document! We’re already in the swing of things! I didn’t have to deal with that “first” day of school. It’s gone! On Saturday we found ten monarch caterpillars to bring back home. We’ll feed them milkweed, give them a safe place to spin their cocoons, and watch them turn into butterflies. That counts! Kirstyn is reading independently now, and I’m digging out all the old Dick and Jane books for her. She reads almost every day. Those days count! Clipping the chickens’ wings, reading about the Great Horned Owl, studying about the moon, the seasons, hibernation and migration, learning new words like “predator” and using them correctly, drawing pictures of what I read to her… it all counts! It’s kind of exciting, when I realize how fun and easy this can be. This whole school-at-home thing can be a blast if I can stick to my guns, relax at the same time, and develop my creative teaching skills. I mean, wow! We’re studying life! And the whole wide world! That’s awesome stuff.
P.S. Our official, every day, stick-to-a-schedule type of school will be the second week of September. Canning takes precedence right now! Then we’re visiting my family in Massachusetts for a week. We’ll be spending a day in New York City while we’re up north, and that goes in the portfolio! By the time we get home and officially start school, we’ll be halfway through the school year! Well, not quite. =)