All green, nature, and sustainability posts have been moved to Loving Nature's Garden

Monday, August 17, 2009

Juggling Homeschooling

I am not a very good juggler. In fact I can't even keep two objects in the air at a time. I don't even multitask very well. You might be excused for thinking this is not a good recipe for homeschool success. I mean, isn't homeschooling all about juggling time, juggling the needs of one child against another, and juggling the housework against homeschooling and the time to be an adult? All I can say is that I drop the balls over and over, but I just pick them up and keep going. I believe that if I can do it, anyone who really wants to can homeschool too. You, for instance, can do it!

The good thing about juggling homeschool is that things never stay the same for long. I mean, I might be getting frustrated that one child has no current interest in writing. The strange thing is that letting that sit for a while, and mindfully exploring options, seems to lead to some kind of spontanteous solution. It's like the watched kettle never boiling. A watched child never seems to be ready for the next step. It's like when you are juggling, or trying to catch a ball - when you are tense and worried there's little chance you'll catch it. The more anxious you are for your child to do something, the less likely it seems they'll be able to satisfy you.

Parents who are thinking of homeschooling the elementary years seem to come in two sorts.
  1. A parent who thinks that, no matter what, they're bound to do better than the schools would. This is usually the big picture thinking parent.
  2. A parent who knows that kids in school are kept busy all day and wonders how they can possibly learn and do enough to provide all that to their child. This is usually the detail oriented parent.
Whichever side you approach homeschooling from doesn't really matter. The truth is that parents can make mistakes, but children benefit from consistency, love, and personal attention during homeschooling in a way that no school can provide. At the same time, kids don't need to be fully occupied at home the same way they need to be when placed in an environment with a class load of same-age peers. You really don't need your kids completing a stack of worksheets to find out what they know. If they don't learn to read until they are 8 or 9 years old it actually may not indicate they have a reading problem. They can learn to count with pebbles outside just as readily as in a classroom with shelves full of bright primary colored mathematically designed doo-dads. Maybe the pebbles even work better.

So, give yourself a pat on the back. You can do it! As I enter the 7th year of homeschooling with my kids there's one thing I have learned. Kids are not eggs. If you haven't mastered homeschool juggling and you drop something a time or two (or even over and over again) they really won't crack and be irreparably broken. Go for it. You'll learn something in the process, and they will learn a ton, even if you NEVER master juggling.


Baby Murloc said...

I love this post! "kids are not eggs" Lol... And when you let them explore and learn because they are naturally curious, they learn by leaps and bounds. Why restrict them to only learning what some crazy person decided is all they should take in at age whatever? My son would go nuts if I told him he had to stop learning at page whatever...or at a particular point because time was up..That would be like saying, "Sweetie, you've walked a mile now stop. Yes, I know the view will be better from the top, but that's another few miles away, and at your age, you should only walk a mile." THAT would fly in my house!

Inner Elder said...

I like the organized and practical way you encourage homeschoolers both newcomers and old hands.

Tina's Mom (Homespun Juggling)

Ruby in Montreal said...

Just dropping in from the Carnival. I love your message about being able to do homeschooling, no matter what kind of approach we take!


Aimee said...

That's great advice. People always tell me they aren't organized enough to homeschool. I tell them they don't have to be! They can just do it how it works for them!

Bleu said...

I'm dropping in from the Carnival. This is a great post! I love the way you distinguish between the detail-oriented parent, and the big picture parent.

Monica @ Paper Bridges said...

kids aren't eggs - so glad for that!

great post. it really spoke to my heart.

monica, a big picture parent

Alison Kerr said...

I just want to say thanks for all the great comments. Now if I can just get life, and homeschooling, to slow down a tad I can get around to visit all of your carnival posts and leave comments for you too.

By the way, I just put up yesterday's post at my other blog. I'm running just a bit behind now that homeschooling has begun. Hopefully we'll be settled into the routine though before long.

Ruralmama said...

Hey there!

I enjoyed this post a lot. While I take a sometimes very organized, sometimes very NOT organized approach to homeschooling, I do agree that there are benefits just with them at home. How funny that I fit both of your categories of parents!

Jennifer said...

Thanks, I needed to read this. I am really struggling as the new year is beginning. My kids are struggling in a couple subjects. I'm overwhelmed with all the different things we need to be doing.

Education and Training Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory