What I took away from blogging was all of the above and much more.
100th post feels like a good occasion to reflect on where we have been and to set direction on where we are going. I started out, scared to teach my own 2nd grader, unsure of how it will work out, feeling that I need to do better than what he was getting in school. I felt that he was constantly told what to do and not to do, shunted from one thing to another, hurried along, and stifled. He was not miserable, but he was unhappy. I was unhappily parenting him, butting heads over bedtime and lunch and homework and another thing to clean up right now. Most of all, I felt that at the ripe old age of 7, he had no life. He had no time to engage in what was interesting him. He had no time to try out new things. He was not given time to figure things out on his own.
Now, I have had all three kids at home, continuously, for almost 7 months (except for one week of camp and one week of Israel). Today, looking at all of them, I can say that I feel that I made the right decision to homeschool all three.
By the child:
- 8yo expresses many more emotions than he used to, including the negative ones. The beauty of it is that now we can talk about them, and he is learning how to deal with them. Consequently, even though he is more likely to get angry, he is also more likely to express affection. He is pursuing independent geography and history study, since these are the subjects that interest him. He helps around the house much more, and is taking on more and more responsibility. His horizons widened beyond his former circle of classmates.
- 6 yo gets a ton of time to play his imagination games, run off his energy, and not be confined to a desk. He works in spurts, but now he can see the results of his work. He can still be very intense, but I know that his intensity is equally channeled to the good and to the bad. He is very kind, supportive and protective of his siblings. He will get all necessary skills at the right time, on his schedule. He takes his chores and responsibilities very seriously.
- 2 yo is quite verbal, due to constant chatter with her brothers. While I do not formally teach her anything, she is very curious and picks up material which was not even meant for her. She asks a lot of "whys" and listens to the answers. She plays pretend and gets along with kids of all ages. She picked up some Hebrew words, some English letters and some numbers. She knows Al Netilat Yadaim by heart, the first paragraph of bentching, and some Shema. She knows her colors. She taught herself to cut and loves to color, doodle, and glue. She is into everything that her brothers are into.
What I am giving them all is time and place to grow at their own rates, make mistakes in a forgiving environment, awaken their interests and passions, figure out their strengths and weaknesses. Homeschooling allows a child to discover themselves, and for the parent to see the many sides of their child. I do not think that my kids are brilliant, or disabled, or very different from an average child. I do not think that I am a parent who is somehow exceptional in any way. The only difference is that I try to hyperventilate about this grand experiment that I am performing quietly, that my kids would not be aware.
Therefore, for my goals, I plan on focusing what works:
- focusing on crucial skills and not on knowledge
- offering choices whenever possible ( the ones I can live with)
- not sweating the small stuff
- letting go of expectations
- encouraging personal interests
- allowing independence
- building in lots of time
- looking at the big picture
Here is to the next 100 posts and to another successful year!