Sunday, February 12, 2006

Some Homeschooling Thoughts

I've really been pondering things of late. My life has changed so much these last few years and so have I. I really struggled for a while wondering if I could homeschool. I knew my kids needed to be homeschooled because my gut told me so but I didn't know if I had the patience or stamina to do it.

It isn't that I don't enjoy having them around. I guess it was only recently that I realized that I was digging my heels in because as the kids have gotten older I have felt the pressure to "teach" versus my vision of natural learning and day to day moments of discovery.

Looking back, I can't say that I enjoyed school. I know that I did up until we moved here to Canada...nothing against the school system here, just major culture shock and homesickness. Back then being Irish wasn't cool, the accent wasn't cool and certainly my clothing wasn't cool. The whole early experience made me wary and cautious about what I said and how I said it.

But, like most school kids you adapt. I had friends, but I kept my nose in a book in classes. I never went anywhere without a book. I spent mindless hours on school buses and resented every moment. I skipped school when I could to be anywhere but cooped up and bossed around by boring teachers and boring subjects.

I did have some amazing teachers as we all have. They are the ones that make the difference, shape your future and you will remember them forever. Which brings me back to my current thoughts. I realized that I was struggling with resentment in having to relearn subjects that "I" considered stupid or a waste of time or worse...I just didn't like them and doubted that I was dedicated enough to relearn them.

Take geometry. I know I am smart enough to master geometry. I remember learning it and I know I passed it. But mostly, all I really remember is all of us sitting in rows in a silent dismal class with Miss A. sitting up front glaring straight down at us daring any of us to speak or sneak a note to one another.

The major realization for me is the understanding and acceptance of the fact that I can and will learn this stuff "again" in the quest to provide my kids with a well rounded education. With a math master as a husband and his dire warnings that math is the international language I realize its importance.

However, I'm still not sold on the idea that we have to teach our kids every single subject and teach it well in the prescribed manner set up as scope and sequence. So far, I have only had one child fit that slot and acutally he doesn't because in the earlier years he was way ahead and remains so.

Even though highschool looms close I still believe that when my kids see the need for certain skills they will learn. That being said, they will be ready for university (hoping and praying that is their choice) and I am putting complete faith that the Lord will guide me as my children change and grow.

There are so many areas in life that I value. I love how my kids saw us struggle to build two houses and with the next one actually help us frame it up. I want them to understand that we live in this neighbourhood not because we fit in financially but because it was a wise investment for our future. I don't want them to make financial mistakes as we did. Money sense will be a subject in this house. Cooking is another subject that holds importance, then gardening, that is very relevant. Giving of themselves. Volunteering within the community will be a requirement.

Oh, and independence...from herd mentality. The one area I hope I have nurtured is their ability to think on their feet. To step aside from the herd and ask is this right for me, is this something Jesus would do, would my parents approve?

They are destined to blaze their own trail....I just pray they do it on their own terms....