“But what about socialization?”
I’ll admit. When Adam first said “We’re homeschooling.” after hearing some horrors of the public school system, I said it. The worst, most silly thing you can ever say about homeschooling. And, I’ll even (shamefully) admit that I said it when my niece and nephew were homeschooled for a period of time. (In my very weak defense I was prepping for my entire career to revolve around the education system, and still young and egocentric I took this as a bit of an insult to my career choice. “TEACHERS CHANGE THE WORLD! THEY HELP THE CHILDREN! Who would want to keep their kids from school?!”) Never the less, he kept bringing it up, and I kept saying “Okay, we can talk about it.”, all the while thinking “Hahahahaha. Ummmmm, no.” And then I started noticing things about our oldest. She could read. She was three. She couldn’t do other things her friends could, like sit still for any period of time, or follow directions with any regularity. She was really young for kindergarten, but too advanced for another round of preschool ( especially at $200/month…). I eagerly anticipated her parent teacher conference for clarity that I was sure her wonderful teacher, Mrs. T would provide. She didn’t. 😉 She echoed all of our concerns (young, highly active, distractable) and reinforced that she was, indeed, ahead of the curve, academically and that another year of preschool probably wasn’t going to benefit her in any way. Homeschooling was a good choice, if we could do it, she said. Just one year. Then re-assess. I probably looked a little stunned. I felt a lot stunned. So I called Adam, and to my surprise, he didn’t gloat. Too much, anyway. When I got home to where my mom was watching the girls, she said “Yea, I think you need to do it. It’s just a year.” And then I talked to my dad and he said “You’d be stupid not to!”. Adam’s mom was incredibly supportive, too, and offered to help us purchase our curriculum. And I kept saying “But what about socialization?” If you know Molly, you know that she is one of the most outgoing kids on Earth. If you don’t know her, and you run into her at the park, you’ll find out really quickly. Every outing is prefaced with “Will there be new friends there?!”. To me, Kindergarten seemed like heaven for Molly. Just think of all those new friends. But, as her Momma, I obviously had to step back and take in the whole situation. Just think of all the frustration and boredom sight words would be to a kid reading fluently. Just think of learning to count for a kid doing addition and subtraction. What about if she gets in trouble, because she is too busy bouncing around the room, because the work presented isn’t at all challenging for her. What if she ends up hating school? Eventually the excitement of new friends would either get her in more trouble, or wane quickly in the shadow of being scolded for being… her. For me one question followed another. My heart and head didn’t even have time to dream up an answer to one before many more flooded in.
Will she hate me as her teacher? Will she hate me as her momma? Will she be lonely? Will she be sad? Will she listen to me? Will she forget how to be outgoing? Will she feel isolated? Will she flourish without lots of other kids? Who will we hang out with? Can I do this? Can I do this better than a teacher who has been teaching? Is this why I have an education degree I barely used? Will people judge us? Will her friends judge her? What about other homeschooling families? Will they judge us? Will the accept us? How do I know where to start? How do I do this? Are we crazy? Why can’t we just be normal? How will we integrate her back into public school? Is this really just for a year? Will I ever get to be by myself? Will I ever have a clean house? Will she be lonely? Can I manage being a mom and a teacher and a wife? Is this because I’m not ready for her to be gone every day? Is this what is best for her or what is best for me? What will this mean for her relationship with her baby sister? What does this mean for her baby sister in general? Will we homeschool both of them? Doesn’t she need to go to preschool, too? Is it fair she will be home and not at preschool? What does this mean for more kids? Can I do this and have a baby someday? Will I have to wear mom jeans? Will I EVER get to shower on a regular basis? On. And. On. And. On.
It is quite obvious at this point, that in the end, we decided we would try it. Just for a year. Just until she was a little older. Its only been one semester (+ a month). But I no longer worry about socialization. I never worry if we made the right choice (well, maybe during handwriting time…. 😉 ) and even am already planning for next year. I can see her flourishing, and I can see her growing. And this is the only time ever I will put it in writing: My husband was right.