Monday, April 19, 2010
Being a homeschooling mom is stressful. And it’s got nothing to do with the juggling of responsibilities and keeping your child on task. The stress comes from trying to pick out the best educational method. There are a kazillion schools of thought, and a billion curriculums for each school of thought. And you’ve only got one shot with your kid!
In between food poisoning episodes this weekend, I’ve been researching classical education. Wow! Montessori has always impressed me. As has Waldorf, and Charlotte Mason. Internet-based education sounds terrific. Unschooling is even better – except that there are no checklists, and I do so love checklists. And I’ve been checking out charter schools in our state – the ones where you homeschool, but the government provides funds and a little structure… I’m overwhelmed with the options. It gives me a headache – or maybe it’s that food poisoning.
So, let’s start with our desired outcome. A girl who’s a lover of God and man – that’s a given. A mission to change the world. A ballet-dancing, tennis-champion, oboe-playing neurosurgeon by the age of 18. (Hey, it’s the parents' responsibility to set high expectations – kids generally live up to what you expect…) (And if I left it up to Esmé, she’d be a mamma dragon when she grows up. And that’s just not gonna happen, no matter what curriculum I use.)
You think we’re starting too young? Me too, sometimes. Until I realize that other kids her age know where Iraguay is. And how to count by fives. And how to dissect frogs. And how to play Für Elise. She’s getting behind! Especially if she’s going to take her SAT when she’s 10.
Another case in point – this three-year-old is starting to write already – in block letters! And everybody knows it’s “Cursive First,” don’t they? Or at least D’Nealian. Or one of another dozen schools of handwriting thought. How am I going to backtrack? Deep breath – desired outcome… they don’t test handwriting on the SATs, right? And when it comes down to it, nobody cares if a neurosurgeon uses block or cursive, right? Whew – relax…
Honestly, I think I like the literature-based approach – surrounding ourselves with a pile of books in whatever area we’re choosing to study – balancing things with home ec., and sports, and music, and math puzzles with Daddy. Not to mention lots of field trips and volunteering. It sounds heavenly – if we leave the Latin out.
That’s of course assuming my daughter is identical to me in the love of reading. Otherwise, we’re back to square one. Panic one.
And my other panic is that I’m wasting all this time studying learning methods and instruction techniques and organizational tips instead of teaching my daughter. I should have had this all figured out before she was born, so I wouldn’t have to use valuable time now!
Breathe deep. Relax. Go put that Little Einstein DVD on without feeling guilty so you can wash the dishes. Cuddle with your baby girl. Savor the moment. Because she will be graduating from college far too soon. And the era of baby unicorns and dragons will be over.
She has the rest of her life to learn everything she needs to know. But only this moment to be your baby girl.
Posted by Jane Maritz at 8:51 PM