Tuesday, February 19, 2008

OH, The Shackles, They Are Restrictive.

What should homeschooling look like? What should my homeschool look like?

We’re having some struggles here at our homeschool. Maybe it’s growing pains? Maybe it’s that Mom is tired? Maybe it’s just Spring Fever, I don’t know.

I’m starting to wonder if our school looks like it should. See, it seems to be a constant struggle with Will. And when I think about it with a larger perspective I think perhaps the problem is not with Will, but with the system.

Will is a good boy, everyone tells me this. I see it myself. He help set up the gym for the Valentine’s Banquet last week after a long day at co op. He didn’t have to, but he did. That is just one example, there are many like that, so why do we struggle so much at home with school? He is not rebellious, he does not have a bad attitude, and he does not wear only black play video games all day. He is a good boy.

He is doing much better on his Algebra lately. Sir D and I have had our laser focus on his algebra. He is also doing well in his writing class and Biology. We have had our laser focus on those subjects. Know what we have not had our laser focus on? History. Know how much history has gotten done in the last three weeks? Yeah that would be a big fat 0.

So off the handle I flew. Other high schoolers have 6 subjects that they must accomplish simultaneously! How is he ever going to handle college? You have to do it ALL and you have to do it WELL!!!! Then I left for my Ladies Bible Study…on forgiveness.

I started thinking, if he’s having a hard time getting his Algebra done and wants to put some less important things off for a while to focus on that, why is that wrong? Just because the public schools do it a certain way does not mean it’s the ideal way, right? Anyway, we are homeschoolers.

The fact is, even though I’ve been homeschooling for 11 years I still struggle with how to do this thing.

I think the problem is, we can do what we want in the early years. We can throw off the shackles of convention and do it the way we want. We can teach our kids the way they learn best, using the materials that work the best. But then we see college looming heavily on the horizon.

We start to shackle ourselves once more. We try to fit our round pegs into the square system.

Why do we do this? How are we supposed to prepare our kids for their future when they must pass through the artificially square system we’ve pulled them out of in the first place, to get there?

For Will history is mostly just a lot of reading. If he needs to put the reading on the back burner for a while to get the Algebra done and that big term paper finished, why is that a big deal? Don’t we do that as adults every day? It’s called prioritization.

I am still very much a product of the system I was educated under. I try to throw off those shackles, but some of them seem to be invisible. But they restrict none the less.


Tonya said...

My cousin is dealing with "what to do in high school" right now on her blog. It's www.raneemc.blogspot.com

I haven't had to deal with the pressures of high school yet! But, I know that our "job" is to give our kids the tools they need to be able to learn. Read well, know how to do research, do math. If history falls by the wayside for a bit, oh well. Right?

Don't you wish you could see 10 years down the road? When I got to see Elizabeth after Christmas, I got such hope for my girls. C&S would never say they did everything right. I know they've had huge obstacles and yet, wow, she is a gem. We just need to have people like that around us - with older kids, who've struggled, not been perfect parents, etc - and yet their kids turn out great!

Anonymous said...

You know what they call people who are really great at one thing and specialize.... they call them well-paid! Not everyone is great at everything and you can expose him to things, but no one will excel at all things. Take hope!

Karla said...

I've been reading your blog for some time now and I've decided to be a lurker no longer! This post really got to me as I am struggling with what my homeschool looks like, and this is only my first year! We kept our son (11) home after he finished the 4th grade in public school, partly because he'd had a poor teacher and was "behind" for his class, and also for character issues that you can't address in a public setting. I've decided that my son will probably not be a mathematician, but hopefully he'll be able to balance a checkbook and other such useful things. Who knows, he may finally get it and become a whiz. Thanks for your honesty with your struggles.

Halfmoon Girl said...

I have gone through these struggles too, but not at the highschool level. All kids are different, which is why I think none of us will ever be experts at homeschooling/parenting. Keep hanging in there and trusting the Lord one day at a time. It is hard for me to let my kids fall when I teach them, but sometimes I think that it is good for them to do once in a while in order to take the initiative in their own learning. I am going to post about my thoughts around this soon as we have had a situation come up that is humbling for me. Hugs to you from me- thanks for sharing.

Karen said...

Great post. I am in my 4th year of homeschooling and I feel sometimes like I am failing miserably. In fact, I have a draft sitting in my blog folder right now about it. It's hard to let people see the down side to homeschooling sometimes, because it just seems like there are so many people against it to start with. You hate to hear the old "I told you so's". :) But your post gives me hope!