It was with mixed emotions last week that I made my last homeschooling lesson plans for Zoe for this school year. This fall she’ll be attending the local international school the older three attend, and my stint as a homeschooling mom will be – at least for the foreseeable future – over. I’m a bit sad not to be picking out curriculum and making plans for the next school year, but a bit excited, too, for the opportunities she’ll have at the school, and the extra time I’ll have.
I was a relunctant homeschooler back in 2002 and over the years had a love-hate relationship with it. There have been things I really, really love about homeschooling. There have been less-than-stellar moments, like when I thought we should sing every morning to start our school day (who was I kidding? That was only fun for me). I loved the laid-back mornings; hated how hard it could be to get going when so many other things (laundry, meals, crying babies) vied for my time. I loved reading together, but struggled to explain math in some other way than “I don’t know why, it’s just the way it is.” I enjoyed having lots of time with my kids, and getting to know their learning styles.
|A Roman feast, 2010|
I loved doing projects (Panning for gold! Growing beans!) and crafts (very, very simple crafts), but never seemed to have as much time for them as I would have liked. By far the most satisfying thing I accomplished during my stint as a homeschooler was teaching each of my kids to read. If for nothing else, I am glad I homeschooled for that reason.
I was forced to move out of the “I would never homeschool” camp – and survived. I have experienced guilt because I do homeschool (“Are they missing out? Are they well-adjusted?”), and guilt because I don’t (“Is my influence in their life as significant as it was? Are they negatively influenced by peers?”). I have come to realize that even if I’m not their primary teacher of the core subjects any more, there is still plenty opportunity to teach them through reading aloud together, playing outside, learning new games, cooking, etc. The key is intentionality – purposefully setting out to spend time with each kid.
And so I step away from homeschooling for now and into a new season for our family.