As of June, I will be done homeschooling. The journey that began when R turned four and we debated about her education, deciding to "try it for a year", is ending some fourteen years later. M, the youngest of the three, will be entering high school in the fall.
I feel like I should write some sort of retrospective, but how does one distil so many years of learning into mere words? Once again, words alone prove hollow. But it being me, I'll try.
|2008 school day|
When I began I looked at women who had been teaching their kids for five or six years and I considered them sages of educational wisdom. They had taught so much, multiple subjects, while I was on my first steps of doing flash-card phonics and teaching math using plastic counters. They must know it all. They had seen to many different facets of learning. When I reached that point myself, I wondered if they really had known everything - because I sure didn't.
I then got terrified when I realized some moms who were starting their homeschool journey seemed to look at me as I'd looked at those women. I figured they'd find me out. Perhaps they did, perhaps not. Unless they read this, I suppose. Hm.
Each phase of learning, and each student, brought new twists and turns. And rather than a closed-in maze that gave me claustrophobia, the twists and turns made it feel like winding path that meandered through new and varied scenery. Not to say I didn't have days (weeks?) of metaphorically bashing my head on a wall. Each phase also brought its own challenges. When child #1 and child #2 learn very differently, you think you've got it figured out until child #3 comes along and blows all of those tidy ideas out of the water.
I learned about my own limitations - and I learned some talents, too. I learned about learning styles. I learned about trying to quantify our learning for the people who asked, "what do you do all day?" I learned that socialization doesn't require a classroom or a playground. I learned the joy of seeing a child who has worked, struggled through something suddenly have it click - and the light bulb comes on. It's incredible. I worked through projects with them and saw them overcome nervousness to present their work to groups. I shared my love of learning and, I hope, instilled some of it in them. I tried to show them as we learned some things together that really, you should never, ever stop learning.
I learned about ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and Greece and Rome and the Middle Ages and Genghis Khan and mommy did you know that this shark eats these fish and mommy what is the name of that bird and why do we say "won't" instead of "willn't" and why do I have to do all this math and Bible and Latin and Greek and reading books and science and mommy look look at this turtle skeleton I found IT IS THE COOLEST THING EVER.
So while our days will look very different, it's the right time for us. I always said homeschooling may not be for every family, but it's been a huge blessing for us. I stand by that, even as I bid it a fond farewell.