Parenting is hard (sometimes terrifying) and confusing work. Now that I am a parent, I find myself asking all kinds of questions that I never thought I would ask. Before I had children, I often thought that I knew exactly how I would one day raise them. I pretty much had it all figured out! Didn't you?
Well, as it turns out, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I find myself asking a million questions about what I am doing, what I should be doing and what I should not be doing. Sometimes I'm hoping that I will just get it right! I try to bring myself back down to earth and remember that there won't always be a wrong or a right answer, but that I have to make choices that will be best for MY family at this specific time.
One question I have been asking myself a lot lately is "should I homeschool my kids?" I am in an amazing position right now for both work and family. I work as a preschool teacher and for Learn Safari. This allows me the flexibility and time to work with my children while still being able to dedicate time to my career. So, I get the benefits of both worlds (along with the difficulties and drawbacks of both!). This means, however, that I can consider homeschooling. It's something I never thought I would consider.
I know a lot of you have strong feelings about the subject, while others may just be mulling the idea over like myself. I can see both the benefits and drawbacks and in this post I would like to share them both. I'll explain the things that are exciting me and terrifying me at the same time!
The Upside of Homeschooling
Designing A Curriculum That Is Unique To The Skills, Interests & Needs Of My Children
The biggest draw about homeschooling is the ability to mold my children's education to best fit their needs. I can take the time to focus on what my children need the most help with, breeze through the things they find to be easier, and really explore their interests. I want them to have a well-rounded education where they explore STEM subjects, but where literature, history, art and culture are also appreciated. We need both to make the world go 'round!
Teaching My Children HOW To Learn
I honestly worry about the one size fits all school system. I don't want my girls' uniqueness, creativity and ability to think outside of the box to be suppressed. Yes, it's important for them to be able to follow rules, follow directions and get along with others. However, in an undeniably ephemeral world, the most successful people have to be not just "intelligent" but creative and able to disrupt old and tired systems.
Time is our biggest commodity and I just don't want to waste it! Between travel time, standardized testing, homework and time spent dealing with classroom management; it seems like a lot of a student's time is "used up" at school. I want my girls to be involved in extra activities that might interest them, like music, art and dance. However, I do not want to manage all of their time. They need freedom to make choices. They need to spend time doing what they want and they need to learn how to manage their own time too. If we go with the homeschool route, I think we could do "more" while still giving them the freedom self regulate.
The Scary Part Of Homeschooling
Will I Be Enough?
My biggest concern is whether I can be the teacher they will need and deserve. As a teacher, I know the amount of work, thought, planning and patience that it takes. It's just such HARD work. So, would I be able to cover all the subjects at all the levels that they will need? What about MATH?!?!?! Oh I am soooo scared of math, and they NEED to be good at math.
I think that the lower grades I would be able to handle without issues. I have experience working with young students (well, I have taught everything from Pre-School to High School), I have a wide range of knowledge and I love to learn. Additionally, I would not have to worry about 18+ students, but instead I would just have to worry about 2 students (so far...). However, as their knowledge grows and their needs grow, will I be able to grow with them?
What Opportunities Will They Miss Out On?
I think this concern speaks for itself. Schools generally have resources that I do not have access to. Science labs, guidance counselors, teams and clubs that may be available to my daughters. I am not very concerned about "socialization" and making friends, because they can be involved in extra curricular activities. With extra-curricular activities they will not only have the opportunity to make friends, but they will be under the teaching and guidance from instructors other than myself.
Will I Be Giving Them All The Tools They Need To Fly Without Me?
I love teaching and watching students blossom with new found knowledge. As a parent, however, one of our most important roles is to teach our children how to survive, or better yet, thrive without us. If I am their teacher all of their lives, will I be giving them the tools and confidence they will require to go on without me? I can help strengthen their wings, but they will only be able to soar if it's without me. Will I be holding them back?
Will We Have Accountability?
Finally, what kind of accountability will we have? How will I know that we are on track and that the girls are meeting all the requirements for their levels? Furthermore, who is going to hold ME accountable? I worry that I might get too lax or at some point "rest on my laurels."
More importantly; how will homeschooling affect their ability to get into a good university? How will institutions know the quality of education the girls received, when I am having a hard time figuring out how I would know the quality of their education?
As I mentioned before, I have a lot of contradictory thoughts on homeschooling. I would love to hear from you guys out there! As parents, homeschoolers, and school teachers, what are your thoughts? Please share your constructive thoughts with us in the comments below!
Keli Garcia Allen firstname.lastname@example.org