But for right now, this week, I am loving this gig, confidant in our decision and discovering blessings that I had never thought of finding.
(I just noticed the giant goose that landed on my well-organized shelf).
After so many months of planning and fretting I was anxious to just get started and find out what we are in for, and this week was as good as any. We got together with our co-op on Saturday, and even though I didn't feel fully prepared, we dove in on Monday without any big hoopla; we simply opened the books and got started.
My plan is to do school four days a week and field trips and meeting with our co-op on Fridays. So after our first full week of school, these are a few of the things I've found that I love about homeschooling:
-I had worried about feeling overwhelmed and not having enough time for the writing and things that I need to do, but in fact this week as we have been home more and not doing a lot of running around, I have had more time than I ever have.
-I think this fits my personality; my strengths (according to the tests) are high flexibility and adaptability . . . which related to homeschooling means that although I may not be super-planned or structured, I am good at flying by the seat of my pants (or is it the skin of my teeth?). We did school together this week, and I enjoy adapting the lessons so that the two and four year old learn too.
-One of my weaknesses in mothering littles has always been in the area of play. Frankly, I don't like it. It bores me to tears, and I was never good at just sitting on the floor and playing for long periods of time. Doing school is different. Here, I have a purpose in our play, I love the subjects that I am teaching, and I feel like I am giving my kids tons of quality time which is what they want and I always felt guilty that I wasn't doing enough.
-And because I've given them this good chunk of quality time, they have been more content this week in the hours that we aren't doing school; therefore giving me more time, too.
-The girls play well together. One of the drawbacks to public education is having children grouped according to age. There are tons of benefits to children (and adults) spending time in mixed age groups; they learn to respect older children and to have compassion for younger ones, for example. Although Josie creates constant interruptions to our day, I see how gentle Sami and Annie are with her, the ways that they help her and help each other, how adaptable they have learned to be, and I feel this is an education in itself. (Although I have wondered many, many time this week how families with a lot of children manage homeschool?)
-I love our rhythm. Mornings are smooth, there are smooth transitions between school and play, it feels like a really natural, manageable pace.
-I really love teaching, and I love learning. I love the ability to teach in the ways that I learn best (without textbooks). And I love knowing what Sam is learning so we can reference it as we go through our day. When she would come home from school it always was impossible to get much information from her about what she was learning.
-For right now our focused learning time only lasts about two hours, and we are completing all the material and more. I understand that this is to be expected in the younger grades, as they get older the time will increase; the rest of the day that she spends reading books, making art, and in free play are just as important as her bookwork.
-Homeschooling has been bringing up all of my negative memories of school . . . the cold, harsh teachers, or the dull ones who were only in it to coach sports; the competition, the way that all joy was stripped from learning, the meanness of kids . . . I literally spent my entire school experience staring out the window ("doesn't pay attention in class" was written on every report card). It wasn't until I was in college that I learned to love learning, or believed that I could be smart. Adversity is necessary and I don't want to overprotect my kids, but I hope that I can spare my children some of those things.
These are just a few of my first-impressions, for what it's worth . . . the benefits of homeschooling from a one-week-old rookie.