I was asked to be on a panel representing homeschooling for parents that have kids that will be entering Kindergarten in the fall of 2013 at the groovy preschool that Silas attending for a year (age 4-5). The other folks on the panel were all schooling parents in some form, representing different schools and different ways of doing kindy (half-day, etc).
Sometimes I forget how amazing homeschooling is. Just listening to all of the ins and outs of navigating public school, the way that “the man” will come after you with scary letters if you miss more than three days of school, the way that the kids are just beyond exhausted for the first three months…I started to get so overwhelmed with how many concessions people make in order to make school work. Don’t get me wrong – these parents all by and large loved their schools and were there representing them in a positive light.
But still I sat there thinking, man we won the prize though. My husband agreed. He attended for moral support (and because our kids wanted to come and play in the school in the childcare while we were occupied) and he agreed – it was bewildering to hear about “the real world.” How very little control you have, how much you give up of your freedom, of your child’s freedom, in order to make school work.
Some useful things that came out of it for me, though. Several parents and one of the kindergarten teachers talked about how some kids really thrive on the predictability of structure, and it made me wonder about how fluid our days are and if that’s a good thing or not. I like it, but it’s making me examine if it works well for Silas or not. It might! But it might be interesting to explore other ways of being, too. In a cooperative way, of course.
A few times over the past couple months, I’ve become aware that Silas and various friends would play school. Some of these kids attend school, some don’t. But today, I got inspired to ask him if he wanted to play school with me. He did, enthusiastically! So I printed out some fun-looking worksheets and experiments from Pinterest, and away we went.
He really does know so much, and I so take it for granted. His reading is really improving (not that we’re in a hurry, but he has been working on it and it shows) and I’m thrilled that he knows how to add quarters because of playing Plants vs. Zombies (each quarter is worth 1 sun!) You can learn things from video games. Duh.
We had a lot of fun playing school, and I even made him a “hot lunch” like his school friend is always so happy about (chicken nuggets and homemade french fries, apples and a cut up cheese stick).
And then we played video games together. And had dance parties. And all was good.