The real education teaches us to
be whole human beings.
Be concerned with this: that you,
your marriage, and your home
teach health and balance
Any further discussion merely
augments this basic course.
–Vimala McClure The Tao of Motherhood
We supplement this core homeschool curriculum with three days a week of Pre-K for my 5 year old. Next year she’ll go full time. There are days when I am filled with gratitude and relief to drop my daughter off at her cozy classroom and know that it’s not my job to memorize Briar Rose and lead the watercolor activity. And there are days when I mourn this, and wish that the responsibility fell squarely on me. I’m someone who thrives on purpose and intention, and so I sometimes feel like a slacker mom for letting someone else bring forth all those riches on my behalf. But mostly I feel liberated.
Serendipity opened up the door for my daughter to attend her school (my husband also teaches there). But I admit I also read one too many French Feminist Critiques of “natural mothering.” While they mostly piss me off big time, something in me around my willingness to homeschool shifted. Nothing big, just a feeling that it might not mean I’m an inadequate mother if my girls go to school. I wouldn’t be surprised if some phase of my children’s education ended up being home based learning–
I myself was unschooled for high school. As we navigate this journey, I’m going to pay close attention to all the signs and arrows pointing us in unexpected directions along the way.
There were a few years there when I planned to homeschool, and in fact did homeschool in the eager way of a new mom. If only I knew then that my two year old didn’t need circle time or painting time or enrichment beyond the good life we led: taking care of the home, taking time to be outside, taking time to play. Rather than focusing on my child’s education, I slowly learned to focus on my own. For no matter where our children spend their days, it is who we are, and what we bring them in our day to day lives that nurtures them as they grow into themselves.
A few favorite posts from the blogosphere for fellow over-thinkers on the school question:
I love this post from Beth on How I nearly lost my shit trying to keep my kids in the ideal school. I forgot to mention in my You Know You’re Really into Waldorf When post that if you work three jobs and live in a basement to afford tuition, or opt out and homeschool your brood, then you’re REALLY into it. And that’s okay, if that’s what makes you feel good. But you know what, it’s also okay to send your kids to a less than ideal school. They all have problems. Channel your inner French Feminist and just do what you gotta do.
So You Can’t Afford Waldorf School? Ah, even if you’re into it, it might not be in the cards. There is so much you can still do! Eileen lays it all out.
This is the latest installment in the Get Real series, in which a handful of bloggers reflect on different aspects of their homemaking and mothering and life. I am looking forward to reading their insights on education, and their own paths on this journey. One more week still to come!
8 Replies to “Get Real :: Educating the Littl’uns”
Love this, Kyce. I think that no matter what our choices are for our families, we go through those feelings of “slacker mom” and liberation! We have to choose what is right for us, not what mold we think we should fall into.
I am very interested about your unschooled high school years. . . .
I think it was hard for me at first to know what was right, or at least to trust myself. Perhaps it comes with experience and from witnessing things for ourselves, rather than having fixed ideas. When I was 12 my parents got me a copy of The Teenage Liberation Handbook. It was a big adjustment in some ways, but ultimately a gift. When I was 15 I apprenticed with an herbalist for one year, when I was 16 I attended the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine to become a certified clinical herbalist.From there I went to nursing school.
I really enjoyed reading this post. I live in Australia and home schooling is not something I’ve experienced. Even though both my children attend school, I still feel that much of their “education” has happened through learning and experiencing life at home and family. I think that as mums wherever we live, we do our best for our kids with the resources we have available to us.
Thanks Kyce! Wonderful, as always 🙂
Thanks for this. I’ve been struggling with sending my 4.5 year old to pre-k next year as I still feel I should homeschool. But I’m pretty sure that homeschooling isn’t *actually* the best choice for her or me.
It wasn’t a simple choice for me at all, even when money was no longer an issue. I think that the heartfelt exploration of the options is really valuable, and guides us to listen to ourselves and trust that knowing (or the process of questioning).
Thank you for this. We started our son out in public school. I was a former public school teacher so I was ok with the decision. Once he hit 3rd grade in this particular school, I was completely and totally unhappy with the education level, the teacher, the down time and he was incredibly unhappy. We decided to send him to private school for that school year and he ended up blossoming and doing unbelievably well, socially, emotionally, academically. He absolutely loves it and begged to go for 4th grade (now). He wants to go to fifth grade but the money is killing us, for real. My daughter is doing preschool there and she loves it too (I swear maybe they are brainwashing the kids because my kids are like “thank you so much mom for sending us here, we love it!!”) LOL