You know, the anxiety never stops when it comes to parenting! Really, it doesn't. It just changes form. I may not be dealing with feeding schedules and potty training (at the moment), but those issues disappear simply to be replaced by new ones. This time it's education!
Yesterday we reached - in our long, long history of homeschooling, that is, the past two weeks - the first point when I got a "But Mommmmm, I don't wanna!" when going through a phonics craft.
I find myself grinding my teeth (i.e. worrying) over multiple issues with our fledgling homeschool, dragging feet being just one of many. Here are just a few:
(1) There are just so, SO many awesome choices when it comes to curricula! I'm not talking just a few - there are thousands of products out there, of all different styles, speeds and types. It is absolutely mind-boggling. And no one homeschooling family uses the same combination of curricula! (Which is awesome, by the way, though confusing for the novice.) I am having a very hard time choosing.
(2) An even bigger issue is the fact that I really didn't want to start school yet with our 5yo. I wanted to delay school until he was six, for several reasons - both that, statistically, kids often do better with a later start (especially boys), and also that our 5yo has shown less than no interest in academics (more like an active antipathy). The only reason that I am starting now is that he has to be "in kindergarten" to move up with his AWANA class. Otherwise, he'd be left behind with the 3yo class while all of his friends moved up. So we have to do kindergarten, but do we do kindergarten or "kindergarten"?? I do not want either to (1) ruin the joy of learning by introducing hard-core academics too early, or (2) end up with an undisciplined learner by delaying them too late.
Where on earth is the balance?
Our son is 100% opposite of myself, which makes me feel even more at sea. I was the naturally-studious type who taught myself to read at four, who took naturally to school work, worksheets, etc., was self-motivated, naturally organized, never needed reminders, etc. Basically, a teacher's pet. He, on the other hand, while being quite curious and incredibly intelligent - especially in practical and mechanical matters - has never, ever, ever been interested in anything remotely academic. Most kids enjoy coloring books - he has almost never touched one voluntarily. Most kids like crafts - he avoids them like the plague. And any time that I've tried to get him to do things like coloring or crafts, it has turned into a discipline battle - "Sit down and color this picture or you're going to be in BIG TROUBLE!" Great, huh?
So right now, with our homeschool, I'm doing tiny phonics lessons (one letter a week) and other than that, just following an interest-led path with tons and tons of library books - both non-fiction, according to interest, and good quality fiction according to age. Right now he is passionately interested in the solar system and space travel, so I have checked out our library's entire (almost) selection on planets/shuttles/etc. and we are reading masses of books about that, as well as watching Youtube videos, and tomorrow night we're going to go visit a local observatory.
In my heart of hearts, I believe that the above type of education is the best (that is, masses of reading of real books plus real life experiences).... but I don't have the confidence in myself to branch out completely in that sense. I would like the security of following some sort of curricula, at least in math. The question is - do I need to start that right now? Or is waiting okay? I know that homeschooling parents often take a "better late than early" approach with their children, which is just awesome, but again..... I lack the confidence to break away from the crowd. Odd, considering all of my counterculture choices in life (like homebirth, etc.) - but I find my confidence really shaky when it comes to home education.
However, as I said, I'm going to be meeting with my AHF (Amazing Homeschooling Friend) soon to get her perspective, and I daresay that I will have a better direction after that.
Thanks for listening to my wanderings!