Being a homeschooling mom I am constantly around my kids. Day in, day out. Sometimes it is like a walk in the park and sometimes it is hard work. Kind of like a normal job. You have your good days and your bad days. Even during the hard days I truly enjoy having them around. It is not their company that makes it hard, it is keeping them entertained after they are done with their lesson. It is tricky to not just park them in front of the TV or a device but rather have them do something that makes sense. I have mentioned before in my post that our kids do a lot of after school activities with other kids. And that kind of helps of course. Still there are a few hours to fill, which seem long on certain days. So how keep them entertained and keep them doing something they get something out of? Kids, homeschooling and TV, apparently a common mix. And a mix a lot of people have an opinion about…
Of course my kids would be totally happy to just watch TV or play Minecraft or any other game all day long or at least for as long as they want to. But that is not the point, right? That is not what they are supposed to do. And I totally agree with that. There has to be more. So what to do with the TV time, especially on a day I don’t feel like dragging them to the museum yet again or to the library or to the arts center? What to do on a day I have to finish stuff and I am running out of time? To TV, or not to TV, that is the question…
And then I’ve read about a homeschooling mom who actually uses the TV to teach. She chooses educational shows and lets her kids watch TV, but only the shows she chose before. What a great idea! It is so simple but so clever. Something we’ve actually done before and for whatever reason has simply disappeared over the last couple of months… Simply because I did not pay attention to it. I admit it.
And it dawned to me: When I was in school (many summers ago) our teachers often used the TV to teach us all kind of things. There were video tapes after video tapes we had to watch. In Science, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, French, English and so on. Sometimes it was great, sometimes it was super boring. But it was still special and kind of a break from the normal routine. I wonder if they still do that in school nowadays? I actually remember that they took a couple of classes together back then and we all had to watch the same video in the school assembly hall. It was fun as suddenly you were in this big room with so many kids you usually only saw in recess. And although most of the movie shown usually did not really stick to us, we still remembered the essence of it. I guess that was what it was all about. Later it would be discussed in class and then we would go from there. Did you do a similar thing when in school?
So I thought it would be a good thing to incorporate this in our “timetable” again, at least for the days when I struggle to get them going after they finished school.
You know, homeschooling is not an easy way out. It is actually pretty demanding on everyone involved. As a parent you want the best education for your child. Being your child’s teacher as well you feel the pressure of giving this education to your baby. So you constantly ask yourself if you are doing enough and if you can really get your child the education they need. Even if you are told that they are far ahead or doing just great, even if you are told that they know much more than what they are supposed to, you always wonder if you could do more. No test you have them do will really take this away from you. At least in my case.
For the kids it is the fact, that they kind of always live in their school environment with their teacher around. So their parents know exactly what they learned and are supposed to know. There is no “we did not talk about that yet” or “we did not do that in school yet” for them to escape. And all their friends think it is the most awesome thing to do. Be at home and do school for only a couple of hours instead of the entire day. But it is not. There is no drifting off during class. No slipping through the cracks. All there is is focus. Constant focus. And the focus is all on you. All your friends are in school and not around during the day. So you either see them at the end of the day during after school activities or on the weekend. But there is no playtime with them during the recess.
But it is also the constant “fight” for acceptance. The knowledge that you are different and the same old questions asked over and over again. And that is the same. For you and for your children.
Sometimes it is easier to handle and sometimes it’s not. Just like everything in life.
All those questions I’ve talked about before and the expectations people have can have such an impact on you. And as much as I want to be able to just brush it off, I can not always do it. Sometimes I feel like I was able to in the moment. But then a couple of days later it just creeps up on me and boom… I am there again. Triggered by the look in people’s faces and my reading between the lines (which I can never stop…). And that is exactly what happened on Monday, when a woman I don’t know at all and just happens to be a friend of a mom of a child that plays soccer with my child (see where I am going???) approaches me out of the blue and asks me, by when we are planning to send our kids to school… What? Do I know you? No I don’t. Being polite I answer her questions and it starts feeling like an interrogation. She apparently knows that we home-school from either the other mom or her child. I have no clue. But obviously she knows. And obviously she actually does not have questions but rather has an opinion about it. Which she is not shy to share…
See, there were all the things you always hear and I can deal with them, because I know how wrong all of them are from experience. I also have my go to answers for those questions. But then there are things that still can hit a spot. Like in this case when she somehow mentioned that home-schooled kids spend way too much time in front of the TV, because all the hours in a day which have to be filled…
I hate the fact that she got to me. I really do. And I hate the fact that she made me question our way. Oh, how much I do. Why is it that people have such a bad picture of homeschooling? Why is it that most of them think, homeschooling parents are not taking education and socializing serious? Why is it that they think homeschooling parents choose a lazy way to entertain their kids all they long? And here is my question to all you parents out there, who do not home-school but know home-schooled kids: Are those kids and those parents so bad that you get this one dimensional picture? Do you actually know home-schooled kids and parents who home-school?
I understand that all the critique comes from a good place. That all we want to do is make sure that kids have a good life and get a good education in order for them to live a good life. But, please, don’t forget that there are a lot of kids who go to school but are physically or mentally (or both) abused at home. I agree, that there are kids out there, who lack education for different reasons. There are kids going to school, being taught by a teacher, who has no interest in teaching and is not putting any effort in. And in the process the kids of that teachers class are not getting the education they deserve. In all of these cases we need to step up, we need to speak up. But why is it, that some people think they can criticize something that works well just because it is outside the norm? Would you criticize someone who sends his or her child to public school although they could afford a private school? Would you criticize someone for sending his or her child to private school instead of public school although they can not afford it?
I agree, we are a interesting or maybe even strange group, simply because we choose to go down a path 99% of people are not choosing. But that does not make us irresponsible.