Monday, March 02, 2009

Letting it All Hang Out

When I tell new people that I'm homeschooling, I often hear "That's so hard. I couldn't do that." My replies to this have varied from "Oh sure you could" or "It's not as hard as you'd think" or "I wish I didn't have to" and even "I'm not sure I can do it either." I'm not like other homeschooling moms who have always known they were going to homeschool. It is an option that I am glad that I have and have decided to use for my children's benefit.

It is inevitable that people compare homeschoolers to public school teachers. I understand that desire since the academic goals are similar--teaching kids subject matter. It is wholly unwarranted on so many other levels. The differing number of kids, the different environment, the ability to make curriculum choices are all extremely different. While comparing the roles comes naturally, it seems 'apple to oranges' to me.

In my own homeschool, I have a very distinct opinion about one way that I feel homeschooling can be harder. I only have my two children to educate at home (and the toddler to try to work around), so you would think classroom management would be pretty easy. Unfortunately, that can be one of my biggest challenges. Without the example of all of the other kids also working, it seems to be a constant battle to keep my kids focused. In a school situation, surrounded by peers, kids exercise a higher level of self-control.

At home, when they are out of the visibitlity of peers, or of a nice, but non-family, teacher, things are quite different. But the biggest issue is that when the kids are unhappy, upset, frustrated, or challenged, then the sparks fly. Being at home, in their comfort zone, with me, leads to full-fledged waterworks. I have found that homeschooling can be harder than teaching other people's children at least this way--my kids have no compunction about letting all of their raw emotions out.


christinemm said...

Hi Kim, I enjoyed your honesty.

Since my kids have always been HSed they don't know what they are missing to realize how good they have it.

Another CT HS mom told me since her kids were in public school and know what it was like (they were miserable for different reasons), they are SO HAPPY to be HSed. The things my kids complain about those other kids never complain abou as they know it is better than what they experienced in school.


In the earlier years this was non-existant as so much of our lives was fun and games. But now that they are learning some harder things and everything isn't always easily understood or instantly memorized or whatever, they get frustrated. They feel that any amount of negative emotion is bad and they'd prefer a life of entertainment and hedonism.

My kids also have no clue how good they have it in general, living conditions, heat, clean water, living in a non-war zone etc., stuff that some kids in this world will never have the luxury of experiencing. KWIM?

Eryn at said...

Who wouldn't prefer a life of entertainment and hedonism? :D

But seriously, we have the same problem. My son had an AMAZING preschool teacher who made their 3 hours days NONSTOP fun! They didn't even realize all the stuff they were learning, because she had perfected her school space, her projects, her books to read, everything over 40 years of fine-tuning.

Now Tommy will say "I'm SSSOOOOOO TIRED!" after only 20 minutes of work. Or my daughter will turn on the water works over me asking her to check her answers...granted she's almost 11, so a change in the wind can set her off.

How did my husband's school deal with him when he got like that? Time alone, in the hall. Everyone who walked by could tease him about obviously getting in trouble. Missed recesses (Hello? That's what recess is FOR! To burn off those attitudes!). Punishments that alienated and took the kid out of the classroom, so he could further get behind.

It's the hardest part for us as parents to deal with these full-fledged emotions, but I'm hopeful that them being home and able to learn how to work through those feelings, will have a net positive effect, as opposed to the negative feelings of resentment that my husband still deals with.

Guess we never really know, do we?

Thank you so much for this post, it's nice not to feel so alone out there!