People often ask me what my homeschooling goals are – which is a loaded question. On one hand they mean what are the measurable results I want to achieve for my children in a given time period and of course I don’t have a clue! On the other hand I think they really mean ‘why would anyone even do that?’. It puts me on the defensive.
Parents often send their kids to a specific school expecting a specific outcome like you plop your 2 year old at Ethical Culture in Manhattan for $40,000/year and 40 years later they’re running a Fortune 500 company with a bunch of other jet-owning Harvard buddies. I don’t know if I want my sons to be Ivy leaguers with upturned collars on their polo shirts and a pugnacious drive to earn squillions of bucks, tech geeks who design computer games at 8 or activists who live in tshirts and cheap trainers as they dedicate their lives to helping others. I know people who’ve had well over $250,000 dropped on their education and not much to show for it except for parents crying into their tea because they spent all this money and they know they’ll be lucky if their kid ever gets off drugs never mind running a Fortune 500 company.
Is this a measurable goal?
Future masters of the universe
What about this? Measurable?
Am I an unschooler or a classicist at heart? Do I prefer The Well Trained Mind vs Penelope Trunk? I don’t know I love both!
I guess what it comes down to is my (new) homeschooling motto giving to me by my husband (he’s Buddhist, went to Vassar and describes himself as a feminist just to put in in perspective) ‘WORK ON YOURSELF and TEACH BY EXAMPLE’.
Anytime I have dilemmas about how my children are going to turn out I return to this motto and find it great for redirecting my energy positively.
My kids are happy, they are learning, they are curious. Yesterday my three year old asked me about magnets and we spent the afternoon magnet fishing. This morning he asked if we could do more magnet fishing. And he also found a kite flying pack I bought for him and asked me about that too – so after his chores we’ll do that later with a little bit of phonics and reading in the car – what, you didn’t know Carschool was the new Homeschool? – violin and maths and some stuff from our Learn and Grow curriculum if there’s still time.
I’d like my three year old son to read and understand basic arithmetic as soon has he’s able to – I keep an eye on things your kid should know by the time they reach kindergarten but I’m not going to put an arbitrary date on things, I’m just going to continue helping him. As long as I see progression I honestly don’t feel like I can do much more.
To cut a long story short, I try to make my measurable homeschool goals about me. I have started reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I’ve (just) decided to study a MOOC http://www.edx.org seem to have great (free) online courses. I also want to earn some money this year. When you’re a SAHM no-one wants to hear you whine about the lack of organic milk in your local store or the fact that you’ve never been to Italy. Unless your husband is out of work all your problems are rich people’s problems, white people’s problems, first world problems etc. I get it. My problem is I still need some illusion of financial independence. I was working and earning my own money from a young age. I had a punishing paper round at 11 years old and at 16 I earned enough from my novel advance to fly for the first time. I worked part time in Nigeria for the first two and a half years I was here editing a popular women’s magazine and left to be home more with my kids but now my youngest is through the tough first year I want to do more and start earning again (while homeschooling) so when I feel like worrying about homeschool, that’s what I think about.