Homeschooling Isn’t Always Happy-Schooling

If you’ve been reading these blog entries, then you have been learning about my families many happy experiences with homeschooling.  Most of the time, my kids have a great time.  However, I wanted to make sure I set the record straight.  Homeschooling has its ups and downs.  There are some moments when the children and the parents are equally miserable.

Case in point, two days ago my ten-year old daughter was working on her math.  She is adding fractions.  And for the most part, she’s pretty good at it.  However, the story problems sometimes bewilder her.  She is still developing her reading skills, and the combination of math and words gets a bit frustrating.

And on this particular day, she was getting REALLY frustrated.  Normally, she works on a math sheet for about 30 minutes and then she’s done.  This time around, she had been working on it for almost an hour.  Now, this is when my wife and I reveal our different teaching philosophies.  It’s kind of like good cop, bad cop.  I suggest things like, “Why don’t you relax and take a break.  Do something fun and then come back to it.”

But my wife says, “No — she can do this. She knows how.  Keep working until you’re finished.”  So, my daughter went up to her room to work on it without any distraction.  When I popped in about twenty minutes later she was still toiling away — adding nothing to her worksheet except teardrops.

Eventually (with her mother’s instruction) she figured out the correct answers.  But, man, it was a tedious experience for the kid.

Homeschooling offers so much freedom for parents and children… but if there is a downside (at least from the student’s point of view) it’s that sometimes so much one-on-one attention can overwhelm the pupil.  I remember my days in public school, how easy it was to get lost in the crowd of thirty other students.  It was sometimes nice to feel anonymous, to know that the teacher wasn’t always pushing you.

With homeschooling, the student is always with the teacher (her parents).  During study time, reading time, laundry time, and lunch time.  So, the homeschool experience isn’t 100% happiness…

(But it’s at least 98% wonderful!)