Friday, July 1, 2011

I'll unschool! No wait... Private School? No, um, distance ed?

Some may think I'm jumping the gun by obsessing over Butterfly's education. She is, after all, only two. But to me its a big decision and I don't want to be furiously researching at the last minute...

Sometimes I get very excited by the idea of homeschooling. There is a lot that appeals to me about it. Firstly, my children won't have to get up early and rush to get to school. I HATED getting up early for school, I was a real sleeper as a kid. Not that I want my kids sleeping in till 10am and staying up to midnight, thats not what I mean. Flexibility would just be nice should Butterfly be kept up late at a family function, or by a sick sibling etc. It also means we can make sure we all get a full, nutritious breakfast, not a peice of toast as they head out the door.

School holidays... wouldn't it be awesome to be able to go on an educational (/FUN!) holiday to Thailand outside of peak times? Go camping at a moments notice? My husband has trouble getting holidays during school holidays, and he works shiftwork. So choosing our own school days and holidays would help the kids to spend more time with him. Who cares if we do school on a Monday or a Saturday?

I read an article recently about how kids are getting frustrated in school playgrounds because the teachers hover too much. They aren't given any freedom, they aren't allowed to climb trees or pick up sticks... heck when I was at school they started banning chasing games. All in the name of keeping the kids "safe". I would much prefer my kids to cop a few scratches and bruises being KIDS.

I also don't believe in homework. Not for primary schoolers. Hometime is time with the family. Time to play.

I just want my kids to have a full and carefree childhood! Imagine spending the day at a creek catching tadpoles, fish, bugs and worms! We could bring books and identify species, or draw them, or discuss life cycles. We could go to a coffee shop and learn about counting and money.

It may sound like I've decided to homeschool. I haven't...

I am still in two minds. Some days are so mind numbing and tiring at our house, I worry that I wouldn't find the energy to actually teach the kids anything. Then again, I can see the unschoolers point of view: Butterfly can already count to 15, just from playing hide and seek. She knows all her colours from general talk around the house. And she is only two! Kids learn a lot just from participating in life. Oh, and she can identify a corroboree frog... could YOU?

The social issue bugs me sometimes. I loved seeing my friends every day! If I homeschool I plan to join a homeschooling group and get my kids involved in a sport, an instrument and an art in order to keep touch with kids their own age. And when you think about it, at school you only get around 2 or less hours of lunchtime/recess to play, in the classroom socialisation is stamped on much of the time. Didn't you hate those teachers with seating plans!

I am making my decisions based on the assumption that Butterfly will be intelligent, and therefore will be bored with mainstream schooling. I was. I was put in special programs while the other kids grappled with basic maths. On the other hand, if she ends up with a learning difficulty, I wouldn't want her getting lost in the system.

What to do, what to dooooo? Send her to a private school? Homeschool by distance ed? Unschool? I totally wish there was a part time school option!

I would love to hear what you do in regards to schooling!


  1. i only ever sent the kids to school if i had nothing better to offer... the schools never seemed to mind. In fact Sofi and shantia ran a lot of fundraising events and helped direct the cirriculum of one school. Life offers a great variety . so school was an inbetweener to things like camping, travelling, dancing, theatre, performances, healing seminars, subliminal dynamic courses, harmonic maths courses, creative arts, Music, production skills, banking (super bank that is...:)), mountain climbing, helping figure out alternate inventions, and lots more. They got a lot of experience helping a lot of people to acheive great projects. i guess it depends on your own interest and theirs, which way it will pan out..

  2. I love this and can totally relate... DD is 16 months and I think about this all the time-- I hover between homeschool or private school (weird, I know) I would love to get more feedback from other parents who homeschool and why they made the decision they did-- I'll be honest; I am not sure if I have the patience, the financial flexibilty and I do *worry* the teeeniest bit about the social aspects but I am sure these issues could possibly be put the rest with further research of HS....