Tuesday, February 22, 2005


I've been uncertain about homeschooling for awhile. I've told people that I love the philosophy, but "we'll probably ship Parker off to kindergarten and see how it goes". Well, we're getting close to decision time. Our kindergarten visit is March 17th.

The funny thing is, what I'm most worried about is what I though I'd been "talked" out of (that is, convinced otherwise by what I'd read) -- socialization. I'm worried about him feeling like he belongs. It's kind of a cultural literacy thing. I need to go back and reread some things, I think.

On the side of homeschooling, kindergarten feels like it will swallow our lives. It will be hard to do anything with the two younger kids when we have to meet the bus twice each day. And Parker will miss out on fun stuff like playgroups and visits to fun places.

There's the vaccination issue too. The thought of having to fight the authorities gives me a stomach ache. That also pushes me more toward homeschooling.

Right now I hardly have time to spend with Parker working on whatever. But by September the baby won't be ten months old -- he'll be 18 months old, which could easily be a different world. How much time would I realistically need with Parker? It seems like an hour a day would be plenty, and I could buy that from the other two with TV.

A few months ago Parker would tell people he wasn't going to kindergarten, he was going to do homeschool. Now he says he wants to go to kindergarten. Maybe because we haven't been to our homeschool group recently. His opinion matters, but it won't make the decision for me.

I'm very on the fence right now, but I don't want to close any doors, in any way.


Anonymous said...

One of the hardest things about sending your child off to school is opening yourself up to the judgment and scrutiny of others--teachers and parents--with whom you may have little in common.

I found that I frequently disagreed with teachers' opinions about how my child should be performing. Teachers seemed preoccupied with evaluating my child's independence and how much other kids liked my kid. Neither of these things is of any interest to me in the early school years.

We went into schooling with great hopes. My child loved learning, and fortunately she was intelligent and learned easily. She's in 6th grade now and hates school. Math makes her cry.

The problem with school is that you end up buying into it and wanting your child to do well, pushing them to try a little harder, even when you can see with your own eyes that it is destroying their love of learning.

In my experience, the early school years were fine. Most of the primary school teachers really enjoy being with young kids. Around 3rd or 4th grade the schools get nuts and start trying to cram information into the kids' heads. They start assigning too much homework and expecting 9 year olds to do research and type up term papers. The student-teacher relationship becomes adversarial, because the teachers are forced to push kids to learn in ways that aren't developmentally appropriate.

Once the academic cramming begins, the learning is over. After that it's all about school and grades and getting to the next level. Depressing.


Alison said...

Thanks for that insightful comment. I'll keep it in mind as I figure out what to do.