I woke up yesterday morning and realized that so far this year I haven’t taken any photos of Mak at school. And school has been a pretty big deal for us this year, so I feel that it deserves to be documented. Besides the whole “birthing him” event, I’d say teaching him has been the most monumental factor in our relationship. It’s shown me things I love about my boy, things I know I need to change about myself. I’ve learned right alongside him, just the two of us. I have not loved every minute of it, but I certainly have loved a lot of them. I feel like I know my boy better now than ever before. I am so thankful for the blessing that this first year of homeschool has been, and I look forward to Clara Beth joining us next year. I know some people still think the whole homeschool concept is a weird one, and I get that. That’s okay. But it works really well for us and right now Collin and I feel that it’s what the Lord is calling us to do as a family.
When we started this whole homeschool deal it really did bother me what people thought. It’s not that I wanted people to think it was the best option ever, I just wanted them to not look at me like I grew a second head right in front of them when I announced that we homeschool. In the beginning, when I told people about our decision I would immediately follow it up with “but I’m sure we will eventually end up in private school” or some other remark like that. But really, I have no intention of him going to traditional school. Right now, at least. Right now, homeschool is working out better than I ever imagined it could. Like everything else in parenting, we take it on a day by day basis. And I’m really not sure why the funny looks bothered me like they did. I mean, EVERYONE has strong opinions when it comes to education. It’s almost as bad as politics, right? Some are strongly opposed to public school while others are just as opposed to private. People gave us funny looks when we started Mak and CB out in montesorri because it was different from the norm. I’m sure every parent has gotten a strange look from someone at some point regarding how they choose to educate their child. It’s ultimately a decision that each family must make for themselves. And homeschool is what works for us.
While I was photographing Mak yesterday I started thinking about the things I really love about homeschool as well as the things I really don’t like. I think what it comes down to is the freedom. I LOVE the freedom of homeschool. Not just the “Hmmm…let’s take off to the beach on Monday and do school on Saturday instead this week” kind of freedom…although that is really great. It’s more the freedom in how I teach him. We have finished his first grade math curriculum. You know what, though? I’m not sure that he really and truly mastered it. So you know what I did last week? I ordered a new 1st grade math curriculum. One that I think he will respond to better. He didn’t learn the way I thought he would so we are doing it over again in a different way. I love that I have the freedom to do that. In a classroom he would be taught one way and if he didn’t learn that way then, well…tough luck. You can’t expect a teacher who has 20 kids in her class to teach each of them individually. It’s simply not possible. For the most part, Mak is doing 2nd grade work. Even with math, it’s not that he was doing poorly. He even got all of the answers correct on the final test. There was just something about it…I guess I feel like I could teach him in a way that might be less confusing to him. I also kind of see it as a challenge, you know? It is MY job to make sure that he gets this stuff. How am I going to do that in a way that is exciting and ensures that he masters these concepts? It’s fun.
What have I not loved about homeschool? It’s ALL on me. It is my job to teach him what he needs to know. Honestly? It terrifies me. There is no one I can pass the blame to because I am the teacher AND the momma. His education is my responsibility. Another thing? I miss Collin. That sounds crazy because Collin is still right here in the house with me. But last year, when both kids were in school, Collin and I had three hours alone together every single day. Can you even imagine that?! I so took it for granted. We would leisurely have coffee together, work on studio stuff side by side, have conversations that were not interrupted by whining of any sort. I miss that so much. Last year I never craved date night because we had so much one on one time without the kids. This year I crave date night on a weekly basis. When you homeschool, the kids are ALWAYS there. There is NO escape. And every parent needs a little escape time every now and then, am I right? 😉
But the relationship that I have with my firstborn…I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Even 15 hours a week of uninterrupted date time with his daddy. We have had so many shared secrets and inside jokes this year. I cherish it so much. We have also had about a bazillion arguments, bad attitudes and lots of tears. But look at the face in this next photo! I LOVE that face. That is a genuine, for real Mak smile. I see that face every single day and that does my heart good. =)