It is a pleasure to read posts from those of you considering homeschooling!
I am just writing to tell you that you've located a wonderful, diverse group. † Some of the people here are very new to this; some are more experienced. † It's just a great place to do your research and ask local people questions or even to just vent about where you're at in the process!
I just want to applaud any of you who are thinking about this option for, at least, being a sensitive parent. †Something has brought you here. †Much like our symptoms tell us something is going on in our bodies, our children have "symptoms" that make us question the public/private schooling path. †
These "symptoms" may include: †
†- social challenges with peers
†- problems with teachers & admin
†- a desire to be more connected to your child in-general (a feeling that their childhood is fleeting from you and you don't feel emotionally connected to them anymore)
†- concern that their gifts/talents are not being maximized
†- concern for their safety (!)
†- concern for the belief systems they are/aren't learning
†- etc., etc., etc.
I just want to say that YOU are VERY SMART to consider these things seriously, no matter what conclusion this drives you to. †It is OKAY to consider life "outside the Matrix" and to wonder if you and your family might enjoy a different route . . . we applaud you for thinking about these things and for taking your child's childhood experience seriously. † This, alone, puts you in an elite league of parents. † You are not afraid TO CONSIDER . . . you have options and you intuitively know that.
First, I want to say that homeschooling IS NOT "above" anyone.
There are many weird myths about homeschoolers and one of them is that you have to be an expert to do it. †Not true. †You only need to have lots of love for your child and, believe me, you will find experts when the time comes for that. †Physics is way over my head; but, if my kids show an interest . . . I'll be searching the world over for resources and people they can talk to. †That's my only job. † IF they need to register in a public school for physics class and they're dead-set on doing that, I'll support them 100%. †This is a customizable path with a million possible tangents . . . and you and your child get to choose the journey, the curriculum. †It's a big world! †
Second, I want to say that this process happens gradually for most of us.
It is VERY NORMAL to be very unnerved and stressed-out at first.
It is VERY NORMAL to think, at first, that "formal learning" must happen EVERY DAY . . . and to put that burden on your shoulders as parent. †We forget that there are so many ways to learn . . . and sometimes children need to heal before they can learn. †Perhaps what your child needs is just time to rest and regain their esteem, depending on what they've been through. † Some of us parents forget the pains of childhood and HOW DEEPLY they feel . . . their hearts are much closer to the surface! †
†It's okay if you guys need time to just nest, hibernate, and love eachother. †It's totally commendable to take time to reconnect with eachother . . . and to feel like a connected, in-touch family! † That is the most beautiful possibility of family life that is all to underrealized in our culture. † Children desperately need to be important . . . even if they try to "seem calloused" . . . this is what they've had to learn to survive where they've been. †It's not real, though. †Time will wear that callous away, friend.
Third, I want to assure you that time is on your side. † Childhood, to them, goes by slowly. † They are learning whether we realize it or not. † When you show them that it is good to stop and heal, that it is okay to do things "differently", that they will receive love from you when they cry out for help, they are learning. †Those are life lessons.
Fourth, be easy on yourself. † Give yourself time to think, research, read some good books, talk with people, and don't worry too much about all the negative stuff you're going to hear from the people "stuck in the Matrix." † Much of the negative feedback you get may be out of their defensiveness (over the choices they made), fear (of being unique), jealousy or †insecurity (because there is a myth that homeschooling parents become elite and this may change their relationship to you), and/or general judgmentalness (everyone has an opinion). †Everything is going to be okay; but, you may feel very intense at first . . . try to be good to yourself. †Obviously, you are just trying to do the best thing for your family. †What else is really important?
I've no hidden agenda, except to say welcome and best wishes.Would you like to read a couple of neat quotes? †I'll offer them just in case:
"Men would shudder, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival - yet THAT was what they did to their children." †
"He thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival . . . the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly - yet man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach a child to think, but devotes the child's education to the purpose of destroying his brain, of convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think . . . it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness . . . "
- Hank Rearden in Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand