Okay, a lot lately I’ve gotten emails, fb messages, texts etc asking me why I don’t homeschool. Particularly, why I don’t homeschool Shelby.
Taking Shelby out of the equation for a minute: I’m a lousy teacher. There, I said it. I mean, don’t get me wrong I’m great at teaching my kids their faith through application, teaching them how to be decent human beings and allowing them to *gasp* actually be children but reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic? No. Just no.
I was educated in the public school system from kindergarten through college. I thrived educationally in public education, socially it was good for me until high school. Actually, probably before then but I loved middle school and despised high school except for my teachers and actual course work. A lot of my education was direct instruction but I was blessed to know how to thrive in that environment and a brain that WANTED to learn.
My boys (again Shelby is a special case) are both very different learners. Joseph is self-motivated but also craves praise. He likes to do work-books, for fun! He is super-reward motivated. Joseph is more along the line of a direct instruction model student. But he handles more creative and organic learning experiences very well. William, on the other hand. He’s not self-motivated except for what he wants. He will sometimes want to do work if Joseph is doing it, is what it amounts to but that’s a sometimes. He is not motivated by praise or rewards, in fact sometimes praise has made him break down in tears for reasons we can not figure out. Of course he will willingly do whatever is asked of him by someone outside of the family but us, it’s a no go every.single.time. William is also a discovery/inquiry learner and prefers learning in organic situations.
So, I know all this, I should be able to do it, right? But the idea of not just two different curriculums but two different instructional methods is paralyzing. I realize there are pre-made curriculums out there but to have to purchase them and then figure out 2 different ways to teach them? Joseph will sit and do worksheets all day, William will argue about doing one.
Then there is the fact of me. I am an impatient teacher. I don’t remember what it was like to learn something for the first time even though it still happens. I want my kids to sit there and do the work and not to do it right the first time but I don’t handle consistent repeated mistakes well. And when I considered being a teacher in college I knew I couldn’t do the amount of work required in “off hours” planning, shopping, meeting, learning new education laws etc. I realize a lot of that is avoided in homeschooling but the level of planning and work I know so many mothers do, it’s just NOT in me. I spent a good part of this year trying to create a schedule and studies for William and it crashed and burned irretrievably after a month. I wasn’t cleaning my house or making dinner, that was the extent of how bad it got trying to create this for him.
Then there’s my personality. If I were a good teacher in direct instruction or in guided discovery and chose to homeschool, well, my kids would be hermits. Unsocialized hermits. Because I just don’t do people. Period. I would never join a co-op or other “learning adventure.” I would also never leave the house. Ever. There would be no field trips even just the 3 of us. Because I just don’t deal with people. Weird, I know, but I’m an introvert through and through and social situations make me nauseas. Period.
I’ve given up feeling guilty about it. Common core and all. Where I live it’s not actually catching on so much and my kids have great teachers so I am going to relish in that. For now anyways. Joseph is showing wonderful progress this year and William in his 2 hours of BSF has made great strides to prepare him for kindergarten, so I’m good. Middle school and high school are concerns but a lot could change by the time we get there. And like everyone else, schooling, for me, is a decision we make based on what our options are but also what our circumstances are. If things change, our decision may change as well. Nothing is forever. Except salvation. And we got that covered.