I think that, sometimes, I am so bent on the school-part of school that I forget the fun part. It’s personality, I think. I adore learning. I adore learning about interesting, in-danger-of-being-forgotten things. I adore reading good books, and having good conversation about them. I love science experiments, and reading about — and doing — exploration. I love hikes where we are immersed in discovery and surrounded by beauty. I love that my stepdad, the mostly-retired music teacher, comes weekly to teach my boys about beats and notes and old folk songs.
In addition to the above loves, I also tend to be a list-completer. If something’s on the list, be it chores or school assignments, and it doesn’t get done, I get a tightness in my chest, and feel rather grumpy.
Conflicting with that, I have a creative side. BUT, it’s usually not enough creativity to override my sense of Needing to be Responsible, so you’re more likely to find me washing the cushions of the dining room chairs instead of sitting down for a good, gooey craft.
I also tend to do Real School stuff, right up until the last day before a break… and I tend not to study/explore things based on a seasonal or holiday nature. KWIM? We’re doing that math and English right up until the last day before Christmas break. I think I feel the pressure of the expectations of others, as to what school is supposed to be, that same sort of expectation that gives me a sick feeling when I get The Disapproving Eye from others when I take my kids out for some event or even just for errands during the midst of a “normal” school day. “Oh, your kids don’t have school today?” is usually the kindest question we receive in situations like that.
So, I tend to overcompensate, based on my personality and tendencies, and to keep ourselves free from the possibility of reproachfulness that homeschooling-skeptics might want to dish out. We school, man! My kids are learning. So there! No fluffy, fun seasonal projects, no sirree! We’re doing the Three Rs, plus history and Bible and music! That’s it, that’s all!
I’m trying, though, to be more flexible and fun in our schooling, and to how others might judge our family. (Anyways, I remember doing things like making Christmas ornaments and the like each year of school! “Real” schools do projects.) I have decided — or at least, I think I’ve decided — to give my tendencies a rest this year. I think that next week, we are going to make an allergen-free gingerbread house and enter it into our city’s yearly competition. It’s a pretty low-key competition, and we’re not going to be going for the big win or anything; I just want to be involved.
Also, I think we’re going to make Christmas cards next week, too…
My “need” to do things “right” often conflicts with the true need of involving my kids in things where they will likely not do a perfect job — like chores and gingerbread houses and Christmas cards. So, it’s my goal to plan and facilitate and teach… but also let them have freedom and fun and not make it a job.
We’ll see if I can do that right.