Kendra, age 7
And as I write this, I still can't believe it. BUT (deep breath) here goes: we're pulling Kendra out of 3rd grade and homeschooling her.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking - and if I'm reading your mind then yes - I am a tiny bit crazy for trying it. Truth be told, it took a year of pleading and begging on the part of the little FP (Future Paleontologist) for me to even consider it. I mean really, homeschooling?! That's for other people. What kind of other people, I had no idea. But I was certain I wasn't one of them. . . .
And then my neighbor went off the deep end and started homeschooling her daughter. Before her, I had never met anyone - let alone a friend of mine - who actually did that. And my mind was opened a crack to the possibility. As we spent second grade hauling Kendra to and from school, wrestling with homework every night and being tied to a strict schedule, my friend spent the year doing just the opposite. They had freedom to come and go as they please, freedom to study what, when and how they wanted and, more than anything else, the freedom to be together. And since I know we have a few precious years left before Kendra's friends become more important to her than her parents, it was that freedom that I envied the most. But still, homeschooling? Um, no. I couldn't imagine it for us.
And then, I started researching it. I read everything I could get my hands on and spoke with everyone we knew in the field. I also started paying closer attention to the Mommy Bloggers I admire who homeschool. And in the end, what I came to understand is this: when children are given the freedom to study what they're interested in, they become active participants in the process of learning. Of course there's core curriculum to cover, but the rest is up to us. So, if Kendra wants to study dinosaurs throughout the year, we can. If she wants to learn about Sharks, no problem. And if reptiles are on her hit list, we can cover that too. And the most exciting part? We can travel! We can study something one week and, money and time permitting, go see it the next. It all started to sound possible. And exciting.
Don't get me wrong: I know it's going to be a challenge. I know there'll be times when I wonder what the hell I was thinking and I know that my free time will pretty much be thrown out the window. But I think I'm okay with that. Only time will tell. In the meantime, what I can say is this: Kendra will have my undivided attention. We'll travel as a family, take time to pursue her passions and make third grade one to remember. If nothing else, it will be an adventure. One which I am now looking forward to.
So if you see my Insta-ham digging up fossils or baking a cake on some random Tuesday when we should have been at school, now you know what's up. Who knows, I may even post some of the things she's doing here. (I have a feeling a lot of it will be creative). In the meantime, wish me luck. And patience. I'm probably gonna need a lot of both. . . .