This week we started school with Kyle. He is so excited about it! He says he didn't think he was going to like school but now he does! I'm taking it easy for kindergarten. I still firmly believe that children learn most from playing, living and exploring their little worlds. Kyle has been trying to read for months now. I've been putting him off because I wanted to wait until we got home from America before we started anything structured. He also loves math like his mama. He walks around trying to make up math problems for himself. Weirdo. I used to do the exact same thing. He is following me around during the day asking if he can do more school.
For K-5, we are doing Reading Made Easy, some handwriting and simple math, Uncle Arthur's Story time for character building, Bible memory, read aloud books and lots of games! He's soaking it up. I feel like I'm working with a blank slate or a pile of soft clay. His little heart and mind are so malleable and it touches my soul. I feel so grateful to be the one who gets to invest in his life everyday!
Reading the Uncle Arthur stories bring me to tears. I grew up listening to them. They are great life lessons for children and such sweet and moving depictions of biblical principles. Kyle listens with his eyes open wide, waiting to learn how the story ends.
I hope Kyle (and his sisters) will grow up loving to learn, loving to be home with us, loving having the people who love him the most as his teachers. It took me quite a few years to discover how blessed I was that I had the opportunity to experience all those things.
I grew up homeschooled. For many years I both loved and hated it. I loved being with my mom and I enjoyed learning what she taught me. But I desperately wanted to be normal, to fit in and to be accepted by my peers. I had been teased for much of my life about the fact that I didn't go to real school and thus somehow wasn't a valid learner. When I finally did attempt school in a classroom setting during high school, it took very little time for me to discover that "real school" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. While I learned a lot through my various teachers, I also learned more than I ever wished to know about the social structure in school. If you weren't exactly like the mold your peers wanted you to fit into, you would still be teased and ridiculed. I couldn't shake my desire to not follow, to talk to whomever I wished, and to interact with people of all ages. Thus I didn't fit into the "normal" mold and was picked on because of it.
That year I realized how unimportant those things were, popularity and normalcy. Why did I care so much about fitting in? I finally realized how much I was gaining from being home, watching my mom, interacting with my siblings, helping around the house and the flexibility that homeschool allowed. I discovered that my real friends were the ones who liked me because I was me, and popularity wasn't all that important after all. In the end, I only had a couple close friends. I still do. But they were the right friends and for that I am so thankful.
Oftentimes socialization is the first thing people mention when you say you are homeschooled. I realize homeschooling isn't for everyone. But just because you are homeschooled does not mean you are unable to interact with others. By being homeschooled, I realized that I loved to converse with adults; I could trust them to be more level headed and genuinely kind than my own peers. I learned to appreciate and not look down on children who were younger than I was. It didn't matter to me if someone was a year or two (or five) younger or older, if I liked them, I wanted to be their friend. That didn't fit well into the social structure I saw at school and it caused me plenty of problems. But now in my adult life, I can appreciate that I enjoy the company of folks much older than I am, because I almost always find myself as the youngest in the group even now!
Being homeschooled molded my future. It taught me to be different, to not hold back if I wanted to achieve something - even if it was unusual and not necessarily the "normal" thing to do. It taught me to respect people of all ages and to go out of my way to include those who were ostracized for one reason or another. It taught me to be sensitive to other people's feelings because I know how it feels to be teased for being different. And it taught me that I wanted to homeschool my kids, because I want to invest in their lives and try to show them what being homeschooled taught me. Plus, I want the satisfaction of knowing I taught them all to read!
Homeschooling has been my plan for my entire adult life and I am thankful I have the opportunity to do it now with my boy. Here's to hoping it will be as smooth sailing as this first week has been!