Warning: homeschool talk, and nothing else, ahead. If that topic bores you, feel free to skip this post. I won’t be offended. This is mostly to help me sort out my own confused thoughts.
When we are on for homeschooling, I love it. The kids love it. They are learning well, not getting overwhelmed, I am organized and know what we’re doing, we have enough flexibility to roll with a particular topic of interest or go over something that isn’t making sense until it does … it’s the best. It’s fantastic.
Those times don’t happen as frequently as I’d like, though. Most of the time I’m floundering. And I feel like the kids, not to mention their education, suffer from that. I have issues with adrenal fatigue (yes, I know that’s not a “proven medical condition,” but nothing else at all describes my condition even a little, so that’s what I’m going with), and as soon as something happens to throw me off the rails even a little, school and organization and everything else go out the window (I know I’m mixing metaphors, sorry), because it takes all I’ve got just to put one foot in front of the other and meet my family’s most basic needs.
So I’ve been wondering lately if I ought to put the kids in school next year. I don’t want to—I firmly believe that the best home education tops the best public school education by a mile. But am I giving them the best home education? It hasn’t been too bad this year, with Joy in first grade and Grace in preschool/kindergarten … but what about next year? Or the year after? What happens if I slip down into a firmly mediocre home education, what then? Can I still justify keeping them home, especially when the main reason we began homeschooling them in the first place was so they could receive a better education than they’d get in an American public school?
Joy’s HSP-ness (yes, another not-proven designation. Hey, modern western medicine isn’t the be-all and end-all, all right?) was another factor. I was concerned that she would be misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD if she went to school, or that she’d be so overwhelmed by the controlled chaos that is elementary school that she would just shut down, both very real problems and not (as some of my fears tend to be) simply caused by me over-thinking things.
But she has made huge, huge strides in learning to deal properly with her world this year. I mean, huge. Playing easily with other kids, interacting with other people without prompting, being aware of and responding to the world around her in a healthy way, handling change without melting down … it’s been incredible. And it’s confirmed that my decision to keep her home this year and last year was the right one. But with the strides she’s made, maybe public school wouldn’t be so bad for her next year? Or maybe it would set her back, I don’t know. But she kind of thinks she’d like to try it, which is worth something in my book.
(So does Grace, but I was never worried about Grace’s ability to handle the interpersonal aspects of public school. Gracie is sensitive, but not highly sensitive, and she is much better equipped by nature to deal with controlled chaos: she mostly ignores it.)
All of this seems to be leaning in favor of public school next year. And yet, and yet …
Gosh, we had an awesome day today. Reading, grammar, math, social, science, art, piano … all before noon. (Considerably less than that for Grace, obviously.) Then we went outside and played on the playground after lunch, and Joy conquered all five monkey bars at last, and then came back inside with still loads of time for playing, reading, drawing, doing whatever they want. Chores, even! If every day went like this, there’d be no question in my mind. And what if, instead of things getting worse as time goes by, things get better? Will I be robbing my kids of their best possible education by giving up on homeschooling just because we’ve had a rough couple of years at the start?
Gah. So many questions.
I’m not exactly sure I’ve managed to sort out any thoughts (“Then why have you inflicted this post on us, Louise?” I hear you howl). Except to clarify that I really shouldn’t make any decisions right now.
For any of you who do homeschool or did – do you/did you have these sorts of crises ever? And if so, how do you/did you resolve them? This is one of the worst parts of not having a homeschooling network here. There are plenty of opportunities for the kids to interact with other kids outside of school/homeschool activities. Not so much encouragement for Mom when she starts feeling overwhelmed. So here I am, reaching out to my online network, in hopes of some perspective.