The family in 1998, a few months after we started homeschooling.
Homeschooling requires such faith. For most of us, it means striking out on terrain that is unfamiliar, that requires new tools. We want to believe that we’ll get where we want to go, that the journey will be good for our kids, but how can we know, when we weren’t homeschooled ourselves?
I wish I could go back now and reassure the just-starting-out me. Which is why my latest column for home / school / life is a letter to that very person. That very earnest, naïve young person.
Dear just-beginning-to-homeschool me,
I’m writing to you from seventeen years from now. Your five-year-old boy who builds bedrooms for toy mice has just graduated from college, and his two-year-old sister with the doll named Cookie has just begun. That empty fifth seat at the kitchen table will get filled with a baby in a high chair one day, although you will have to wait longer for him than you hope to. He’s twelve now.
A few things as you start: don’t think of this as a start. You’ve been a mother for five years now; you know how to make your kids happy by feeding them, reading to them, taking them to the park with the curly-slide, and singing every verse of “Here’s to Cheshire, Here’s to Cheese.” You give them homemade play dough scented with cinnamon, and silk scarves for their games. You teach them to be kind. You encourage them when they try new things, and don’t talk when they’re frustrated. This, sweets, is homeschooling. Don’t think: now that my kid is of kindergarten age he should (fill in the blank: write words, add numbers to ten, hold a pencil so it doesn’t look like he’s stirring a pot of soup.) That’s school thinking and it will only muck things up. All will happen in good time.
You can read the rest in the fall issue.
P.S. If you read this blog, you probably know more about me than you care to, but if you’re curious about how our family got started homeschooling, or what makes me smile, or what happens when I go into my favorite Indian dive restaurant every Wednesday night, you might check out an interview with me on the home / school / life blog.
And because I love hearing from you, dear readers, how about telling me a few Things YOU Like in the comments?
* One more thing I like.