So I told S everything I was thinking and how I was very overwhelmed. He asked me, in his always calm manner, "Brenda, what are we required to teach them?"
So I read the state law to him. In Texas, we are required to teach reading, spelling, grammar, math and a course in good citizenship.
He said, "Then teach those things....and Bible...and let the rest go."
My mind immediately starting arguing why I HAD to teach _______________, and ___________, and _______________. It literally took me two days to wrap my head around just teaching what was required.
Why do we have to make everything so hard?
I told him all the reasons why I couldn't/shouldn't/wouldn't skip certain subjects. He told me I could do what I wanted, but if it were up to him, certain things would just be hit once a month or so. Teach them, but not daily.
Hmm. So I really had to think all this over. When it was time to make lesson plans, I sat down and made a list:
What I teach that's required: reading, spelling, grammar, math, good citizenship.
What I teach that's extra: history, geography, writing, handwriting, typing, science, art, current events, Bible.
Do you see an issue there? That doesn't even include the time we spend on music education (which I don't teach), physical therapy, vision therapy, and homemaking skills, etc.
How would a sane person think all of the above was possible, with two students, a one-year-old, a house to run, and a husband who works 2 jobs? I mean, why would I think I should have enough time in the day for all that?
Now remember...all those links I posted yesterday were still buzzing through my head. Especially the theme of children loving to learn and being able to learn what they are interested in and how it really doesn't all have to be about college prep.
What to do?
All the things I have studied and learned about homeschooling high school tell you to tailor your child's education to their interests and talents. If your son is very interested in a certain career, lean heavy on the math and science or whatever will be required of him for that job/degree. If your daughter wants to work with animals, get her into a program at the zoo or local vet.
The problem was, up until a few months ago, Sweetheart showed no special interest in anything. The question of what she wanted to be when she grew up was a big ol' question mark. But recently she has been writing a book. She talks about it all the time. She works on it any spare moment she has. She has her friends involved in it. And the thing is, she's still working on it! For months this has been going on.
Sweetheart, historically, has changed her mind as the wind blows. When she was 10 she begged me to decorate her room in pirates. She read about pirates, she played pirates, she drew pirates.
For 2 weeks.
I knew her well by that time. Well enough to know we would not be decorating her room in pirates. So this writing thing has pleasantly surprised me. She loves writing. She loves reading too. She's even told me she needs to learn to spell better so her writing will be easier. Wow.
So S and I talked about what a waste of time it was to spend time every single school day on science for her. She loves doing experiments. She hates slogging through the book and writing out answers on all the little flappy things I print out (a notebooking companion I bought). Come to think of it, Little Bit hates writing on those flappy things too. But she LOVES going outside to look at the stars. (She's studying astronomy this year.)
Am I killing my children's interest in science by the way I'm teaching it?
Why yes. Yes I am.
If I'm really serious about having my children love learning, I need to change up the way I am doing a few things.
It took me nearly a week to be able to say that. That notebooking companion I bought is GOOD. And it helps them retain! And I was so proud we're making it through that astronomy book on schedule. Look how much we've done! Look how much I've been able to check off! I think we're actually going to finish the book this year! They just need to stop their complaining. I know what's best for them. Sweetheart NEEDS to do this book because it's getting her ready for high school. It's only going to get harder/worse from here so she better get used to it. It's just what you have to do!!!
That little voice has been getting louder. Who says we HAVE to do it this way? Every homeschooler I know uses this science curriculum in 7th or 8th grade. It's what you do. Really, Sweetheart should have done this book last year. Really, we're behind!
So this week we just left science off completely. Mama hasn't had enough time to process it all into a plan of action just yet. The wheels are still turning.
My next step was to find out what Sweetheart was interested in learning (besides writing). I'll share our conversation with you next time.