This week is all about homeschooling. I’m going to let this article speak for itself. My beautiful friend Jacquline does an amazing job with her introduction and in all the details of homeschooling.
If you’ve ever thought of homeschooling or have friends who do, this article will give you extreme perspective on what it’s like and what it takes.
To Home School or Not to Home School… by Jacqueline Wood.
It’s close to midnight on a Thursday and I thought to myself, it’s either sleep or writing this post. Consistent sleep and rest have not been a part of my life for over six years. Why? I chose to homeschool two boys that are radically different from each other, emotionally, intellectually – collectively. Rosalie has been my good friend since Day 1 of their lives so she’s seen me, a woman of several roles, change and morph into who I am today.
And who am I, really?
Well, I WAS a workaholic who consulted on the East and West Coasts for every possible industry. I made lots of money, helped my family when they were down and out and financed my own wedding with all of that money. Then I fell in love with my soul mate, moved to Northern California and had two boys. One who is phenomenally sharp and the other who has developmental delays. So I did what 75% of those warrior mothers did – I stopped blaming my children’s educators for lackluster results and coupled my design thinking with my mommy drive into designing curriculum for both boys who exist on different levels.
It is my purpose in life and I firmly believe that all of my experiences in life led me to this point. From research development, creative process, client management, the diplomacy, troubleshooting…all of it prepared me for this adventure. And this mindset of shedding old skin for the new, I believe, is what will truly propel a parent to sacrifice all the free time you’ve ever had and shove that energy into the children, the family and then and only then should you homeschool. Of course, you can “try it out” and “take it day by day” but after meeting tons of families in this realm (those that tried it and reverted) and knowing what worked for our boys, I can honestly write that you almost have to believe that you’ve gotten all that “Me Time” out of your system because that will save your soul from experiencing your own meltdown mid-day.
There are enormous benefits of being with your children each day, don’t get me wrong. Benefits that will stay with them and you until they’re well into adulthood, but if I can share some “Tips from a Girlfriend” about the Who, What, When and Where aka Signs that You May Qualify to be a Teacher Mom, here are several that come to me late into the night:
- You know you should homeschool when you’ve laid awake too many times at night bitching to your husband about your child’s teacher or “that kid in class.”
- You know that you could teach your child better than their teacher.
- You do not agree with the teacher’s disciplinary style with her students.
- You are satisfied with your accomplishments as a wage-earning professional and are done daydreaming about that “online business” to take on an overtime job with no wages (Why? Because the last thing you’ll want to do after a day of HS is touch your computer)
- You have a natural curiosity about child development.
3 out of 5? Great! You may be qualified. So how?
- Start your children out early to condition their acceptance that you are their mother AND educator. Just like training their food palettes, start them early and you yourself stick with the commitment.
- Be flexible with the curriculum. Grab a grade-level workbook from Target, Walmart, or any retailer and gauge where your child is. Use it as an informal assessment, then observe and analyze for weeks or even months.
- Get connected with a local Homeschool chapter. California is abundant with local park days and there are websites that can get you started. There are even “Ambassadors” that take your calls if you are new and do not know where to start.http://www.californiahomeschool.net is a wonderful website to begin your journey.
- Check with your local school district if they offer a Homestudies or Distant Learning option.
- There are three notable homeschool co-ops in the San Jose area that are super popular and serve different purposes:
- Academic Antics & A-Team: secular, play-based and hands-on courses for PreK to HS
- Pioneer Family Academy & Live Oak: Christian-based co-ops that emphasize academics but are super intimate and teachers are passionate. Classes are only T/Th
- Google local resources! There are tons!
We are three years into alternative education and it’s been a one-way road – we’re in it for a lifetime. I can enjoy our children night and day and we’ve become best friends. My husband and I never alienate their presence or thoughts and share as if they were little adults. They are empathetic, passionate beings that lead me to satiate their curiosity with as many resources as I can afford! I relive my youth through them. They learn how I WANT them to learn. I take art classes with them. I dig into Photoshop with them. I cook alongside them.
So, Rosalie asked how I maintain this AND keep my husband happy and lusting after me (I hope!)? I remember crossing the street in NYC during my Sex and the City days where I didn’t have a care in the world outside of my own satisfaction and I thought I had discovered how to keep a man. Mind you, during those days, there was a 5:1 ratio of women to men in the City. I realized that if you brand yourself as unique and powerful and portray to the man that you don’t NEED him, but you’re with him because you WANT him, it keeps the relationship lusty. And I still carry that sentiment with me today. As tired and exhausted as I am at the end of the day, I still make sure I make sound investments (to increase shared assets and income), I manage the money in the household and that my man knows I can get it done with or without him. As hard as that may sound, Rosalie requested I be honest. I hold back my bitchings of my exhaustion and if necessary, I just peel myself away from the prime-time rumble for a bath. But I try to keep the boys rolling toward bedtime with peace in the household until they slumber, and then and only then do I dip into a hot bath, write in my journal or read my devotional before I sleep.
My life before children was socially-charged, maddening, fast and a bit too much if not toxic. With all that behind me now, my mantra is to know that my kids heal me and not taketh away. And with this lifestyle, comes peace and ways to maneuver it all.