We are seriously debating homeschooling the girlies. Sometimes I smack myself on the forehead and think I'm crazy (usually after a rough day with the girls) and then other days I think it is the best idea I ever had! It is something I have been thinking about almost since the day I gave birth to the oldest and now that kindergarten is just around the corner, I get panicky, thinking of her going to public school.
Hubby and I are the most easy going people you would ever meet. We wake up some weekends without a plan and say, "Hey, let's go to Berkley Springs for a drive." Or if friends call us up and invite us over at the last minute, we'll be there in a flash! We like to live a natural sort of existence, we buy organic meat from a ranch, grow our own food, try to buy organic at the food stores when we can afford it, and we don't succumb to the pressures of keeping up with the Joneses of the world. We always envisioned taking family vacations to historic areas and parks and throwing in a lesson while we are there. Visiting museums and teaching our girls about art and at the same time, teaching ourselves, too.
I think we live in an ideal location, we are 3 hours or less away from: DC with all the lovely Smithsonian's and historic districts; Mt. Vernon and Monticello, Luray Caverns and Williamsburg in VA; Gettysburg and Amish country in PA and more. Lots of farms and parks nearby to teach the girls about animals and farming. I don't doubt my ability to teach, but I worry about how I can juggle teaching and caring for the younger two.
Some part of me looks forward to Oldest going to school so I can focus more on the younger two, and then the other part of me fears that all our hard work in teaching her will unravel when she gets there. I know I must let go and let them grow, make choices and learn from their mistakes and successes. I just want them to be the best they can be and to grow knowing they can do most anything. Can they really learn all that being in a crowded class room with 30 other students? Can I really teach them to be independent and assertive on their own?
Oldest already knows how to write her name and writes all the letters of the alphabet. She knows her numbers and basic addition. She surprised me tonight with making pudding all by herself. She measured 2 cups of milk and mixed it all and came to get me after she made it. First, I was mad that she didn't ask first or come and get me for help, but when I saw what she did and that she did it right (and no mess all over the place), I was proud of her. Pudding is not something I make often, so I was impressed she had made it correctly. I have long suspected that she can read, but she doesn't realize she can. I let them help me cook from time to time and always show them and explain what I am doing next, why we measure ingredients and what happens when it gets hot and cooks. It must all be sinking in better than I thought it was. These are the moments that make me confident in homeschooling.
I also worry about taking on more than I can handle. The sacrifices I need to make in order to home school. Can we afford to buy the materials we need? Can I find a support group with the same or similar agenda I have? Do I have the patience? Maybe I should let her go to kindergarten and if I don't like it, I can always take her out and home school her. At least this way, she can make some friends and if I take her out, she'll still have her friends. Whatever we decide, we need to do it soon. Three more months before school starts for 2007-08 and we need to be sure and mostly, I need to prepare myself with supplies if we decide to home school.
I like the freedom that homeschooling offers, too. That is the biggest bonus after quality education. To not be confined to a schedule Monday through Friday, September through June. To pack up and go on a trip anytime without having to get permission from a school. If there is an exhibit during the week, I can go and avoid the crowds on weekends. And with Hubby working the 3 pm to 11 pm shift, he will be able to see the kids during the day instead of kissing them on their foreheads while they sleep and a quick breakfast before they go. It seems I am leaning more to homeschooling and I'll have to do more research before I commit. If I see a school desk at a yard sale, it's going to end up in the back of my car, and my decision will be made.