Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where is middle?

I don't even know what I want. Isn't that crazy?

I love homeschooling. But every so often, I struggle with the question of what the hell am I doing. Not in the sense I'm not sure in what order to teach American history or what to cover in 1st grade science. I'm talking more along the lines of...well, everything else.

Daily I struggle with how much structure. We can't be super structured, because as has been mentioned before, planning school out with no wiggle room doesn't work well when Dad, who we all enjoy to spend time with, may be home. Or might not. Or maybe he will be. But wait, I guess not. (Law enforcement, I tell ya.) But no structure? My insane little men can drive me insane when left to their own devices for more than 4 hours at a time. I know adults who can't handle non-structure. So once again, the answer lies somewhere in that elusive middle. The middle part that isn't easily found. I am completely convinced that throughout the course of life, "middle" shifts around many times.

We have an issue right now with groups. We used to be a non-group homeschooling family. Now, we essentially belong to three. That meet every week. Its not working. Plop swimming lessons on top of that, and seriously. Are we doing school, or are we learning how to behave in a car? We went from nothing to everything. And not even really on purpose. Where is middle?

I've decided some of the same things that make homeschooling so absolutely awesome are the same things that make it really really hard. For instance, homeschool celebrates our individual decisions. The differences between us. The freedom to teach our kids the way we want. And while those are the things that make homeschooling so great, its also what makes homeschooling tricky. Its great to be different, but everyone is different. A homeschooler is not a homeschooler is not a homeschooler. So try to throw us together in a group setting and have a suitable outcome...hmmm. It can be chaos! Where as in public school things are planned out and you know what is expected (regardless of whether or not you agree with it)....things are planned out! (easy!) You know what is expected! (Easy!) (Amazing how the emphasis changes the meaning, eh?)

Homeschooling is awesome because its up to us. But its also scary as hell because its up to us.

I'm just a little caught up in that right now. That sometimes I don't know if we will ever find the right method of learning. Or the right group for what we're looking for. Cripes, sometimes I don't even know what we're looking for.

Like I said in the beginning, I don't even know what I want. Except, perhaps, happy boys. :)


Jennifer said...

Well then you got what you wanted because your boys seem to be very happy :o) I honestly think that when life gets chaotic, it makes even the easiest decisions seem like they are huge. It's just one more weight on your back. I think that's why I actually enjoy the testing, because it just makes me see that we are doing great :o)
Hope to see you soon :o)
My word is "bewaldou" hehe.

Ruralmama said...

I feel ya, hon. It's hard to find middle-ground, especially when you get pulled in so many different directions, with each direction being "best" at any given moment. Maybe you need to set just a simple set of goals that you want out of a given thing. If those goals get met then it's easier to give yourself permission to relax a bit on *how* it's getting done.
Three homeschool groups? You are ambitious. :-)

Amy said...

Ambitious, perhaps. But more likely is "grasping at straws and not sure what I'm looking for in a particular group".

Thanks for the uplifting words, you two. I shall focus on what's important (i.e., happy boys, a few simple goals,etc.)and be a hard-ass about not letting those other obviously-not-as-important annoyances take over. Thanks for the reminder.

s t a c y said...

Hi again... still reading.

We recently went through something very similar -- my boys are 5 1/2 and 2 1/2. We were getting way too busy and doing a lot of things out of the house, and a month or so ago we cut almost all of it out (per my son's wishes, too). I wrote about it here.

And then my husband and I sat down and brainstormed our family pillars -- simply those things that matter most to us so we don't feel so unmoored all the time. I just wrote about all those last week. Our first pillar is "structure brings ease" (meaning, too, that if the structure isn't bringing ease, then we need to change or lose it).

But it is hard to find the middle ground -- I laughed out loud at your comment: "But no structure? My insane little men can drive me insane when left to their own devices for more than 4 hours at a time."

I know it! But your plan to focus on their happiness and balance is a good one. One that I'd like to remember, too.