As parents, we are constantly bombarded with what’s “right” and “wrong” when raising our children and it begins from the time they utter their first cry. Breast/bottle, co-sleeping/crib, daycare/private care, cry it out/soothe them…..and that’s just for the first three months! I swear, if I have to listen to one more person try to tell another parent how to raise their kids, I may throw up on their shoes.
That said, it does disgust me, but what I am doing instead if far more adult. I’m simply living my life the way my husband and I have chosen to live. It’s our life…and no one else is going to tell us how to do it. So, here’s a glimpse into how we do our thing. Maybe this will help someone out there who is questioning whether or not they’re doing it right. I’m here to tell you: there is no right or wrong way to raise and educate your child.
My husband generally awakens around 9am. If my daughter and I don’t awaken at that time, we are awake by 10am.
We see Kevin off to work and this always involves raising the blinds so our daughter can see him off. This means blowing kisses to him from the time he walks out the door until he is no longer seen in the distance. I swear, it’s the sweetest thing. She’s crazy for her daddy.
After that, we generally curl up in bed for a bit of reading while I have a cup of coffee, then we have breakfast. Sometimes this is reversed, depending on how hungry we feel upon waking.
After breakfast, Kat usually does math to “get it out of the way.” I find this notion funny, because she’s only six, but that’s how she views it. That’s not to say she doesn’t enjoy it. She actually does, but there are other things she prefers to do and so she likes to quickly get math finished up and out of the way.
After that, she usually wants to play games, Minecraft, where she’s building elaborate building and worlds, and caring for animals. It’s quite cool. Or she plays Roblox, where recently we’ve been working together to build a theme park. This includes her checking on her patrons to decide what they need, figuring out what rides to build next based on available space, funds, and potential income. She also loves to play Fortnight with her brother when he’s online and it’s a great way to connect with him since he’s moved to his own home. She usually plays for an hour or two.
We usually eat lunch around 2-3.
Then, she has free play, or we read more, usually from a magazine, or from a book she picks. This is also where I encourage her to read to me. I love when she reads to me and I tell her so. I think it makes her happy when she reads to me, because she knows how it feels to be read to.
We usually eat dinner around 6-7.
Then, we do projects and this can range from cardboard box houses for LOL dolls, to building solar powered robots, to making Barbie clothes, bird feeders, doing science experiments, growing plants from seed, playing with and learning about magnets, learning about different biomes, like the desert and ocean, or learning about and doing experiments for the water cycle, making rainbows in a test tube, trying (and failing) to grow mold on processed white bread (do you realize how scary it is that the mold never grew on that bread after a month?), or whatever she comes up with. Project time has often run into the late evening and we’ve often been found working when Kevin gets home.
I’m hard pressed to call this a schedule, because it really does change on a daily basis, but this is the basic idea of what we do with our days. Some days though, we start on projects and work on those all day long. Other days, we read and do math and have a free day. Some days, we go out and simply have fun outside the house. Sometimes we travel as a family and explore the country, like we did last month when we decided to drive home from Las Vegas.
The thing is, what I love about homeschooling is we can make it what we want. I love that our lives are being designed by us, for us and what is best for our family. I don’t need the government involved in our lives more than is absolutely required by law. I don’t need my day dictated by a state school schedule, which would make my daughter have to be in bed so early that she’d miss time with her dad in the evenings, to get up at the crack of dawn to leave us for the day to be trained to sit down, listen, and do as she’s told.
Many will say, but in the “real world,” she’ll need to learn to get up early.
Um…we are living in the real world and my husband, who makes a great income, isn’t getting up and trudging to work at the ass-crack of dawn. He has a career many in the mainstream thought would never amount to anything. Luckily he had a very supportive mother who encouraged him and he is doing extremely well.
Many will say, but in the “real world,” she’ll need to learn other subjects besides reading and math.
First: The idea of “subjects” is a purely academic notion, meaning it was created by schools, for schools, to further compartmentalize information in order to control and assess. That’s it. That’s all. In the real world, subjects do not exist. Life is life…when we do things, we don’t think: which subject do I need to know? We just do it and we figure out what resources and information we need. If we don’t know how to do something, we find someone or a resource to help us and we go from there. This is what I am encouraging in my daughter. As long as she can read and compute and think critically, and solve problems and overcome challenges, she is well prepared for the “real world.” Perhaps more so than a lot of other children who are being trained in public schools, where they are required to ask for permission to use the bathroom until the age of eighteen.
Many will say, but in the “real world,” she’ll need a diploma….and what if she wants to go to college?
I don’t have a high school diploma. I was so incredibly bored in high school that I finally just walked out and didn’t return until I went to take the General Education exam. On that test, I scored the fifth highest score in the state. I am not bragging. I’m just trying to make a point. After that, I became a single mom to two amazing sons and worked in a shitty factory for a while until I decided I wanted more. I went to a community college and graduated with a scholarship to attend the University of Kentucky, where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (grades 5-9). While I ended up certified in English and Communications and Social Studies, I was very close to also being eligible to get my certification in Math and Science. So….tell me again about that high school diploma.
Was the path I took the best one? I don’t know. It was for me. Many of my friends who went to college did basically the same thing, whether they went to college first or had kids first. We basically ended up with the same credentials and a similar life. Others of my friends went to college straight out of high school and flunked out and still work in shitty factories and look forward to their one vacation each year.
What’s right for one is not necessarily right or even necessary for another. If my daughter does go to college, she’s already learning how to manage her own time at the young age of six, which is more than I can say about most eighteen year olds who leave high school. As for getting the credentials to get in…I’m not worried about that. She’s extremely bright and knows she can work toward anything she wants to do and I and her father will support and encourage her the whole way.
Public school is very necessary for so many children and families. My sons attended public school and while if I had it to do over again, I’d have chosen to try to homeschool, I am eternally grateful to the teachers who taught them. I don’t know how I’d have done it as a single working mom, but I know other women who are single, working, and still homeschooling. I appreciate public school, but it’s not the only way to be successful.
The beauty of homeschool is creating a life you want for your family. I have a degree and I have skills. If I wanted to and if it was best for our family, I could get a job. I could find a job I like, even. However, for my family, that would not be a good thing. If I had a job, I’d forfeit the freedom we have to travel when we want and to spend time together as we want, because I’d be dictated by someone else’s schedule and so would our daughter. At night, she’d be unable to see her dad, because she’d have to go to bed before he got home, in order to get up early. Our travel would be limited to school breaks, if our adult schedules allowed. We’d end up living for that one vacation each year.
To me, this doesn’t sound like living.
For me, I’d rather have the freedom. I’d rather provide my daughter with experiences and memories and as much time with us as we possibly can, while she’s a child. I’d rather keep my car that’s paid off and live more modestly, than to have what others call “success.” I’d rather go somewhere new than buy a big, fancy home, or a new car.
Yea, I think I’ll keep our unconventional homeschool “schedule,” and our freedom, thank you very much.