Plomin Family Bragablog

April 17, 2009

Home-Schooling

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcmom @ 5:53 pm
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It seems from the 2,873,401 books I’ve read about parenting, creating great kids is 50% good parenting, 50% good schools, and 2% luck.  I think we’re okay on the parenting, but I still worry about schools (and I’ve got 3 years til Karol even starts!).  That’s where kids get bullied, learn about sex (the wrong way), and spend 7 hours a day with a teacher whose  attention is split at least 20 ways.

When I was working on Tom Dermody’s campaign in Northern Indiana (2006), I met the most amazing woman.  She was a farmer’s wife who home-schooled her two children.  I know that description probably conjures up this image:

American Gothic

But this family was nothing like it.

A five minute conversation with her made it evident that this was an intelligent, grounded, and practical woman, and her children seemed to share those same qualities (Interesting note: attending the town-hall meeting we hosted was a part of their curriculum).  I have no doubt that if she’d chosen a different path she could have been CEO of a major company by now, and I got the inkling that’s the sort of success she hopes her children achieve.

Ever since meeting this lady and her great – not socially inept – kids, I’ve seriously considered home-schooling as an option for my family.  

Having spent a few months as ‘stay-at-home-mom’ during maternity leave, however, I really don’t know how I would do it.  It seems like I’m actually able to accomplish more with my kids, spend more quality time with them, when I’m working.  On top of that, I see the obvious benefits they are getting from their current care situation – the perfect amount/level of socialization, exposure to another parenting style, learning that caters to and stretches their abilities, and a ‘home away from home’ that they are completely comfortable in.  

Matt and I have pretty much decided that a Catholic Montessori school is the right fit for our kids’ formal education, if we are lucky enough to find one (if we re-locate to Chicago, for example, it shouldn’t be hard).  But if we can’t, the idea of home-schooling always creeps up in the back of my mind.  

Here’s the thing: I don’t doubt that I would do a decent job at it, but I would want to do an awesome job at it.  If I’m with them 24/7 I know I won’t be able to do that and I’ll beat myself up over it.

The other thing is, how would I go about doing it?  What would the structure be?  What if I have kids at varied stages of learning?  When do I quit working to focus on educating full-time?  Do I quit completely, or work part-time?  How will my kids make friends?  

So, friends and family, what do you think?  Any experience in this arena?  Any new ideas I may not have thought of?  Please comment if so!

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