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Permission Granted

October 13, 2015 - Stacey Sacco
A year ago, when we started homeschooling, I was making it up as I went along. It was a decision that may have been years in the making, but certain events at the school put the plan into action sooner than I had imagined. I didn’t have curriculum. I didn’t have workbooks or tests. I wasn’t even sure what kind of material I wanted to use. I had a list of third grade objectives and a website that taught math concepts.

I thought it would be a relaxing year. We would read books that interested him. He would happily memorize multiplication tables in between nature walks and concocting his own science experiments out of the kitchen. Those rose colored glasses didn’t last long.

It became obvious to me that I needed more of a plan. Flying by the seat of my pants wasn’t fun. It was stressful and chaotic. And what made it even worse was convincing myself that he had to have every single concept in every single subject in the exact “correct” order that he would get them in public school.

In order to continue to do this, something had to change. I had to decide what to change though. I started with actual curriculum. I had books that told me what to do next, gave me ways to explain a concept, and way for him to practice the skill. A huge improvement.

But still, it wasn’t that much fun. If he’s just going to do what they are doing in public school, he can GO TO public school to do it. If I’m going to put this much effort into homeschooling, I want to like at least some of it. I doubt there is much that would make me enjoy teaching math. I want to LOVE history and reading. I want to make sure he gets music and art, which he wasn’t in school.

But the attitude-changing factor in our day? It was me giving myself permission to do things the way that works for us. This isn’t permission for us to do nothing or for Matthias to slack and watch TV all day. He’s tried. It still doesn’t work. However, it is permission for me not to care what his peers are doing in public school. I’m allowing myself to not worry about what other people think about his education.

I’m 99% sure I won’t be sending him back to school while we are still living where we currently live. There isn’t a public school that I like enough. So why not do school the way we want to? Why should we have to do worksheets about reading a map when we can read interesting books and track the journey on a real map? Our science can include nature walks and looking for the most interesting leaf and spider. School for us doesn’t have to look like it would in a classroom of 25. Ours can be so much more interesting. I officially give us permission to make it fun and engaging, not just for the kids, but also for the teacher.

 
 

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