Sunday, August 2, 2009

Autumn, Here We Come

Travis and I are about to embark on another school year. I HATE MARCHING SEASON. Did I say that loud enough? I hate it hate it hate it. My husband disappears from August to December. He is never available on the weekends for anything, and comes home late late late at night on Friday nights, which makes me worry because I am a worrier naturally and because all I can think about is drunk high school kids driving home from football games.

I rationally know that all the world is not actually a Valerie Bertinelli made-for-tv movie, but somehow my imagination takes over, and when he's more than fifteen minutes late returning home from an out of town game, a scene from a Lifetime Original flashes through my brain, and I panic.

We're slowly making our rounds to family members announcing our plans to home school Josiah. Unfortunately, the only materials I can find are from freakishly religious zealots out to convert the world. In reading their books, I'm not sure if they're trying to convert me to Christianity or homeschooling. Personally, I'd rather be left alone. Just give me the facts, Max.

We've decided to "wear" our decision for a while, see how it feels, see how it works, and keep an open mind. We'll regroup at the end of every year with a pow-wow to analyse whether it's still working for Josiah first and foremost, and for me as well. I like homeschooling for a million different reasons, and basically none of them are religious. Gasp. Oh I hope I hope the ladies in the homeschooling circle will accept me despite my radicalism.

Plain and simple, I think he could learn more, at his own pace, in a more creative and conducive environment if I took direct charge of his education from the home.

Period.

I have no weird agenda against the public school system. My husband and I are both products of it, and my husband is a teacher in a public school for crying out loud. And I'm not out to teach my son that the world is full of evil and therefore we must be separate from it. I just like the flexibility that teaching and learning outside of the classroom can provide. I'm a huge believer in hands-on learning, and a huge supporter of year-round schools. The summer drain takes a lot out of a kid, and so much has to be retaught come August. I think kids would be less wiped out if school went year-round with more frequent breaks in between. I think the schedule as is fills up their minds to the absolute breaking point, gives them an all-too-long break, and then brings them back only to cram them as full as possible again, punctuated with another far-too-long break. The cycle continues. And somehow classes are not linked together. It never occurred to me in high school that my 10th grade English class was preparing me for my 11th grade English class. I thought it was preparing me for a huge state mandated test at the end of the year and then a bucket full of summer fun! I realize now that 10th grade English was supposed to be a stepping stone into 11th grade English. Huh. Go figure!

I think public school teachers are some of the most amazing, selfless people in the world. I just don't think they can possibly divide themselves 25 different ways. I love the idea of being able to teach him about science by going out and doing and seeing and living the experiments, rather than reading about them in a text book or getting paired up with kid who drinks the blue stuff in the beaker.

It gets me excited thinking about it, so I'm trying to do all the research about different curriculum and approaches as I possibly can, but it's hard to find a non-religious home schooler. Of course faith will be played out in our daily lessons, just as it plays out in our daily lives, but I don't plan on censoring American literature (as one author suggested) because it talks about the death of a beloved pet! The very thought of censoring John Steinbeck made my hair fray! Can't I get some information from someone who chose home schooling as an option for a more flexible, more creative way of educating their child? Boo.

Anyway, It's midnight, and I know I should be in bed. With the new school year and with Josiah being a little older, I'd like to create some kind of daily routine...but that's hard when you're practicing the Attachment Method of parenting, and you lead a baby-led routine. I've been trying to figure out some kind of schedule that we could maybe begin to follow this fall just to make our lives a little more predictable, but feeding and napping on demand makes that difficult. But I'll never get into any kind of decent routine unless I get out of this summer sleep schedule, so good night!!

1 comment:

Cimarron said...

We had a baby-led life for a while...until Aaron took control. It only took a couple of nights of Emma crying in her bed for her to go to sleep on her own, wait for her bottle, etc. It was really nice when that happened.

And, I totally agree with the homeschool thought. That's why we are planning on homeschooling Emma. I really like the Charlotte Mason method, but I'm sure I will be very eclectic once we get this thing figured out. Emma already knows letter and we're working on numbers...it's amazing how quickly they learn it all.