We’ve finished up our first week of school, and it has been eventful! We’ve read, and counted, cut and pasted, colored and practiced writing our name. We’ve learned our phone number and address, visited the library, learned Spanish (thanks to my Spanish-speaking neighbor who tutors Laynie once a week), and we’ve sung songs. It’s been a blast! Laynie’s enjoyed her first week of school too, and is very excited. Her good friend has excitedly been chatting about going to preschool for the first time next week, and Laynie informed me “I’m so lucky I get to stay at home to have school with you, Mommy.” Aw… Of course my heart melted.
Sure, I’ve taught school, so homeschooling “should” be easy for me. But I’ll be the first to say it’s not. People always think so, and they always say, “Well, you’ve taught school, so you’re so qualified – but I could never homeschool my own kids.” While that belief is kind to say to me, I am quick to respond that I’m no more qualified than any other mom or dad or grandma or aunt out there. Sure, I’ve got a Master’s degree in education, but honestly, that hasn’t given me but a small edge over any one else, if any at all. All I’ve got that anyone else doesn’t is a piece of paper with a degree written on it (which I’m still paying for, by the way). The same books I read in my graduate studies are available for anyone out there to read if they want to, and anyone can spend a couple of weeks shadowing any school teacher to find out that he/she has all it takes to do the job him/herself. After all, many parents homeschool anyway on a daily basis (those nightly homework assignments in which you find you have to teach your child all over again what he/she should have learned in school).
But yes, it is hard – and I’ve found that I absolutely can’t be lazy or procrastinate (two weaknesses of mine). I had almost forgotten how much work it is to plan ahead for lessons, yet I got it all done with time to spare. I spent over two hours just planning for this week’s lessons, and making sure I had all the materials and books needed for each day. Then, I spent another hour this morning planning again – for next week. However, I’m not complaining. Planning for 4K is a lot easier than planning for third or sixth grade (the grades I taught when I was a public school teacher). I’m thankful that the only subjects I really have to focus on right now are Reading, Math, and Bible. Adding in daily doses of other subjects (like Social Studies, Science, Art, Music, etc…) will add a little more time needed for planning (Right now we only do those things once a week). Anyway, all that planning for less than an hour of lessons per day seems like a lot. Maybe as I get used to the planning, it will not take me as long to get my act together. I guess it works out good for me that I get to ease back into it. As Laynie gets older, I know it will gradually get tougher – with more subjects and higher-level learning. Right now, teaching the letter Ii and its sound is so much easier than teaching critical thinking skills or comprehension, and teaching the number 1 is a lot easier than teaching algebra or geometry. But I’m sure I’ll re-learn those subjects as I go, and it will probably be a smooth transition as they get tougher and tougher. Perhaps I won’t think they’re tough once I’m there. Most of my homeschooling friends say so, anyway.
Lots of my friends on Facebook have posted pictures of their children with huge (adorable) book bags on their backs, walking to the school bus, or waving from their classrooms on the first day of school. Preschool and Kindergarten. They’re so cute, and so grown up – I’ve known many of them since they were babies. I know their parents are so proud of them, and I also know that a piece of their hearts is walking onto that bus or into that school building. Will Laynie be missing out if she doesn’t have that exact same experience? I doubt it – except she won’t have a scrapbook page of it (although maybe she will – I’ll just take a picture of her standing on our front porch steps perhaps). Will I be missing out as a mom if I don’t have that same experience? I doubt it as well – and thank goodness; I’m sure it’s heart-wrenching for any mother to place your child into the hands of a stranger for the majority of their waking hours. But, who cares about me… it’s all about my child anyway. She’ll eventually step out on her own, when she’s ready.
So, those of you who are with me on this exciting journey, let me know how it’s going for you! I hope you’ve felt satisfied with how the beginning of your school year is progressing (that is, if your year has just begun – I know some of you are year-round homeschoolers, and others have very different methods than mine). Leave a comment if you’d like to share with all of us!