Something that I have always wanted to do is to home school my kids. And before you call me crazy, let's please remember that we are all our own kind of crazy. If you went back to work after having kids, I think that YOU are crazy, because after nearly 20 years of parenting I still hate leaving my kids. And I'm not judging you based on going back to work or saying that you enjoy leaving your kids, I'm just trying to point out that what is crazy to one is not the same kind of crazy to another.
I have waited a long time to get to the point that I am at. My youngest is 3 1/2. I almost get a minimum amount of sleep each night to function at almost full capacity. That's saying quite a bit after 6 kids. I have always said that the first day that all of my kids were in school all day (and here we have full day kindergarten) that I would sit and read all day long and eat oreos and drink soda without having to share with anybody. The problem is that I never thought much past that first day. Obviously, I wouldn't do that everyday, so what would I do? I already work part time from home, and I have no desire to work more hours. So after I get that job done uninterrupted, I honestly don't know what I would do with myself. My desires, my 'hobby', is raising my kids.
I want to start off by saying that 1)I have loved all of my kids teachers. The decision to home school has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of teachers that my kids have had. and 2)My kids function beautifully at school. My problem lies before and after school. My kids go to an out of district school, so I have to take them to/from school. We spend 2 hours a day in the car doing drop offs and pickups. Then when we get home, my kids are tired and crabby. And they have homework. Sometimes lots. When you have 4 school age kids at home that need help with homework, it takes a good part of the evening. And then putting in sports (ever had 4 kids on 5 different soccer teams??? Good Times.) and piano lessons. I seriously feel like I don't see my kids or the times that I do see them is not enjoyable, it usually involves me harping after them to get ready to leave somewhere. And my kids are definitely NOT over scheduled, we just have a lot of kids:) So to be home by myself all day and then not see my kids in the evening doesn't sound appealing at all. But this isn't about me, it truly is what I think will be best for my kids. My kids are smart. They want to do more than what is given at school. They want harder spelling words, they want to move faster than their classes are in any given (most) subjects. I want to open up more knowledge to my kids than they are currently being exposed to. I want them learning a foreign language (or two or three) while they are young and little sponges. I want more hands on, especially for Nolan. I don't want my kids having 12 weeks off every summer just to spend the first month back at school reviewing what was lost (not necessarily my kids because we do activities in the summer to promote learning) but the class as a whole. I want my kids to have an individualized approach to their education. I want my kids to be raised by Brian and me, not 'the village'. I have seen what goes on in the village and don't want my kids partaking of that mess before I have prepared them. And there is no way to prepare your kids for the Village by the time they are 5. I want my kids to be prepared for life. What goes on in middle school and high school is not life. Life is knowing how to prepare meals, do laundry, cleaning, balancing a checkbook, getting along with others through respect and compassion. I want them to have an academic advantage for college. Because face it. We are middle class white Americans. Aside from academics or being one of the chosen few for a sports scholarship, my kids won't be getting scholarships to attend college. And we have 5 more kids to help through college. So I want it to be important that their math answers are correct, and that if they want to be challenged, they have that option. (those are just two things that we have faced recently).
But what do I worry about? I worry about giving them enough socialization. Really, that's all. Swim, piano, all that stuff will be done during the day when other kids will be at school. They have friends, so I'll just have to work extra hard to make sure they keep up those friendships. I also worry about my kids driving me batty with fighting. Being around each other all the time is sure to drive them nuts.
Am I worried about my ability to teach them? Absolutely not. We live in the day of the internet...and especially Pinterest. I have found a ton of home school sites and helps. I love that I can mix a lego curriculum in there to make learning fun. I want my kids to know that learning is fun and knowledge is a powerful resource to have. Did you know that Rosetta Stone makes a homeschooling foreign language series? Studies have shown that it's easier for children to pick up a foreign language than an adult. The thought of my middle schooler or elementary student being fluent in another language is not only appealing, but gives them a competitive edge with future employers. I want my kids to have that competitive edge when applying for college and employment without making them do hours and hours of work after they have already been in school all day. I want to teach my children HOW to learn instead of just giving them subjects. Does that make sense? (I think that I read 'Hooray for Diffendoofer Day' too many times :))
And the reality of Home Schooling is that you don't do school 6 hours a day. With individualized instruction, you can cut that time down significantly. That would give me more time to enjoy my kids while they weren't tired after being gone all day, it would let us do piano lessons (and other music lessons) during the day to free up time in the evening for family time.
So, that's where we are at right now. I reserve the right to change my mind when I start factoring in my own sanity :)
(and just an FYI, I'm on my 4th day of no soda!)