Over the rainbow

It is mid-June. We are almost over the rainbow. Working on finishing up everything school & extra-curricular related. Inching our way toward summer vacation. I can’t wait.

Today the girls had their recorder concert and they did a great job. Of course I say that, I’m their mother. Over the weekend they had their dance recital and of course they danced beautifully there. They did, really. I was particularly impressed that they both were able to dance on stage in front of hundreds of people and not flinch.

I am limping toward the finish line. I’m out of energy and am so looking forward to a few days to relax and recharge. It’s that time of the year when I announce that I’m going to pre-make all crafts and gifts that will be given over the next year. I don’t see myself actually sitting down this summer to put together Valentine bags or Mother’s Day crafts, but I really want to. That way they’ll all be done.

Overall I would say that this school year went very well. Busy, but well. Without incident. As a parent, the mere fact that the year passed without incident is significant. Despite my current state of exhaustion, I’m looking foward to another homeschooling year.

There are two questions/statements I hear quite a bit about homeschooling. I heard both of them yesterday as a matter of fact. To both I give short evasive answers and a half smile. This is what I really want to say though:

Popular Statement About Homeschooling #1: “I could never be with my children all day, I don’t know how you do it.”

I smile and say, “Oh, you get used to it.” And that is actually true, you do get used to it. The same way you get used to being with your newborn baby all day (and night) when you first become a parent. I don’t get tired of my children, but I do get tired of being a parent sometimes. A lot. I think it’s human nature to want to play more than one role in life. What I want to also point out, but don’t, is this:

  • I’m with my children all day, so I have a very good read on their development, their moods, their way of thinking, their desires and impulses, their preferences, their fears, their ways of coping and reacting. Because I know so much about them, I don’t spend a lot of time wondering what they’re thinking or feeling. It frees up some of my thinking space.
  • When my girls play with other children, I’m usually present, so I have a good handle on the social dynamics and can step in and act as an informed sounding board. We are generally not affected by stressful social situations.
  • Being together so much means we all have to treat each other with respect or things will go downhill quickly. I like being treated with respect.
  • Since we spend a fair amount of time at home, my girls have more time to help out around the house by keeping their bedrooms clean, unloading the dishwasher, helping with the laundry, vacuuming, dusting and so forth. I like having helpers.
  • My kids spend a fair amount of time playing on their own, either together or alone, and they don’t want me to interact with them while they play. They like knowing I’m in the next room, but they don’t want me to be part of their games. I use that time to unwind and get things done.
  • Given all the benefits of being with my children so much, I look at people who are not with their children all day and wonder how they do it. I imagine I would spend more time wondering how they’re doing (emotionally) and more time hearing about the “she said/she said” social situations. Right now I don’t give any of that much thought.

Popular Statement About Homeschooling #2: “What will you do when they get older and you can’t provide all the instruction they need?”

I get this question all the time. I smile and say, “We’ll see what happens when the time comes.” What I really want to say is this:

I took honors classes in high school, graduated magna cum laude from college, then went to graduate school and was offered a coveted teaching assistantship that paid all my bills. Given my own successful academic foundation, I am not worried that I won’t be able to educate my children. When the time comes to find teachers to supplement my instruction, I’m sure I’ll be able to do that just fine.

I then want to follow up by noting that there are many good teachers who are now leaving the public school system because they are looking for other ways to connect with and inspire good students. The pool of creative, qualified teachers who will be able to help my children understand concepts I cannot teach is going to continue to grow larger in the coming years.

Homeschooling is a wonderful option for families who are able and willing to make it work!

And just like the families who are involved in public school life, we are happy that the year is almost over and are looking forward to a fun summer!

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