So, many of you know that I’m a completely lazy parent. I can barely muster up the energy and desire to play with my children (that’s why I gave them playmates in the handy form of siblings). How can I possibly think that I will be able to teach my children anything and homeschool them?
My brother thinks I’m turning into the Duggars. Hapa Papa thinks I barely pay attention to my children now – how will I add teaching on top of that?
Here’s the thing. I don’t particularly want to homeschool, but I am feeling very conflicted.
You see, I firmly believe in kids having lots of free time. Free time to play, to read, to watch copious amounts of TV. In short, to have the sort of childhood I recall having. I also want my kids to learn and be fluent in Chinese so that kills either a Friday night or a Saturday morning for the foreseeable future. If I add sports, music, and other activities on the list, that’s more afternoons gone. I would also have three (hopefully four) kids in these classes. Unless they are all in at the same time, it’s going to be a LONG time. Plus, I’m sure their regular schools will have homework as well.
Don’t get me started on how stupid homework is. I get needing homework for math, science, and reading. But a lot of the homework I’m seeing is truly a waste of time. I already know I’m going to be one of those annoying parents who complain about the amount of homework their kid brings home every week.
My friend told me her first grader (in the same school district my kids will be attending) had to write a paragraph on what MLK’s “I have a dream” means to them. Then, the parents had to write an essay on the same topic. WTF? The parent has to do homework?? I’m sorry. I already have a college degree, thanks. I don’t need to be doing homework for the fucking first grade. Also, how do people who work full time even deal with this shit? If I were a working parent, I’d seriously be even more livid. Why is my precious little time with my kids going to be wasted on busywork and stupid sheets of paper that teach them “math mountains” (what the flying frak is that?) and circling how many things “11” is?
Which brings me back to my dilemma. How do I have my kids in extracurricular activities and school without overscheduling them?
I know there is no way my kids can learn EVERYTHING (forget time constraints – they likely won’t be interested in everything). I also want to say I have certain non-negotiables in terms of what my kids will learn such as a musical instrument, a sport, and Chinese. But even if school lets out at 2:30pm, that’s not a lot of time for other stuff PLUS free time. It will likely be just extracurricular stuff and no time to just be a kid.
So, I was thinking. If I homeschooled, then my kids could take the extracurricular activities during the regular school day and I could teach them their “normal” curriculum at other times, that would be awesome! I mean, no offense to regular schools and teachers, but I am pretty sure that I would take less time to teach my kids the same stuff by virtue of there only being my kids vs. twenty-six other students. I can tailor the pace to my child and not teach to the mean. If my kids need me to slow down, I can. If they need me to hurry up, I can. Plus, I can teach a lot of stuff in Chinese (and my Chinese will thereby improve, too!). There really seem to be so many benefits!!
There are two main drawbacks for me. 1) Cookie Monster is highly social and I think if he were stuck with me all day, he would miss kids his age. I can sign him up for classes with peers, but there is no real substitute for sharing life with a classroom of other children. 2) I have to teach my children and spend all my time with them. sigh I mean, I love my children to pieces but this sounds truly awful. Almost enough to break the whole idea altogether.
An alternative is if Cookie Monster gets into a Chinese immersion magnet school in Oakland and then, I don’t have to worry about adding Chinese school on top of other activities. Then, it’s really just being reasonable with outside activities.
For those of you who are further along in the parenting time line and have older children, how do you manage? And for those of you who homeschool, any tips? Good sites? etc? Thanks in advance for all your help, friends!
I know I have at least a year to figure out what to do – and that any decision I make isn’t final. I can put them in regular school, pull them out, put them back in, etc. It really is rather flexible. But I do believe in being prepared.
For now, I will think about trying to do more formal teaching for my kids in the afternoons. Cookie Monster is showing signs of wanting to read so I guess I’ll teach him that. Gamera might just learn because she wants to be like her big brother. If I can actually follow through on this (and maybe teach Cookie Monster some basic math), then perhaps I will have a decent shot at homeschooling them in the future.
Or maybe pigs can fly. Sigh.