I have been spending a lot of time recently mulling over whether I will home educate Jacob and any future siblings or send them to mainstream school. I know you are probably thinking “He is only 7 months old, you crazy woman!” and to a certain extent I agree. However, I also feel that a child’s education is so important that it is something you really need to plan for, especially if you are going to home educate. I can’t just wake up when he is four and think – “Right, let’s get started!”
The truth is I really want to homeschool, for some or all of my children’s education, and it is fast becoming a huge passion of mine. I think it might be what God has planned for our family but I’m continuing to pray and keep an open mind so I don’t let my own desires get in the way. Thankfully, Danny is very supportive of the idea (and assures me it has nothing to do with home educators getting discounts at theme parks) so there is no issue there. I just sometimes think about the idea of actually home educating and it seems so….massive. Like an enormous insurmountable mountain of mountainous responsibility. What if I mess it all up?!
I struggle with the thought of other people’s responses to home education – although not enough to put me off. They usually assume either you or your child must be weird or crazy and DEFINITELY unable to socialise. Because children are only capable of learning to socialise in a classful of other kids, right? Hmmmm. There is a lot of behaviour displayed in schools that I would really rather Jacob did not emulate, thanks! As a family we socialise a lot, have plenty of friends of all ages, are part of a busy and thriving church and would have access to other homeschooling families. He would be fine. He can still take part in sports and extra-curricular activities.
I think the main thing bothering me is how much homeschooling would require of little old me, which sounds selfish but I don’t want to home educate if I can’t 100% commit to it. I talked in my previous post about my introverted nature and I often find that wonderfully helpful little part of me protesting and saying “Er excuse me, you need time alone!! You’ll never have a single second to yourself!” and I think I should just give the whole idea up. But the reality is I don’t need that much time alone, I just need some time in order to function. I have heard that a lot of homeschool parents set aside a quiet time each day when their kids read or listen to audio books or play by themselves whilst mum has a break. If I could successfully create this kind of pause in our day then I feel certain that I could keep my inner introvert happy!
And the thing is, even though I know homeschooling would be extremely hard work, every time I think about it such a huge avalanche of positives fills my mind. I love the idea of planning our studies, creating fun lessons and projects and outings. I personally still enjoy reading, studying and learning about all manner of things, so I would hope that I could pass that enthusiasm on. At the moment, every morning when Jacob gets up, we snuggle in bed with a few stories and his wide eyed fascination is adorable to watch. I believe all children are naturally curious and enjoy learning in the right environment, which is sometimes school and sometimes not. I really want to be there to see Jacob learn about trains and frogs and planets and find his own interests and dreams. I want my kids to dress up and build rockets and bake and create things. I want them to rush out in welly boots on snowy days rather than fighting through traffic to get to school. I’d like them to grasp things that were quite lacking in my own schooling – like cooking, managing finances and running a home. And the great thing about home educating is that you can go at your child’s pace and make sure they fully understand concepts before moving on.
I know it would not be perfect. I am sure we would have our fair share of cranky days, poor attitudes and frustrating moments. Learning will probably often seem slow or repetitive and I’ll lose confidence. I’ll be asked: “Won’t your kids be unable to socialise?” so often that I’ll want to scream. But in spite of it all, my dream sticks around, insisting that I don’t give it up. It says: think of the strong family bonds. Think of the freedom and opportunities. Think how delightful it will be to see your children learn and grasp new ideas. Think of everything you might miss out on if you didn’t do it…
And so the mulling continues.
For a glimpse into the life of a real homeschooling mum take a look at the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog. Oh and check out some of the ‘homeschool rooms’ on Pinterest – they are almost enough to make me want to homeschool by themselves!