On Saturday my 3rd grader took notes in acting class. When I saw them with all kinds of misspellings and scribble I became immediately concerned. "Oh no!" I thought. I'm a failure if she goes back to school she'll be behind (when honestly, she is ahead--she should be in the second grade). I was so sad. Bright and early this morning I demanded she work in her journal and write. She was hard at work writing about yesterday (Easter). Finally, in a tizzy I said "this is taking too long I want you done in 5 minutes." When she turned it in it was well-written with only four misspelled words. I felt like an idiot. I realized that in acting class she was writing on unlined paper with no desk and had to do it in a hurry. Everything is just fine.
My dramatic response to my child's rushed scribble made me think about how homeschooling is so tied to how we feel about ourselves as parents, as teachers, as learners ourselves, and how we feel about what we pass on genetically. When a child is in out-of-home school, parents mostly carry feelings about how his/her educational progress as it relates to them being parents, their own ability as learners and what they have passed on genetically. We homeschooling parents however, have the added burden of being teachers, so we sweat about keeping records, keeping them on track academically, and keeping up with standardized scores. I personally sometimes fear that once my children take their required standardized test that they will be grossly off, but then I have to calm myself down and realize that they are gaining skills that they wouldn't have access too at out-of-home school.
So far they can make Keynote Presentations, search anything on the internet, cook, clean the kitchen well, find any book they want at the library and put it on hold (I just take them to pick them up), my 12 year old is writing a book that is currently 26 pages, I could go on and on. Overall, I have realized that they are at level if not above, and they are gaining more knowledge than they could have in out-of-home school, plus they get to sleep in.
Here's my theme song these days.