“Ah-Ha” Homeschool

It's a finger monkey. It has nothing to do with this post.

I had an “ah-ha” homeschooling moment this week.


If you’ve checked out the links at the top of the blog, you probably saw my very serious explanation of why we’ve chosen to homeschool our little ones.


I mean everything there. Plus, if you get me into a conversation about homeschooling there’s a decent chance I’ll bring up John Dewey, educational reform, and talk until your eyes glaze over and you start desperately searching for something something shiny or an edible carbohydrate — anything! — to distract me from my fanatical zeal.


(It’s embarrassing, but true.)


The thing that’s so strange regarding my feelings about homeschooling is that, even though I’m pretty solidly sold on the whole concept, I kind of hate doing it.


Despite the fact it seems my husband and I are able to reproduce in pace with a pair of rabbits, I don’t actually like children very much. I like my kids (mostly), but until children in general are grown up (like upper teen years) I do my best to avoid them.


There are good reasons for this. Small children are unpredictable. They wiggle and squirm a lot. They scream for no reason. They are constantly emitting moist items (whether it be mucus, excrement or half-chewed Goldfish crackers). It there’s a loose piece of paneling anywhere in the city, you can guarantee a small child will find it, pull it loose, and slide your credit card into the gap.


Children are a menace to society.


But, back to the homeschooling. The section of each day where we actually do school is my very favorite, right up there with making people laugh out loud, singing in public places, and eating cherry cheesecake ice cream for dinner.


The problem I have with homeschooling is there’s so much of the day left around the time I spend actually teaching.


Yes, it’s the free time that bothers me. I don’t want to put forth the effort to schedule it, come up with activities, or basically parent intentionally for the rest of the day. It’s a shame to be lazy.


But this week the big girls went down for a rest time and nap and Tres was wide awake and simmering with unspent energy.


I had a pile of about nine books. We read them. We played Little Piggies. We rode horses. I read the books again. We identified body parts, touched different colored blocks, played hide and go seek, and sang songs.


That was in the first 15 minutes. After that I was exhausted.


Tres is able to communicate but it’s mostly in grunts accompanied by a lot of finger-pointing. If the imperious finger and a demanding grunt don’t get her what she wants, she pulls out the Cry Card and begins to keen at a decibel that makes small, squeaky dogs across the county jealous.


When Tres saw I was out of ideas for our special play time and that I was also unwilling to feed her candy corn, she had had enough. The screaming began.


At that moment, while deciding whether or not to fill my ears with bright orange plugs and go about my business, I had my “ah-ha” homeschooling moment.


It’s not a particularly insightful  realization and it’s undeniably self-centered. But…


…if I didn’t homeschool I’d b at home for eight hours very day with a being comparable to a militant foreign exchange student with horrible personal hygiene. No hope for an intelligible string of words.


The very thought of it makes me feel faint.


I’ll hug the big kids tightly tomorrow and make a point of carrying on a conversation with them. Or two… or three. Any topic they choose. They’re actually redeeming my sanity!


In the meantime I’ll be praying for Tres’s language skills. Uh, uh, ug.

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One thought on ““Ah-Ha” Homeschool

  • February 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Actually, I would love to listen to your John Dewey speech. Of all the other theorists I know of, Dewey is the one who makes the most sense to me. If you haven’t heard of it already, I bet you would really like “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv. It’s not so much about educational reform as it is about returning children to the natural world and allowing/encouraging them to spend free time outdoors. This book is not teaching me how to teach children, but it is helping me understand how all people learn and experience life in the wonderful world God has given us.


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