Friday, June 26, 2009

From the heart.......

I am going through something right now and I really don't know what to do. I just have to let it rip, okay?

My daughter goes to a foreign language immersion preschool. It is a fairly new school and we've been with the school ever since it was still in the owner's home. Jade has absolutely blossomed in terms of her language acquisition. She can communicate well in both Japanese and French....even outside of school. She has gone up and started a conversation with people in Ikea who were speaking Japanese. So, I am very pleased with her language development.

Anywhoo, in my heart, I've always felt like a homeschooler. I have a well-defined educational philosophy which was heavily influenced by the book Dumbing Us Down. I believe in using the entire environment as the classroom. I reject out of hand the top-down approach to education where the teacher is the posessor of information and it is the job of the students to receive the knowledge. I believe in a child-led education environment, where children's natural curiosity is nurtured by a facilitator. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. So basically, the only way to give my children the kind of education I want them to have, the kind of education that is true to my philosphy, is to homeschool them. You are probably saying to yourself, 'well homeschool them, then!' aren't you? Not so fast.

I also highly value multilingualism and I can't give that to my kids if I homeschool them, since I am monolingual. Additionally, I have some other things I want to do with my life, in case you haven't noticed my 'About' section lately. May sound selfish, but I'm just being honest. Further, my situation is complicated by a lack of resources and by resources I mean money. I think I could easily homeschool if I could afford to hire a part time nanny (so I would have some time to work on my other interests), a regular housekeeper (I'm not good at cleaning now, forget about it if I'm homeschooling and pursuing my interests), memberships to every museum and cultural institute in my city (for field trips. remember, the entire world is the classroom) and regular travel. Don't forget money for the extracurriculars and of course, foreign language tutor. I'm so not exaggerating. If I were to homeschool, I would really want all of the above. Does that sound crazy?

To further complicate matters, I am not completely comfortable with Jade's school. It was fine when she was young, but now I am starting to be more critical of their curriculum and teaching methods. I know that my philosophy is almost impossible outside of a home environment, but still....I'm just not sure if the director knows what she is doing. I mean, she had a great idea and the resources to pull it off, but she is kinda making it up as she goes along.

What am I going to do? I feel so tormented over this issue. Am I denying my kids a valuable education over minute issues? Am I wanting to homeschool because I am a control freak? Do I need a reality check?
Am I just sending my kids to school so that I can selfishly pursue my interests? Am I selling my kids and myself out by settling for less than the best education (best being homeschooling)?

School starts August 10. I have got to make a decision and I am so lost.
I welcome your opinions and suggestions.


  1. Wow, first of all, Big ((HUGS)) and I support and salute you for wanting what is best for your Jewels. I think you have good instincts and you should trust them. You don't strike me as someone who is bothered by minute stuff and "making it up as she goes along" is not in your daughter's best interest. I hope you can check out other schooling resources/options that are a better fit. Best Wishes, please keep us posted and holler if you need anything.

  2. I think it's possible to do both - at least in some ways. You can send them to school and still supplement on the weekends with museum visits and reading, etc.

    I'm sorry I'm not more help, but I hope you find a solution that you like. I plan to use public school, but send a lot of time doing "educational" type stuff outside of school.

    (And I don't think it's selfish to want your own life. I don't have what it takes to be a sane homeschool mom.)

  3. Ok, breathe....The education of our children is one of the most difficult decisions we as parents must make, especially when it comes to having the means or not. However, I have heard of some homeschooling cooperatives, and maybe you've already looked into this. But there is also the option of seeking out other moms who are looking specifically for the things you are, i.e. a language tutor, and you all sharing the cost of that service. I know that goes back to means (or lack thereof), but I'm sure you can find a way to make it work for you. Message me offline, my head is getting light.

  4. I'm not into homeschooling--not for my children. But, then again, I live in an area with amazing public schools, charter schools and even a few private schools. My children are offered foreign language starting in Kindergarten; take trips to the theater, zoo, and many museums; and I am allowed to volunteer in the classroom as much as I would like. I am confident in their education and know that if I have concerns I can address their teachers or principal at anytime--that's just how the school works here. So, mother to mother, I recommend you just get more involved with the school. Make the recommendations you'd like. Then you can have a handle on your child's education while participating in your outside interests.

  5. I'm with K... I think the social aspect of being in school is so important, but you can definitely do a TON of extracurricular stuff with them to make sure they are exposed to everything YOU want them to see!

  6. Just remember our education isn't just about learning languages and classroom things and museums and's about learning emotionally, socially, and physically. Exposing them to very different personalities and opinions and ways of life on a day to day basis is at least HALF of it.

    The most important part, how I see it, is what they come home to. And it sounds like they come home to some good stuff!

  7. Have you thought about Montessori? In my opinion, it's the closest you can get to homeschooling without homeschooling. :)