No Title Yet, But It’s A Book About Homeschooling

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I love writing this book. It’s just some stuff I need to say now that I’m finished with teaching all twelve grades, coaching academics and sports for 22 years, doing all the gajillion field trips and being school teacher, janitor, hall monitor, bus driver and lunchroom lady all in one. It’s the big exhale of a homeschool mom when it’s finished. It’s the confessions of a home educator who found out slowly you don’t have to wear denim jumpers and white tennis shoes. I didn’t love (or even remotely like) dissecting frogs or anything that was math with parentheses and finding x. And I don’t care if I never see another ACT practice test. But we’re done! And although I didn’t always realize it in the moment, I wouldn’t trade the time I spent homeschooling the kids for any career or leisurely life of the rich and famous. (But now that they’ve graduated, I could consider…)

I’m so glad for the decision that never “hit me like a ton of bricks” but rather “snuck up” from behind and made me think, really hard, about what comprises a good education and how my kids could have one. This is just the exhale. No more critical eyes from folks who really don’t think it will work. No more counting days, reporting curriculum choices and rushing to contact the person who may have the used curriculum I need before someone else does. No more. Many times, I said, “Why doesn’t he grow up a little?” He did. I remember saying “Now, your room is clean, I want it to say that way.” Now it does. “Why don’t you turn that loud music off?” She did. “Could you please let me have a few moments of peace and quiet?” I’ve got them. Can you please stop tracking that dirt on the carpet?” They did.

Some days lasted an eternity. But the whole journey lasted a moment. Here’s an except from Chapter One.

Everybody Home Schools…
My daughter calls me “Captain Obvious” when I make such a statement. It should be clear to every parent that the most important part of her child’s education does occur in the home and it happens prior to the first day of kindergarten. Primary school, then is the school that is in session in every home in which children live. Everything else is secondary school. Mental and emotional development are on the fast track during those first five years of a child’s life and much of a child’s future is actually shaped during these extremely formative years. So, in a very real sense, every home is a school.

Just as the social jello has been mixed and has mostly gelled prior to the sixth birthday, so the academic aptitude is largely determined prior to official school age. You may be thinking “Well, that only makes sense because certainly the intelligence quota of each child is fixed from birth or even before.” But there are so many things besides IQ that factor into academic success; things like whether or not a child loves to learn, whether or not he listens well, whether or not she has qualified teachers and readily available materials, whether or not her little world is goal oriented and achievement supportive, and whether or not he is self-disciplined.

These are contingencies that are mostly decided before school age and largely by primary caregivers during the preschool years. Arguably, the most expansive influence in an entire lifetime is that wielded by those caregivers. Stop and ask yourself at this moment “Who most influenced my character, my world view and my major life decisions. You have, according to mountains of research, likely answered that it was someone who cared for you in the first five years.

So, moms, the primary school in your home is not a lobby where you wait for education to begin. It’s the most defining part of your child’s lifetime. It matters more than any other segment of that education. So what are the components of a great primary home school?

Well that and so much more is what the book is about. It’s not written from the perspective of an expert. That perspective’s not mine to share. It’s more about the journey that we’re glad we decided to take. It starts with baby discipline and covers lots of potholes, curves and even U-turns. It ends with the collegiate worlds of two of those kids who were homeschooled….You know… those kids. I’m hoping it can be ready by mid-2011; maybe even before. Nah….Early is more likely to happen in getting the Christmas shopping all done and wrapped before December 24th than in getting a book published. It just doesn’t happen.
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