Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why I suck at homeschooling

I am an incredibly half-assed homeschooler. By all measurable standards, I really suck. I have no curriculum. I have almost no lesson plans to show, the ones I do have I didn't follow. I don't have a pile of completed work sheets or cutesy everyone-made-the-same snowman/butterfly/Dr. Suess item. If I was a public school teacher, I would be fired. Most days we have no set schedule, no plan, no action items to cross off a list. We drift, dig, sing, smash, color, exist, clean up and do it all again the next day.

I read about my friends/blogs I stalk and how excited they are to get a brand new set of curriculum for next year. I get my hopes up and click the inevitable link to the site and imminently feel the too tight itchy wool sweater feeling. I want to like a prepackaged set of learning materials, it would be so neat and all linear and such...but instead it just feels contrived and claustrophobic.

While I suck at home schooling, it isn't due to lack of opinions on children and education. Dogs bark, cats ignore you and children, by nature, learn. Most children, as with most people, don't learn best with a "fill in the blank" let me tell you what your supposed to learn type worksheet. So why bother? I hate work sheets. Elie can do them quickly but retains none of the information. The only thing a pre-fab craft teaches you is how to follow instructions, no creativity needed. I believe children learn because they were created too, nothing contrived needed. I believe children learn by using there senses, the more the better. I believe spelling is more fun when learned with finger paint, that math should be done with chocolate chips, and science is waaaaay cooler when you can see the explosion and hear it.

So we spend our days playing in the sand. We watch the bird outside the window build a nest and guess how many eggs. We write stories on our white board and paper. We read good books. We squish playdough. We carry, sort and fold laundry then put it all away. We sweep and mop and keep an eye out for ants. We take the dog to the vet and talk about heart worms. We play card games. We play paper dolls and doll house. We tell stories of Grandpa getting chased by wart hogs in Africa. We don't rush any where. Most days we are in pj's until at least 10. We watch Animal planet and Discovery.

Despite my crappy teaching, I have really enjoyed being a "homeschooler". I have to put it in quotes to keep from offending the real homeschoolers who spend hours a week on lesson plans, sitting at the table with children doing real work. Eliana doesn't seem to have suffered from my neglectful teaching and seems to flourish under the free reign approach. One of my favorite quotes I remember, ironically from college, was that when we teach a child we have robbed them the joy of discovery. I love that.

So here is to all you other half-assed, crappy home schooling mothers. May we find joy and contentment in the opportunities to lead a child into discovery, fulfillment in fostering a love of learning. May we give ourselves grace on days when we are sure our children learned nothing more than how to annoy the snot of their sisters. And God, have mercy on our children who were blessed with mothers with free spirits!

1 comment:

Kari Marie said...

Your children are so bright and they'll be joyous, creative women as a result of your homeschooling! I'm not worried one bit about them :-)