Neil & i were visiting with a work acquaintance of his when the subject of our children's home education was brought up.
He asked what we were going to do about second language.
i felt pretty confident when i replied, "They will have holes in their education."
He nodded - i could tell he thought i was a fruit loop - & i hate defending my decisions to people who think i'm a fruit loop - so i refrained.
When i got home & was better able to think through my response, i decided i said just what i would have wanted to say. (Love it when that happens instead of the usual, "Doh, i wish i would've said___")
i grew up in french immersion - so learning french in our home is not out of the question - & we've done a bit here & there with different words & phrases. We've also explored the latin & greek roots of many of our words, but i wouldn't say that any of them have had nearly enough training in any language other than english to say that they had a second language.
So, there's a hole in their education.
There. i've admitted it. & i do feel better for it. i can't defend homeschooling by saying that my children will have a far superior education to children in the public system... (although, some homeschool moms certainly could - i've seen them in action, these gifted teachers & it is a thing of beauty to behold...)
i'm also not giving up before our horse has even left the start gate. i'm learning right along with my little ones & i'm definitely giving them as many opportunities for learning and growth as i can. i'm delving into some of the subjects that (can i admit it?) constitute the holes in my own education.
What??!! Holes in *my* education? But, i went to public school... French immersion for the most part, - surely there can be no holes in a public school education?? *grin*.
The thing is, we all have holes in our education. None of us has arrived. There is always new territory to conquer - languages to learn - history to remember - science to discover. What i want for my children is to foster a love of learning. i want to give them the tools to find the answers - and to be able to communicate ideas. i want to give them the freedom to explore their interests - and to be challenged by the mastering of the tools needed to get to that place.
But, most of all -
i want to give them *home*.
i want their childhood memories to be full of each other - with their friends playing supporting roles, but their family playing the lead. i want to show them that learning doesn't just take place in an institution - it's something that we can take with us into each & every situation in our life. i want to expose them to our worldview - to saturate their childhood with conversations *with* and *about* God.
i want them to grow in wisdom and stature and favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
& this is a goal that for *me* is best carried out in this little green house.
I find i need that volume of time. The quantity seems to be a vital ingredient for me.
Can i rephrase that a third time for emphasis? :)
Those hours are imperative for me to work towards my goal...
i want to tell you a funny little daydream i had the other day - because i sound all hard-core homeschoolish in this post & i hardly even recognize myself.
i daydreamed about putting a certain little person in public school.
We're struggling - yeh - all those beautiful ideas about fostering relationships, & giving them tools to learn, & igniting the passion for learning... it's hard work sometimes. So, the day dream came. Someone else could take the reigns of academics & i would be free to work on the fun stuff. i smiled as i dreamed of this freedom. Ahhhh, no more taking it to heart when i have to explain something for the 8th (hundredth) time. No more shame when they write a note to their friend that is completely illegible. Maybe magically, this child would now find academics to be *easy*. Suddenly, the gears on my day dream started to grind. i imagined something a little more realistic. i go to parent teacher interviews. My child is still struggling. They ask me to make sure that we are working on x, & y at home & i'm hit with the realization that *some kids struggle* - in public school, in homeschool, in private school...
& mine is one of them.
Will all of those problems magically disappear if i decide to send that child?
Will i have to sacrifice a lot of the good stuff we're doing here to make an effort for it to happen there?
Is it worth it for me?
Not a chance.
So, to end this incredibly long pep talk to myself - i will soften my seeming 'hardcore' stance by telling you that Neil & i consider *each and every year* what we will be doing with our littles the next year. Some years, i'm vibrating with anticipation for the year ahead & to set my plans in motion - some years, i'm full of self-doubt & quaking fear.
Holes can be darned (hehe) second languages can later be learned.
For, now i am going to give my children: