I’ve been considering homeschooling for awhile. Kindergarten has been a good experience for my son, but honestly, I think I can do better for him. Not just in the academic bits, either, but in teaching my children what’s important in the world: thinking for themselves, building community ties, autodidacticism, gratitude, and unschooling seems more and more like the best way to do this.
Are you familiar with unschooling? It’s basically the principle that kids will direct their own educations if given the chance, and the role of the adult is merely to guide them. So, instead of sitting at the kitchen table memorizing a history textbook one chapter at a time, my son will be going to the library for a book on George Washington and watching a PBS documentary on the ancient Greeks (just yesterday we studied the difference between a democracy and a republic, after a particularly adorable comment about the president living in Washington BC). He’ll be sprawled out in the living room telling me what he thinks of the Cold War. He’ll be coloring maps of Tibet while we talk about Buddhism.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time worrying that my kids’ education will be inadequate, that I’m not equipped to teach anybody anything comprehensively, let alone oversee the entire education of a human being, but you know what? I think I’m going to give it a try. In a way, we’ve been unschooling all year: I’ve always sworn my son learns more in the morning before school than he does while he’s actually there! Today we’ve studied cube geometry, the principle of reflection, and history in the 1990′s. He also made his own lunch and got his laundry out of the dryer, and NOBODY can beat this kid at metaphilosophy (which, admittedly, is a topic that seems to come naturally to five-year-olds).
So instead of worrying that I’m somehow going to fail as a homeschooler, I think I’ll choose to trust my son’s natural curiosity and my own love of learning to do the job. I’ll enjoy the freedom of unschooling and the excitement of watching my son learn about what HE chooses. After all, if it doesn’t work out, he can always go back to public school for second grade.