I bet you have heard some old codger use the term blink of an eye when referring to something or other. I have heard it too. When I was in my late twenties and beginning the journey into parenthood, I heard older men and women alike say “Enjoy those babies. It goes by in the blink of an eye.”
I needed to hear that when my husband was complaining about the cheerios and pretzel crumbs all over the car seats in the van and the youngest one was crying to be nursed for the second time within the hour. I needed to be reminded of that when the paycheck only stretched so far and the diapers were so darned expensive.
Those words “in the blink of an eye” would serve me well during sleepless nights, vomiting kids, the chicken pox that I acquired from one of my girls. I needed to be reminded of that as I took more than one trip to the emergency room with our son.
Despite all of the ups and downs of parenthood, I really loved being a mom and just hanging out with those precious, sticky-fingered, runny-nosed bundles of joy. They made me laugh and cry all at the same time. They made my heart feel full in ways I cannot fully describe.
When they became of school age, I just wasn’t ready to hand them over to another person for 7 hours each day. Call me a crazy woman, a hover parent, a control freak or whatever other names you like. I don’t care. I homeschooled them for several years before turning them over to both the public and private school system and guess what? It went by in the blink of an eye!
If you are considering homeschooling your child or children for any length of time, go and do your due diligence. Learn what the rules are in your state. Each state may have different laws and criteria that must be met. Find out if your child can do part-time enrollment in your public school if they show an aptitude for a particular subject you do not feel qualified in. Does your child want to participate in a school sport? They may have to be enrolled in the school for at least a portion of the day.
Also look for your true motives for keeping your child at home. There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are varieties of flowers. Do you want your little rose to bloom at home because she is super smart and your schools do not offer a gifted program?
Is your little petunia a slow learner and you do not want any labels put on him or her during the school tracking system? Although schools are reluctant to call it “tracking” many still have a system in place or a program that they offer for those children they know may otherwise fall through the cracks.
Maybe you chose to homeschool your sunflower because they are athletically gifted and getting the school day finished quickly allows more time at the ice rink, gymnastics school or swimming pool.
Is your azalea just “special” in some way that you know schools won’t understand? We all bloom at our own pace and only with the proper nurturing.
If you are about to embark on the journey of education at home be prepared for the best and the worst days you will ever have. Some days will float by effortlessly as your lovely students will avidly learn with eager hearts and minds. Other days you will want to scream and wonder if they really are learning anything at all.
As a former homeschool mom, I remember a time I when I was so involved with homeschool groups to make sure that they were being socialized (hysterically stupid term used by people who think homeschooled kids are all reclusive hermits) that I had to step back and remind myself to get some real learning in. It is easy to sign them up for homeschool skating, homeschool 4-H, homeschool Library classes and then wonder why they didn’t get their Math worksheet done before Daddy got home.
I see two particular types of homeschool being the most popular with the third being valid as well.
- On-line schools – Remember that this is not really homeschooling in its truest form. With most online schools you will have teachers other than the parents and the student must be at their computer at specific class times to work with the teacher and the other online learners. This can seem as restrictive as public school and online schools have children take standardized tests. If one of the reasons you are keeping your student at home is because they learn differently, you may be disappointed with virtual schools.
- Creating or purchasing a curriculum – I used a combination of purchased material and things I wanted to expose my children to at the beginning of my homeschool experience. My state required that if I did that I must submit an expected agenda of covered material at the start of each year. Then, at the end of the year, I needed a written narrative from a certified teacher to avoid breaking any truancy laws.
- Unschooling – Perhaps the least popular or least understood, this method is for parents who are ok with a student-led approach. That is to say, they learn through play. It may include undirected play, household chores, learning from experience, using their own curiosity and placing little or no emphasis on curricula and typical grading.
A few of the children in our homeschool skating class were “unschooled” for many years and ended up doing quite well. The ones I became friends with ended up going to top colleges, got married, have careers and are lovely individuals. Although they did not follow traditional learning their first 11 or 12 years, they grew and blossomed as all well-nurtured things do.
One of my children “unschooled” for 2 years and is currently thriving in law school. The point is our children learn what they want and what they need despite us pushing our own agendas on them.
Oh! And remember, it goes by in the blink of an eye! Enjoy every minute of the time you put into raising your children. God bless.
Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”