Confessions of an errant homeschooler

Since starting my fall school schedule 2 weeks ago I've managed to follow it for exactly 1.75 days, or something like that. Life happened instead.

Family came to visit. We took a day field trip to the state museum to learn about bugs, one my son's many favorite topics. We went camping.

In my defense, I have managed to do a little math with Celine almost every week day. But this is only because Damien sets aside time each evening to teach the youngin's to read so his motivation is keeping me on track with Celine's math.

This morning as I helped the kids hang 3 loads of post-camping laundry on the line (instead of handwriting practice) my mind started to wander down the path of homeschool guilt. So much so I even resorted to a quick quiz.

Mommy: "What's the capital of the United States?"

Brienne: "Canada?"

Celine: "New York"

Uh, oh. Let's try something else.

Mommy: "What's the Declaration of Independence?"

Brienne and Laurent: "huh???"

Celine: "The document that declares the United States independence from England".


Although quite honestly I don't even know the technical definition for the Declaration of Independence, we've never studied it. Don't ask me how Celine knows what it is. I know a bunch of famous "founding fathers" signed it. But Celine's definition sounds good to me. I quickly left the land of homeschooling guilt because I won't let myself dwell there very long. I'm also fairly good at counteracting "my kids aren't learning _____" with "but my kids are learning ______".

For instance:

  • I never did follow through on my intentions to study classical music last year with the kids. But my kids can name their favorite local musicians and truly appreciate Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton music. The more fiddles the better. Gosh, I wonder where they picked up this appreciation. (hint: their daddy tastes tend to British pop)
  • In spite of free & easy remote library access to Rosetta Stone, my kids are not "picking up" French. But Laurent would like to learn Gaelic.
  • My kids don't know their multiplication tables. But Celine can take a recipe with whole numbers and fractions and quadruple it for making supper.
  • Celine doesn't know how to spell "hello", she had to ask me this morning while she was making up her own language. But later this same morning she told Laurent he shouldn't call his make believe fish/dragon a flagon because a flagon is a cup (technically it's more like a large flask but she's got the right idea).
  • My kids don't have the first idea of how to prepare for a test. But they know how to make flour from an acorn, go to the bathroom in the woods, and identify caterpillars using a guide book.
  • My second grader can't easily recognize his letters and numbers. But his kindergarten aged sister is helping him along and he sees no problem with that because in our house there is no shame in learning at your own pace.

I'm hoping one of these days to "get back on schedule" ha, ha. In the meantime I guess we'll keep on identifying the bugs in our backyard, appreciating local folk music and cranking up those fiddle tunes, reading medieval era novels, finding out what we can eat in the woods, listening to the crickets as we camp out under the stars, cooking supper and hanging laundry together.

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  • myke

    myke on Sept. 23, 2008, 6:25 a.m.

    OK. . . so i didn't even know what a flagon was!!!! What the heck. . . now i have homework too. But let Laurent know that James found a crysalis in the new chicken coop, and while i haven't confirmed it, i am 99.9% sure it is a monarch! James was pretty excited too. Almost as excited as seeing your children at the faire!!


  • Andie

    Andie on Sept. 24, 2008, 4:52 p.m.

    Ha! That was so much fun to read. If it's any consolation, I have the "mommy guilt" too only it's because I DON"T homeschool my kids. would be so helpful if we didn't put so much pressure on ourselves. I try to always tell myself the kids are GOOD, HAPPY, CREATIVE kids. Let the rest go... :) a.


  • Shelli

    Shelli on Sept. 28, 2008, 8:01 p.m.

    I loved reading this because we're considering homeschooling our son. It's such a big decision!


    • renee

      renee on Sept. 29, 2008, 12:30 a.m.


      I've written a whack of posts about homeschooling, you can find them in the Home Education tag.

      I'm working on a post right now about our long term goals for homeschooling, our homeschooling philosophy and available resources. It's a couple posts actually : ) Renee


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