I don’t think any of these would be a very good reason to have decided to start homeschooling. But since we were doing it already, I figure it would be okay to share them with you.
1. Everything is School
Before we started homeschooling I thought of school as a place I sent my kid, and something he did while he was there. There was school, then there was the rest of our family life. After “school” there were chores and family outings and entertainment. But once “school” WAS our family life, I realized that learning wasn’t confined to lesson time. Cooking, cleaning, conversations in the car, trips to the grocery store and the beach, all became learning opportunities. Now everything is school. Maybe you didn’t have to start homeschooling your kids to figure this out, probably you didn’t. But I guess I did.
2. There’s No Such Thing as PRE School
And now that school is our family life, and everything is school, everyone in our family is in our school, no matter how old they are. That’s not to say that Frankie doesn’t get banished outside sometimes . . . because. He. Does. But also, sometimes, he sits in on our spelling lessons and gleefully shouts out the names of phonograms that may or may not have anything to do with the letters I’m showing them. And Anita, our Kindergartener, is Chief Officer in Charge of Reminding Everyone What the Next Line of His Poem Is (from memory). We all listen to chapter books together, and they’re not usually aimed at little kids. But that just means that sometimes Anita and Frankie will be in the playroom playing My Little Pony or Superheroes and sometimes they’ll be under the table playing War of the Worlds or Robinson Crusoe.
3. There’s No Such Thing as Sick Days
The problem about deciding if you need a sick day, is that you usually have to do it at 7:00 in morning. I remember many a day of my own traditional school career when I would be convinced upon waking up that there was no possible way I could go to school and that I was certainly very, very sick . . . only to rebound by 9:45 and spend the rest of the day driving my mom crazy. Now that we’re homeschooling, my kid can wake up feeling crummy, stay in his jammies, but still probably get most of his regular schoolwork done. If you’re going to read a book, it could be your science book. If you’re going to watch a show, why not have it be your Latin lesson? If you’re going to lay on the couch, you could lay on the couch and listen to a history lesson. And if it turns out he’s feeling better by lunchtime, he can get dressed and even get his math lesson done. I mean, probably he won’t. But he could. Theoretically.
4. It Doesn’t Require Special Food
I used to have a real problem with letting leftovers go bad in my fridge. But with eight people at home eating lunch every day, that is no longer an issue for us. I don’t have to buy juice boxes, or prepackaged baggies of anything. We just eat the food that’s in our house for lunch. Sometimes it’s sandwiches, sometimes it’s veggies and crackers and various things to dip them in, sometimes it’s a big dish of spaghetti with a bunch of forks in it, on a chair, on the front porch. Because we can.
5. We Get to Be Friends With Whomever
My kids are friends with kids of a very wide age range. Just by the nature of traditional school, I tended to hang out only with other kids just my age. And certainly not my own little sister. How embarrassing. But at our classes and field trips and weekly parkday, my kids are able to hang out with whomever they like. To my great delight, that usually includes their siblings. Even though there are almost six years between Anita and Betty, they are both a part of the sweetest group of girlfriends. One of my sons happens to click best with a boy a couple of years younger than he is. And my second grader is my jock, and spends parkday playing pickup football with the middle and high school kids. And it’s all good.
6. Nothing Depends on How Tall You Are
When I was in school, I remember it being a HUGE deal how tall everyone in the class was in relation to one another. We lined up to go inside by height. A big part of a kids’ identity seemed to be wrapped up in whether he was a tall kid or a short kid. But my kids don’t really think about whether they’re tall or short at all. Since they hang out in groups of kids of different ages, there really isn’t one height that everyone is supposed to be. No one seems to notice.
7. We Get to Like What We Like
Maybe this has more to
do with my own particular neuroses than with traditional schooling, but I
remember feeling a lot of pressure to like the same things and listen
to the same music and wear the same types of clothes as my classmates.
My kids don’t seem to be facing that at all. They usually see their
group of friends twice a week (at a class we host and at our homeschool
parkday) but as far as I can tell, their friends don’t seem to have any
expectation that they’ll all like the same things. My daughter, who is
about to turn eleven, still likes dolls and dressing up, one of her best friends
hasn’t liked those things for years, but no one seems to mind. The kids
at our parkday dress differently, and have different family rules for
screens and entertainment, and like different sports teams. And I can’t
remember it ever being an issue. Sometimes there are tears at parkday, but usually it’s because somebody accidentally whacked somebody
else with a fallen tree branch. That’s easier to recover from, somehow,
than it becoming common knowledge that you like Olivia Newton John and not the Beastie Boys (ask me how I know).
And, hey, that’s seven. So I’m linking it up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes.
Betty and I have been busily planning her birthday party, which is on Saturday. I’m planning a blog recap, as usual. Along with a defense of our theme . . . since, all it took was this on picture on Instagram for the finger-waggers to come out. <sigh>
But it’s going to be great. I wish you could join us. Have a lovely weekend!