Day 3: Another great day! I admit I am very new at this and we need more time to fully assess this "home schooling thing". We're not even into our routine yet, and I still don't have all my materials. Heaven forbid, I rush to judgement with only a few days experience under my belt. But my friend Tina would say "I told you so" if I sent her this blog. (I think I will).
Tina, a very wise woman who jumped in with both feet a year before me, has said things to me like: I am closer to my children. My children would not want to go back to "traditional school". My children are more inspired to learn and learn more than they did in school. My children get along better. My children are willing to help around the house.
Let me share my conclusions on these matters on my third day into this.
1] "I am closer to my children," Tina said: My daughter's last words to me and my son tonight were, "Mom, I know we need to go to sleep, but I just need to say this...."you guys are the best". My son, who can be somewhat moody, has been on a education, inspiration and attention induced "high" since Monday morning. He has been cooperative, huggy, generous, observant, and "in his power". I caught him on our balcony last night at sunset, with his stuffed animals (who, by the way, attend school right along with us). I watched for a while and snapped a few photos before he noticed, and then, reluctant to break the spell, asked him what he was doing. He said, "I'm just enjoying the beauty of the sunset and our surroundings, mom! It's so wonderful!" I almost fell down. Then, as if that wasn't enough, he said, "thanks for doing this, mom!" I struggled to hold back the tears.
2] "My children would not want to go back to traditional school", Tina said. We were in a wonderful Catholic school with beautiful teachers and great friends for the kids. My daughter unequivocally loves it. My son, who was a little unsure of this "homeschooling thing", told me tonight...."Mom, this homeschool is so great. It's convenient. We learn so many cool things right at home. I love this mom!"
3] "My children are more inspired to learn and learn more than they did in school," Tina said: Tonight, just before we went to sleep, a quiet voice emerged from the darkness. "Mom." my daughter whispered, "Can you listen to this poem I just made up?" She proceeded to recite a 12 line poem off the top of her head, and straight from her heart that was absolutely charming. I made her get out of bed, turn on the light and write it down before she forgot it. Everyday, the kids brainstorm together and help each other work through their assignments. And, I have observed a trend emerging pertaining to the length of the school day. My original intention was to have "class" from 8:15 am to 2:30 pm. Each day, the kids want to keep going, so we have been quitting between 3:30 and 4:00 pm. Interesting. Does this mean they "are more inspired to learn?" They told my husband at dinner, "Dad, we learned more in a day here than we do in three days at school."
4] "My children get along better," Tina said: I won't lie. There are still moments of tension between them. The completely honest way to say this is that I have noticed a significant decrease in the level of sibling rivalry and in the severity and frequency of the fights that occur. That, to me, is significant progress.
5] "My children are more helpful around the house," Tina said: My son has been doing things he would never do for me with out a significant negotiation, like helping unload the groceries from the car, cleaning the kitchen, keeping his room clean, picking thing up in the main rooms of the house, getting things for me when I need them. My daughter has been responding on my second request instead of the third or the fourth. She has been doing things for her brother like pouring him a glass of milk when she gets herself one. Major progress!
Tina, you were right! And, I am not surprised. I believed you over these last 18 months as you have shared your experiences with me. It was your lead that helped me take the plunge.
What I generally notice is that the kids are bubbly, energetic, focused, open-minded and completely present. The energy is high and light. Their committment is intense. I know this is how I am when I am completely inspired about something. I would like to think it's the same for them. And that's a state that I want to spend a lot of time in.