I am not cut out to homeschool. For those of you reading this who homeschool, I tip my hat to you. I do not have the patience, motivation or concentration required for my kids to be successful if I were their teacher.
Mostly the concentration. See, in the world of Myers-Briggs, I’m an ENFP. The prayer of the ENFP says, “Please help me to focus on one thing…Oh look! A bird!…one thing at a time.”
I imagine homeschooling in my world would go something like this:
“Ok, math time. If Sarah has 5 oranges…oranges! Hey, guys, we’re really low on fruit and a bunch of other things. We should probably head to Costco now before it gets too crowded. Gather up some books, and we’ll get in the car.”
Probably the only thing they would learn is how my brain works. And, I’m not convinced that’s beneficial.
But, when people hear about our trip, the next question after “Is it just for fun?” is inevitably, “So, you’re going to be homeschooling the kids?” It actually never comes out as a question. It’s a statement. As in there is no question that we should be homeschooling.
I want to respond with a resounding “Yes!” I want to say that we’re gathering the books they need from school, and we’ll be following along with their classrooms. I want to say that we will set aside two hours every day dedicated to schoolwork and that when we are in the same rental for 4 weeks in France, we’ll be spending at least half of each day studying.
But I’d be lying.
I knew, however, that I did need to touch base with the school because I would also be lying if I said I was ok with them being behind on schoolwork when we return. I don’t want us to have an amazing trip only to return to 7 months of tears and frustration as the kids try to catch up to their classmates.
So, in January, I scheduled a meeting with the school principal. My goal was to find out how we could keep the kids up to speed while we were gone. I talked to the principal about what we were doing, where we were going, and how we wanted to partner with the teachers to make sure we had everything in place for the kids to be successful.
A smile came across her face as I started talking about our plans. Her eyes lit up, and she started talking faster as she said things like, “Do you think Missa B would be able to do a blog? Her classmates could follow where she is and what she is learning!” We talked about math and reading basics, and she agreed to put me in touch with teachers in the next grade to see if there were books we should bring or if we could keep up online.
And then she said something that stopped me in my tracks.
“I just want to be sure that you aren’t focusing too much on all the books and what has to be done. I want to be sure they are out there learning about history, cultures, and the world they’re going to see. The lessons they learn out there will be so valuable, so don’t get too caught up in the daily academics. Let them learn by being there.”
Hubs and I have always been convinced that the kids will learn so much on this trip. But in today’s world of Common Core Standards and kids sitting through days of doing nothing but testing, I wasn’t convinced the school would see it the same way. What a relief it was to have an educator on our side. An educator who understands that there is so much to learn in this world, and it doesn’t all have to come from a classroom. An educator who basically told me it would all work out and who agreed to help along the way, without insisting on certain requirements.
So, we won’t necessarily be homeschooling. We’ll be meeting with teachers so we’re all on the same page, but we won’t stress about it.
And, when I start to worry about dividing fractions, I’ll let our principal’s words ring in my ears:
“Let them learn by being there.”