1. I have some negative thoughts swirling right now. What if she doesn't learn a thing the entire year? What if this whole experiment fails epically and when we enroll her in first grade next year she is woefully behind? (Out of curiosity I checked out the curriculum for the school here, and she is already doing 95% of what they expect kindergarten students to know at the end of the school year.) What if I hate it? What if I complete and totally suck as my child's teacher? What if I lose my mind by the end of week two and am begging the school to take her? What if I never have a moment of free time to myself? What if I miss terribly the joy of running errands with just one (not-yet-walking) child? What if I never. get. anything. done. ever. again?
2. On second thought . . . it's only kindergarten for chipmunk's sake. So what if she just wants to run around the house with Agent J all day long and play. Isn't that what she is supposed to be doing? Plus, if you knew Agent E you would know that "fun" to her includes reading a lot of books, asking 1000 questions a day, and helping me around the house (all great "learning" opportunities). And it's actually easier on many levels to have all the kids home with me . . . they entertain each other quite well and we never have to worry about leaving the house at a specific time or going out in a rain storm to pick someone up from school or interrupting baby brother's nap.
3. I still fear that I am denying them something that they enjoy by *not* sending them to school. Both girls have loved their preschool experiences. They each attended for the whole 2010-2011 school year, plus summer before and after (so, from July 2010 through August 2011). They love going to school, and their friends, and especially their teachers. (It's a small school and everyone knows everyone . . . students in different classes (different ages) play together and eat lunch together and know every teacher well.) What if they miss it and resent homeschooling right at the outset?
4. Been thinking a lot about curriculum vs. winging it, and I think the best plan for us is a flexible "homemade" curriculum (i.e., nothing very structured or purchased). I have a list (of course I have a list) of what I would generally like to "cover" with the girls for our first semester (September to December). Fridays are for library trips, errands, and extra stuff (e.g., computer skills) that don't really fit in with one of the core subjects. Oh, yes . . . core subjects—reading/writing, math, science, social studies, and foreign language (Italian, duh) are all on the agenda. I have also included health as well as a Bible study. (If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that the all-day kindergarten she would attend is over 30 hours a week.)
|Baby vs. Roomba|
5. Hubby has a pretty sweet schedule right now, as we're rockin this whole shore duty thing, but once he goes back to sea duty (i.e., we go back to the states and he works on a ship again) things will be turned upside down. Then we'll be back on ship time, when he goes to work early and comes home late. Guess what? If the kids need to be out of the house and functional at school by 8:00, there is no way they can still be awake long enough at night to spend any time with Dad whatsoever. We simply cannot live like that for years of sea duty . . . only seeing Dad on weekends and when he is on leave a couple times a year. Especially when he is already going to be gone (i.e., out to sea/deployed) a lot during that time.
6. I am pretty sure I used to make fun of the idea of not wanting to be tied to the school year calendar. Guess what? Now that is a huge factor in my decision to homeschool. If we have the opportunity to visit my husband while he is training/taking classes/otherwise away from us, we don't want to have to wait until a "better" time during the year. When Hubby comes home from deployment, we want to be able to take time off then, not at the next scheduled school break. If we have to move in the middle of the "school year" I don't want the girls to get behind, have to spend time readjusting to new teachers, etc. We can just plan our breaks for when they fit our schedule.
7. While we're talking time and calendar-ish stuff . . . one thing that has been brought to my attention (by well-meaning if not slightly crazy bystanders) is the astute observation that many things in life have a specific starting and ending time as well as a supervisor. Sometimes we have jobs that require us to be awake earlier than we'd like. College classes (in a traditional setting) have a schedule to follow. In any job, you will be reporting to someone, and therefore this whole idea of being able to learn what you find interesting on your own terms is a thought many find a bit too footloose. After all, they proclaim, that's not how the world works, and sooner or later my children will need to learn that and conform. I'll ignore the conforming part for now and just remind those who point this out that my oldest child is five years old. Five. years. old.