Saturday, March 29, 2008

Full On, Five-Alarm, Red Alert Homeschooling: The Cycle Continues


I am in full on, five-alarm, red alert, hide your copy of The Well-Trained Mind homeschooling mode.  

I should probably explain.  You see, I live a cyclical life, which means I flit from interest to interest in a more or less orderly fashion.  For example, an interest in philosophy might yield to theology, which might yield to music, which might yield to literature, which might yield to philosophy, and so on.  Sometimes I skip one interest or another, but mostly the cycle continues to click, whir, and rattle its way through my head.

Roughly five years ago the topic of homeschooling got added to the cycle.  This was coincident with the birth of my first son, Max.  You see, I was educated/marred in the public school system so I knew that I did not want the ravening bureaucrats of American public education working their 'magic'--the educational equivalent of avada kedavra--on my children.  And since I'm bad with numbers, and therefore bad with money, I knew I'd always be poor, so private school was also out of the question.  That left homeschooling, and that meant I had some serious research to do.

I don't know if you realize this, but combining the vigilance of a first-time father with the zeal of an anti-bureaucratic crank yields a near nuclear amount of energy.  I dove into my homeschooling research headfirst, and in roughly two minutes I had discovered the aforementioned book The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer.  After reading about classical education for a bit longer I decided that it was definitely the way to go.

By this time all you homeschooling moms out there have probably noticed the lack of reference to my wife thus far.  There's a reason for that:  I didn't really ask her opinion.  Don't misunderstand, we had agreed to homeschool before we actually had children, but the classical education thing was my baby. The majority of the work was going to fall on her shoulders, but I couldn't help myself.  As Woody Allen said in a somewhat different context, "The heart wants what it wants."

So the plan was set.  Mary Ann and I agreed that we would homeschool using the classical method.  I bought a few books and then came to the realization that my one year old probably wasn't going to be entering kindergarten in the next few weeks.  A bit after that my second son, Leo, was born, so my focus shifted again (remember, 'I live a cyclical life').

Jump back to the present.  Max is now five and in kindergarten.  We've done educational things with him in the intervening years, but now I have that burning desire to get his schooling started in earnest.  Right now we're doing reading (phonics), math, and writing, but when first grade rolls around this fall we will have to add history, science, art, and of course, goat husbandry.  I'm still trying to convince Mary Ann on that last one.

Goat jokes aside, though, I am dying to get my hands on some curricula.  I WANT BOOKS.  I want to buy every book that TWTM gals recommend for first grade study.  I'm desperately trying not to, but I've already made an amazon.com wishlist for Max's education.  I don't know how much longer I can hold out.

Not only are my book buying habits hurtling us toward financial ruin, I've also taken to 'hovering' while Mary Ann and Max do school.  This puts my patient wife in a quandary.  I think she likes having me around, and doesn't mind me helping out, but she's got to be wondering if my hovering is a signal of disapproval.  It's like she's a teacher on probation and I'm the superintendent of schools sitting in on her class.  Of course I don't disapprove.  I trust that she is doing a wonderful job with Max's education.  I'm just impatient.  

I know I should relax and wait on the Lord.  I don't need to get bent out of shape.  First grade is going to be OK.  It's just that, you know, I live a cyclical life.  And for better or for worse, I'm in full on, five-alarm, red alert homeschooling mode.

1 comment:

samuel said...

Geez we are a lot alike.