I’m feeling some anxiety about my next school year. I was excited when my books arrived and did the Carlton Dance. But now that I actually have to start teaching I’m feeling a ton of pressure. And I don’t know why because my kids are doing ok. We had an awesome summer, they learnt so much and all the stuff school can’t teach you, like how to vibe with adults and how to be super confident around complete strangers and give great hugs and be open minded and excited about life.
So why, now I’m back in Lagos do I feel kind of jittery about starting the work. I’ve been unpacking for just over a week and we haven’t even done any music practice. I made the week’s playdough yesterday but that’s it. I feel sort of defeated and not sure why. I think it’s something to do with worrying about my kids falling behind and being responsible for that and feeling like I’m not being my own high expectations for how much I think we should be able to do each day (and I’ve never met my own expectations for how my life should be lived) and shock horror, thinking my kids are playing too much. Like yesterday. We went to playgroup in the morning then we came home, they had lunch while I ran errands. They went outside to play, they played inside, my oldest son helped me make playdough then they had some playdough time and then he was on the iPad for the rest of the afternoon.
Visiting schools give me anxiety, one reason why I’m happy to homeschool. I visited a school in Lagos recently where at 8am the 2 year olds were all seated in a row doing puzzles. It was like something out of Ender’s Game. This has also given me anxiety by the way that I haven’t done enough puzzles with my son and he won’t have as high an IQ as other kids (even though intelligence is largely genetic).
So I guess I’m also anxious because even though I homeschool and I claim to eschew the pressurised, standardised testing environment of school that reduces our kids to test scores and doesn’t nourish the whole person I still want them to be top of the class, which is ridiculous.
As we’re still in preschool, I’m still using the ‘Homeschool Your Boys’ preschool curriculum but with the following add-ons, handwriting, science, phonics, history, drama and cuisinaire rods. A lot of this stuff I’m doing in case my son needs to go to school anytime.
The reason why this blog is so useful to me is because even as I’m writing I’m seeing that my fears are mostly baseless and feeling more relaxed. We’re not following the school year but it is only June and other kids are about to go on a really long vacation while we’re about to start all this new fun stuff. So I have time to get au fait with it all before ‘it really matters’.
Right now I’m scheduling our days so that we can have more structure and working out what my life is going to be about over the next 12 months. Was thinking of freelancing for someone else but I’m not ready yet. My nanny needs constant direction, my home is starting to look like an episode of hoarders and my youngest son is suddenly starting to demand more attention. Go figure.
So although I’m fearful and feeling overwhelmed and held back by my own inadequacies, the big picture is not that dramatic. It’s ok. No really. It is.