Sunday, May 23, 2010

Well Trained Mind

We have been considering homeschooling for about 2 years now.  To be quite honest, when we were in college and I was studying Principles of Education and I learned about the Waldorf model and the Montessori model, we were convinced that we would go one of those routes and if those were out of our reach financially, we would homeschool.  When I was pregnant, I swore up and down that my children would never watch TV, either.  But...the girls came along and we didn't want them to be outcasts or misfits and so we let them watch a limited amount of television.  And when the time came to send them to school, they were excited by the idea and I was excited to have some time to try to write a novel and so we sent them.

Although, I lay in bed EVERY SINGLE night that summer and mourned us not having lunch together every day, not having our morning snuggle time, not spending whole rainy days relaxing together.  I didn't like the intrusion of schedules and friends and projects and homework.  I will admit that even then, long before the idea to homeschool really seemed like something we would or could do, I wanted to be the one to show MY child the WORLD.

Over the last two years, we have discussed this with a lot of the important people in our lives.  Some have been wholeheartedly supportive and others have told us it was not a good idea, that our kids would not mature socially and fit in socially.  My husband has, my close friends have, all accused me for years of worrying too much about what everyone else thinks.

We would go through these periods of research and we would discuss it with the girls and they would say, "No, we want to be with our friends."  And I would say, "They need the experience of other teachers to grow more well balanced."

But lately it seems that I am almost waiting for the things that will tell us that we SHOULD NOT DO THIS.  But, I am only finding reasons why we SHOULD.

Last week, A took the NJASK and had an anxiety attach Monday morning because some teachers build up to this all year and by the time it comes, the kids are overwhelmed.  After Monday the whole thing seemed to breeze by, but then on Friday, the Science portion was ridiculous!

Last week I was also introduced to some people whose values I felt were questionable.  I am pretty laid back and very liberal, but some of the things I heard....made me realize that although I am a "Live and Let Live" kinda gal, I want my girls to conduct themselves with class and dignity and respect.  I don't want them to grow up thinking that certain behavior is acceptable.

Last week, I had a conversation with a friend that made me realize that I wanted better for my girls than what our public school system is offering.

Last week, when we asked the girls about homeschooling, they both said that they didn't care.

This week, A had issues with some girls at school and her teacher said some unfair things and made me remember that when you are a child, you haven't yet found the voice to stand up for yourself and you need to act the victim.  And I think some of those scars stay with you.  I think being treated with respect will make kids grow up to respect themselves and others.

This week, my younger daughter continued to have issues with another girl.  All of which I know is normal, but most of which is unfair.  Most of which is not being handled at all by the lunch aides, because there are so many children and they really don't see everything that goes on.

This week, my girls have needed me.

This week, I started researching curriculum and took out my copy of 'The Well Trained Mind Guide to Classical Education", and I thought again: I can do this!