You know what I’m talking about! Whenever it was- January? March? You decided that math program/ workbook/ reading schedule was too much for your child. So you took advantage of your freedom as a home educator and followed a rabbit trail. You built a rocket, you fished in the stream, you worked on math facts with legos and m&m’s, you wrote stories together.
It was awesome. You learned something. You bonded with your children. You knew you were doing the right thing when you saw joy and excitement in those glowing young faces.
And now you’re paying the piper.
Grade levels, state testing, unfinished math pages, units skipped and- gasp- your 9 year old can’t remember the difference between the stamen and the… pistol? You panic. You scold yourself interiorly for your lax ways. You resolve to homeschool through July. You WILL finish the math book before beginning the next one in September.
What’s wrong with this picture?
We want it both ways, don’t we. We want the freedom to follow our children’s needs, pause and go deeper when they need it, and nurture their special talents and gifts.
That’s why many of us chose to homeschool in the first place!
And we want it all to fit in tidily with the State of California scope and sequence.
Are you catching the irony here? You can’t have it both ways! Sometimes we have to have the courage to recognize what learning is going on ‘unscheduled’ and BELIEVE in it. Sometimes we have to find the confidence to follow our children and meet their needs in MAY and not just in October!
It is my oh-so-opinionated opinion that if we want to tailor education to fit the child, we will have to let go of the desire to fit the child to the system. And if you think homeschooling is outside ‘the system,’ generally speaking you are mistaken. Homeschooling mothers are often subject to the same ‘performance pressure’ that classroom teachers are.
It takes courage. It takes creativity, especially in states where you have requirements to fulfill. It also takes dedication to thinking outside the box all year long, even when curriculum catalogs flood the mail with articles extolling the latest school-in-a-box program (which promise to solve all your problems, from structure to discipline to lesson planning!).
I challenge you to let go of other people’s expectations this coming May and enjoy the season. The flowers are blooming in the fields and you have lots of identifying to do. The soil is ready for your hands and there are lots of seeds to plant. May is far too precious a season to waste bending over unfinished workbook pages.
So go on, get out there and learn, for real!