Wednesday, September 22, 2010

That's why we do this

The first two weeks of our homeschool year have gone well. Well, as well as could be expected. No one was terribly happy about getting up early or having to hit the books again – I was probably more sad to see summer go than the kids. Although they will argue that point.

When I think about our years of homeschooling – seven – I often wonder what in the world we were thinking when we thought we could do this. It’s not exactly a cake walk. And now that Michael and Amy are both in high school I have to keep up with grades and transcripts and if I don’t they won’t get into college and my husband will not be happy with me and that is a lot of pressure that I could avoid if I’d just put them on the school bus. But then I would miss moments like this:

Rebecca was building a house for her stuffed mice; she’s playing Roquefort the Mouse in Aristocats and has developed an affinity for the furry rodents since being cast. Thankfully she has not asked for a real mouse… Anyway, she was building a house out of all sorts of boxes and popsicle sticks and tissues for her three stuffed mice. She wanted to make it two stories, complete with garage for the mice’s Pontiac Solstice. She was getting frustrated because her wall wasn’t staying upright; next thing I knew, Amy jumped in to help. She taped the tissue to several toothpicks, which gave it enough structure to stand in the box.

Shortly after Amy joined the building team, Michael signed on, helping drive the Pontiac up the driveway, tweaking the design of the garage.

This all happened at 1:30 in the afternoon. If they’d been at school they wouldn’t have had the freedom to create this mouse mansion. They wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work together. And I’d have missed the chance to enjoy my kids enjoying each other.

The building process only lasted about 15 minutes; everyone did have school work to do and they each went back to their books. But for a few minutes they worked together and played together and laughed together.

I’m a big believer in each family making whatever education decision is best for that family. I’m not one of those homeschool moms who believes homeschooling is right for each family in the universe. But in those few minutes that my kids worked together to build a house for three stuffed mice I remembered why we homeschool - and it isn't mainly about education. Yes, I believe I can more than adequately educate them at home and yes, I can give them plenty of opportunities for "socialization" and yes, we can offer them extra-curricular opportunities.  But having them at home for the majority of their week allows them to get to know each other not only as siblings but as friends.  It means they realize family is important.  It (hopefully) means when they have to pick my nursing home they'll be able to work together...
I wouldn’t want them to miss these moments, and I certainly don’t want to, either. Even if that means I have to keep up with tests and grades and paperwork galore.

The almost finished product