Friday, June 21, 2013

We Did It!

This is a milestone that absolutely cannot pass without a blog post. Last Friday, we completed our 180th day of homeschool. Alexander has graduated the second grade and will be a third grader next year! Jack has graduated preschool and will be a kindergartner next year. I taught, parented, loved, snuggled, cajoled, encouraged, scolded, cried, yelled, hugged, kissed, chased, diapered, bathed, taxied, worried, fed, cheered, researched, planned, and lectured, among other things. We all survived.

Every day was not easy. But, I can say with no reservations that this was the right choice, for our family, for this year. We had a successful year.

Choosing to homeschool was not a decision that we took lightly. It's kind of a big deal. It's still somewhat radical. Even having considered homeschooling since Alexander was a toddler, we still put him in public school. For two years. I haven't blogged much about those two years, although there is a lot that could be said. There's really no way to say this and not sound cryptic and not imply something, but I haven't blogged about those years because I believe that my children deserve a certain amount of privacy. Yes, I blog about my kids. Almost exclusively about them. I tell silly stories that I suppose could embarrass them later. But I try to shy away from anything that wouldn't be something one would, for example, include in a baby or scrapbook. So I don't want to put too much more "on paper," but I'd like to just emphasize, for anyone who doesn't fully understand or support our decision, that there was a lot that influenced this decision. Alexander is a very smart boy, but he did not have a good experience in public school. I am not generalizing to other children, nor will I ever. My son, for kindergarten and first grade, at the school he went to, with the teachers, administration, and support that he had, did not have a good experience. There were both strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the table, and the match was just not a good one. Other children, perhaps the majority of children, will have a good experience.

Even with all of that said, I stand behind what I've always said about our decision to homeschool. It's really less a reactionary decision that it may seem. This was something that I've been drawn to, that I've wanted to do for a long time. The fairly blatant failure we had with public school just made the decision to go for it that much clearer. My main reason for homeschooling will always be time. Time with my kids that, if given away, I can never get back. Seven hours away from my children, 180 days a year, is simply too much. Call me selfish if you want, and then come on over so I can show you how much work, time, money, and worry I put into my particular brand of selfish.

My kids are learning. They are not behind. It is not a fight to get them to do their schoolwork. I don't have to ignore the other kids to get schooling done. We're not stuck at home all day laboring. They have friends. They don't hate me for making them do work. They socialize with people of all ages. They are active. They're not weird (you know, any more so than their parents). If and when they're socially awkward it's because that is, sometimes for each of them, part of who they are. They are succeeding. I am proud of what they accomplished this year and I am proud of what I accomplished this year. We did it! And ya know what's more? We're gonna do it again next year. BOOM.

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