A week and a half away from our formal start to the homeschool year and I’m feeling excited and apprehensive. Excited because I’ve found some really good resources, the kind I’ve been lamenting the seeming non-existence of for four years. Excited because who wouldn’t be excited at the door of a great adventure, especially one starting with an overnight trip to see a King Tut exhibit? Excited because I think I am as eager to learn about what we’ll be studying as my children are.
And that is perhaps at the core of my satisfaction with homeschooling. I homeschool for many and varied reasons, but I love it for who I am becoming as a result. The idea of the teacher as a living text book, a model of the virtues and character traits we wish to instill in our children rather than simply a dictator of them, has inspired me to be more and do less.
While homeschooling, I am more intentional in my parenting, more inspired in my reading. I am more consistent in studying scripture and reflect on it more deeply. My days are more productive and my mind is more focused.
But I am also apprehensive, this year more than most. At first, I wasn’t really sure why. Last year was a tough year with the birth of a baby and a hospitalization with a long recovery. Mouse is beginning the fifth grade, which is a pretty important year in my mind. A transition year. All things which work together to make me feel a little stressed. I want my children to “be ready.” For what is sort of ill-defined.
There is more to my apprehension, however. We have been sort of playing at school while I read The Hobbit with the children and something is becoming readily apparent. My daughter likes textbooks and workbooks. She likes well-defined assignments, with clear direction as to the expected result. Clear as in “fill in the blank” or “multiple choice.” She doesn’t like open-ended assignments. Opposite to me, she looks at the world from part to whole.
There is a lot of talk in homeschooling circles about learning styles. One thing we don’t talk about that much (at least that I have seen) is teaching styles. We all have one, and it is related closely to our own learning style. Mine doesn’t match my daughter’s. We actually stand on opposite sides of the learning/teaching spectrum.
For me, that is a challenge.