Back to School, Ver. 2.0

3 09 2008

This time last year, I was lamenting the fact that I did not have that classic American moment where I send my little one off to her very first day of Kindergarten. And now? I cannot even imagine life with a school-attending child. I have always (obviously) been pro-homeschooling, but over the last year it has woven itself so deeply into my very being that I can no longer separate mothering from homeschooling. And that is a beautiful thing.

There are some basic and purely logical reasons it works better for us – M’s early bedtime, flexible schedules, my educational beliefs, M’s unconventional learning styles and spirited personality… these things top the list. But more than any of these, it has become a part of my heart. I adore it (I will stop short of saying I adore every second of it) and I feel like this year I am truly finding my groove, finding our family’s rhythm and style. And it feels so good.

I am not against public schools, in fact, I staunchly support them and the teachers who give so much. But I do feel that it was a bad choice for me, and I do, truly, feel like it changed who I am as opposed to who I could have been. I feel bitter about being labeled “gifted” and I feel sad that I was in GATE and honors classes all though high school, yet still felt stupid. Or, more correctly, felt stupid because I was in such classes. I don’t know if it’s because my mind doesn’t work well with that type of schooling, or if it’s because my home life sucked ass so I could not concentrate on schoolwork, but I do know that I gave up on myself academically long ago. So long ago, I don’t remember when. Was it when I got my first D in 5th grade? Or was it when I was not able to finish my work as fast as the other “smart kids”? (And by “unable to finish on time” I’m pretty sure I mean “bored to tears and daydreaming”)

So I feel pretty passionately about a few things in relation to homeschooling. First, that there are no such things as “gifted kids” – as every single kid I have ever met is shockingly intelligent. And also, that learning be natural – kids learn with every breath they take, all we, as adults and teachers, need to do is teach them how to find information, they will do the rest. I fear that with certain types of learners (M being one of them), bookwork is more harmful than good.

And for us? I am beside myself for our schedule this Fall – it couldn’t be more perfect for us. We are following a gentle curriculum, enjoying some activities with friends, taking some classes, and learning creatively and naturally.

It’s gonna be a good year.

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2 responses

4 09 2008
mardi

My oldest is 16 and the youngest is 5, we have never thought about sending them to school, we adore home ed too

4 09 2008
Jess

I think it will be a GREAT year for you all šŸ™‚ That was beautifully written, Bonnie šŸ™‚

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