Homeschooling

Possum is 6 years 1 month
Bandicoot is 3 years 11 months
Little Princess is 1 year 5 months (17 months)

It is an idea that just won’t go away.  It niggles at the back of my brain.  Maybe it is because Possum is having a bit of a hard time settling in to school (although he is doing okay at the moment…). Maybe it is because of the effort homework requires from me.  I don’t know.

Homeschooling.

Long time readers of this blog know that I originally started it to record homeschooling adventures for preschool.  Homeschooling has been playing on my mind for a while.

I think DH had hoped this was a fancy that had died a natural death now that Possum was a school.  I know he has a lot of legitimate concerns (whether or not they are warranted). Things like:
Making sure they get a good, rounded education
Spending time with friends
What is involved for us – planning, expenses etc
How taxing would it be on me, especially given my health, and what would the repercussions be of that on all of us in so many ways

There are many other things, too.  This is to give you an idea.

But it won’t leave me alone.

With every issue at school, I think, ‘would this happen if we home schooled?’
With every good thing that happens at school, I think, could we do this?  Could we give an equivalent experience?’

Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes, no.

There is a boy in HJ6’s class who comes from a homeschooling family.  This year there are two kids at school, two at home.  Next year it is unlikely that this boy will return to school.  I have chatted with his Mum quite a bit, and I have gone to a local homeschooler’s social meet with her, too.

This meeting pleasantly surprised me.  In the past I have met with other groups of homeschoolers, and while lovely, they weren’t of the same, um, academic – calibre? ambition? level? as our family.  That is fine, but it is important to me that we do not cut off opportunities for the kids by the choices we make now.  For example, our kids might not end up at uni, but it is important to me that we consider education options where matriculation is expected rather than impossible or nearly impossible.  This group consisted mostly of highly trained professionals, who have similar expectations.  That’s good.  Should we choose to ever go this route, I would want support from people with similar ideals.

Also, possibly not surprisingly if you have spent much time on American Homeschooling Blogs, a lot of the families are Christian.  One of the concerns that many of them share, and share with me, is the development of our children’s ethics.  This was an issue that made me think most strongly about homeschooling in the first place.  I hate that there are so many other influences on my young child at this point in time.  He is not formed, ethically.  So many societies talk about the importance of the first seven to eight years especially, and here I am sending him away to people who may or may not share my views.  It isn’t even a Christian school (for many reasons).  For many of these families, this is the driving reason for homeschooling.

But back to me.  I can see how this is so doable.  I can see what a wonderful lifestyle it is for us.  But I have concerns, too.  (Not least of all that I would need DH on board!  Child raring is not unilateral.  Not in our family, anyway.). There are three:

To be honest, I, too, am concerned about how I would go with my health.  Is this a strain that I simply don’t need in my life?  Or is it a calling for our family and therefore not going to be an issue?  Or somewhere in between?  How would I cope with always having the kids there?  Always.  Everywhere.  For everyone’s doctor’s appointments, every time I pop to the shops, every cuppa, every conversation with friends or anyone.  Every minute, always.  Yes, kind of like now, except it doesn’t go away for much longer.  MUCH longer.  One of my major problems at the moment is that I don’t have any personal space, and no personal head space either, unless I stay up until much too late at night.  Of course the kids will continue to get older and become more independant, but it will take a while.  And to be honest I do enjoy my days when both boys out of the house (especially when Little Princess sleeps!). Maybe it doesn’t bother others as much as me, or maybe it really isn’t as much of an issue as it potentially seems.

My second major concern is the friend thing.  I don’t think socialisation is an issue.  There are many ways to meet people and make friends.  What concerns me is that Possum has made so many friends at school already.  Also, I have made friends with lots of the parents.  His class is quite a community (and we have made friends with some other families, too, especially around the climbing frame of an afternoon.  It would be hard to leave this network, but hard, too, to maintain it.

And what about the collective experience?  There is something (although not everything) to be said for that.  A connection to others that sits differently to a friendship.  A shared experience, even if you may have a very different one.  Will they feel they have missed out?  That they are segregated from society, somehow?  And apart from that, I really loved school – for the first five years, anyway.  But I loved it enough during that time that those years, combined with my passion for learning, somehow bouyed me through the following eight years (of bitchiness, fighting, cliques and bullying).in

Oh alright, one other thing (I have had to pause during the writing of this too many times and have lost my train of thought):  what about the extra curricular?  I know that so much is available, into these parts anyway, externally to school, but there is a lot at school, too.  Art, music, computing etc are all included every week.  Could I do that?  What about sport?  Yes the kids could join a team, but what about events like the cross country, that are still being discussed daily? What about a school play or concert.  How do you get those experiences without joining a dedicated drama, or singing or music class?  Is that important?  Does different kinds of fun make up for it?

I wish that this was an easy or obvious decision for me.  I wish I was convicted one way or the other.  I pray on it, I try to live one way or the other to test the decisions, but all I get is more questions.  Questions that others cannot answer for me.  The obvious solution would be to run an experiment for a term or two or a year, but that involves the commitment of DH, too, and how can I expect that when I am so confused.  It is also an experiment with the life of my anxious little boy, and I don’t want to make things harder for him than they already are.

Oh dear.  So many thoughts.  So much confusion.

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One Response to “Homeschooling”

  1. Janelle Says:

    Sorry you are having such a struggle. It is indeed a great commitment and you are asking lots of good questions. I hope the answers will become clearer for you.

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