If you go to Google and start typing in, “Homeschool: am I” it will, in all likelihood, autofill to “am I doing enough”. This is, apparently, the grave concern amongst homeschoolers. And it’s one that I was absolutely sure wouldn’t plague me. Me with my steadfast rule that children be allowed to play, that the work of children is best done in trees, with muddy knees, unsupervised. No way would I ever think I wasn’t doing enough. If anything, I’d presumed, I thought I’d be all, “Sigh. Too much routine. Let’s tear some shit up.”
And here we are, a week and a half in, and I’m kind of stressed out that I’m not doing enough. The first few days were great. Everything they did, I was all, “ZOMG, THE LEARNING.” And now I’m all, “Omg, his handwriting is shit. Why, for the love of god, does she not grasp the concept of the silent E? I know it doesn’t make sense; life doesn’t. Just freaking learn it. Snac is not snake, and it never will be.”
Mind you, this is all happening in my head. To the kids, I’m still all, “It’s cool. Just sound it out. Your ideas are more important than that pesky E.”
But I kinda would prefer both, you know? Brilliant children with amazing ideas AND who get the concept of the damn E.
Here’s the issue: homeschoolers can pull off in a few hours what it takes traditional school eight hours to do. Fewer interruptions, fewer questions, way less time spent sorting out problems all mean that if we start school by 9, honestly, we’re done by 11.
I was thinking that was awesome.
And then I saw a friend at the playground, and she was all, “Oh, is it break time?” And I was all, “Hell naw. We’ve been done for 2 hours now. I mean, the boy will read another chapter of Harry Potter later, and I’ll con the girl into writing a letter to Grandma, but the bulk of it is long, long over.”
And she was all, “Oh.”
I should be strong enough to stand up to that oh. Or to at least not interpret it in the most hostile way possible. But if I’m honest, that ‘oh’ kind of scares the piss out of me.
Homeschooling is, at the end of the day, a risk that I’m assuming for my kids, and lordy be, that’s hard to sit with. If I stick them in traditional school, I guess I’m still taking a risk, but it’s not much of one, given that everyone else in the community is taking the same one. I mean, if they wind up stupid, they’ll be no more or less stupid than the kid next door. But I’ve taken on the task of educating them. If they wind up stupid, I’ll have no one to blame but myself.
Our curriculum doesn’t teach handwriting. I have to do that on my own. And it doesn’t teach phonics. And although I know my daughter can read, to be honest, I’m not sure how well. She’s stubborn as hell and refuses to read aloud. Soooo, I mean, what does she know? How do I tell? Why is it my job to figure this shit out?
And then we have the quirks. The idiosyncrasies. The things that, if they were public schooled, wouldn’t even get noticed, but because they essentially have one-on-one tutoring, I can’t possibly miss. Like how my son is physically unable to copy from book to paper. Unable. I mean, something got wired incorrectly. So okay, great, we’re dealing with it. And then there’s the girl who won’t read out loud. She loves to write. She’ll fill up page after page, writing about lord knows what. And really lord knows–because her spelling is so awful that I sure as hell can’t decipher it.
They say it takes a full year or two to stop comparing what you’re doing in homeschool to what you did in traditional school, to stop trying to make a direct correlation. I guess I’m at the beginning of that process.