Saturday, October 19, 2013

Nothing to fear

I remember the first time I was asked how I could possibly even consider homeschooling high school. Jo was right there beside me, all 48 pounds of her, with her bottom baby teeth missing and the cutest little bob of a hair cut. She had just mastered the art of skip counting by threes and I was pretty sure she was brilliant.

"What are you going to do about algebra?" the questioner hissed, as if at any moment my kindergartner was going to need to solve for x.

And I said I didn't know, because, well, I didn't. Homeschooling a high schooler sounded big and scary and potentially a little crazy and heck, I was just getting a handle on how to explain that there were different continents-- places you had to use a ship or an airplane to reach. How on earth was I going to teach my own children physics?

As it turned out, I really didn't have to worry too much. Just like parenting a large family-- you generally only take on one new family member at a time-- there were plenty of baby steps that led from singing about the Scientific Method all the way up to college French. Tiny little advances. Painless strides. And before I knew it, well ...

I was doing it.

Or rather, they were.

On most days, the truth is, I spend less time actively homeschooling my two older children at home than I do my combo set of preschoolers/kindergarten. Yes-- less time. Thanks to online classes, tutoring with dad and other experienced adults, self-directed learning, and student guides, I am only teaching two subjects to each of my olders-- with plenty of check-ins on other topics, of course. But actively teaching? No. 

That season of curling up on the couch and reading amazing stories has passed with these two. I am so, so thankful that I had it, and that I grabbed onto it with both hands and cherished it while it was here. Because, folks, the days are fleeting. One day you are making pipe cleaner models of Charlotte and her web, and the next you walk into a room where your daughter and son and writing an original song for their Music Theory class.

Yeah, it's about that fast.

So if you're reading this and you're the Momma of littles, or if you're staring down the barrel of 8th grade wondering if you've got what it takes, take heart. You can do this. It's not anything like what you imagine. Everyone's journey looks different but yes, it's possible. And it's worth it. And you know what? It's even enjoyable


@lici@ said...

Thanks. I'm a "Momma of littles"--5, almost 3, and 18 mo, moving into phonics blends and addition facts up to 10. And I know this, that it's one step at a time. I believe it. But it's so good to be reminded by someone who has made it to the final leg. . .and that the someone is still walking the first part of the journey, too, makes it even better.

Lindsay and Co. said...

My sweet 7 year old is doing her 1st-2nd-3rd-4th grade year (isn't homeschooling awesome?) and I get this question all the time. From the beginning, our goal has been self-directed learning by middle school, so I never really thought about it, but people really think this is going to be my biggest failure - High School. Regardless of the fact that my husband and I are highschool AND college grads - my bachelor's, his master's. And not in Underwater Basket Weaving either. We're fairly learned people, but people seem to think we have to know it ALL to keep our kids at home! They don't understand one bit of homeschooling. The fact that I learned more in my girl's 1st grade history and geography than I learned in all of high school. On how plainly some math concepts can seem when taught to a 1st grader (though I struggled with them for years). It's a beautiful thing, learning beside my children. Thank you for the encouragement!