So I was feeling really overwhelmed and decided school was the main culprit. I remember our first year of homeschooling. Sweetheart was in 2nd grade. Little Bit was 3. We used ABeka curriculum and added in lapbooks and unit studies and we were still finished by lunchtime every day. My children had tons of time to play and explore. I remember watching with delight as Sweetheart figured out what things SHE liked doing....not just what had been cool in first grade among the popular kids. (Turns out she didn't really enjoy Littlest Pet Shop nearly so much when she didn't see other kids with 50+ pet shops playing at recess every day.) The point was, they had time to do things they wanted to do AND get school done.
Now granted we weren't involved in very much that first year. We did go to gym days and field trips and parties with our homeschool group. We still do that. But over the years we've added in piano lessons and choir and now Toddler Time at the Library for Baby Bee. So we run a bit more than we used to. That won't change any time soon.
And of course 8th grade and 4th grade are a bit meatier than 2nd grade and no grade. Obviously there is more school.
But why should my homeschooled children spend their whole day doing lessons just like public school kids? Where is our benefit? Sure, they can sit on the couch or lay in the floor instead of sitting in a desk.....but that doesn't seem like enough difference to me. Shoes or no shoes? Small potatoes.
So in the midst of my dissatisfaction, I saw this article someone posted on Facebook. What I took away from that article was, "Shoot. MY kids are unhappy in school. THEY have lost their zest for learning!" Some of the descriptions of the public school kids rang true about my own daughters. I didn't like that.
Then, my husband clicked on this TED Talk. I'd seen it before, but as I sat across the room listening to it again, it only solidified what I was thinking.
Time to hack their own education.
Time to explore what they are interested in.
These these were not true of our homeschool. They weren't happening.
And THEN, I read this blog post. And now my wheels were really turning.
Everyone says it's OK for your kids to not go to college and I totally agree. I suspect a lot of homeschoolers agree with that. Yet, we really still feel that we owe it to our kids to educate them as though they ARE going to college. I mean, you're supposed to. We don't want to write off their fate in the 9th grade and have a child graduating who doesn't have a transcript that will help them in their future! What failures we would be!
Plus, so-and-so's kids are studying ______________ and _______________! Is it really asking too much for my kids to study ________________? I mean, that's not even 1/4 of what this friend's kids are doing! And on the field trip, that kid knew so much about _______________ and asked such intelligent questions and my kids were just standing there looking dumb! I have failed them! We haven't done enough! We haven't learned enough! Must. Add. More. Courses. Must. Hit. (fill in subject). More Often!!
And that's pretty much how we got to where we were at the beginning of this month. We were doing every single thing we could possibly fit in. And still I was lashing myself for not having Sweetheart spend time on that vocabulary app I downloaded. Because her vocabulary needs work. I know because she took a standardized test last spring. How can I fit vocabulary in? I know! I can have her do it while she's in the bathroom!!! Otherwise that's just wasted time!
OK I'm kidding. But that's how crazy we can get. Maybe it's just the pressure of being completely responsible for our children's education. Maybe I'm starting to crack.
But those three items started my wheels turning. And that started a conversation with my husband.