Homeschooling, for Lack of a Better Name?

Big Kid 24

We've been doing homeschool for a few months now, or maybe we haven't. I'm not actually sure if what I'm doing is Real Official Homeschooling per se. I had someone leave a comment on a post where I'd detailed some of our school activities for the week, and she was like, this is different from being a stay-at-home mom HOW?

And I was like 1) hmmm, well, I've never been a stay-at-home mom before, so I guess I'm not sure, and 2) hey, what's it like being so irritated by life all the time? Is your blood pressure real high, or what?

Really, just the word homeschooling seems to trigger dramatic reactions out of people. Either they think I make my children wear bonnets and churn their own butter, or they think I'm a braggy jerk who likes to falsely elevate Everyday Parental Nurturing with a fancy new name.

I don't much care what other people think about our maybe-homeschooling, maybe-not, but I am hopeful that we're making good use of this year. My goals have changed since we started this in September; initially I had lots of books and activities and structured things I did each day, now I'm much more apt to play things by ear. I let Riley take the lead—whatever he's super interested in, that's what we explore. Sometimes we spend the day making paper robots, sometimes we chart out the various attributes of his favorite X-Men. I don't know, I guess that's not homeschooling. Or maybe it is. Maybe it doesn't matter what the hell it's called, you know?

We decided not to start him in kindergarten this year because we didn't want him to be the very youngest kid in class. I knew he was plenty smart enough for school, but I was worried he wasn't quite mature enough. Since we've been doing our version of kindergarten, it finally occurred to me that the best thing I could do during this time is help him in those not-quite-ready areas.

Like working through the frustration that takes over when he messes up a letter, or can't immediately figure out how to draw what he wants. Or learning coping techniques for when he trips and hurts himself. Or finding a way to share a toy, or ask the questions he needs to about an unfamiliar situation to help lessen anxiety.

He's a bright and curious kid and if anything, I fret that plowing through lots of structured learning will make him bored next year. He can read, write, do basic math, tell time, everything you'd expect a kindergartener to know. We still work those things in, but I've come to believe it's less important to make sure we finish the Learn How to Identify Action Words! chapter in our books, and more useful to just go with the flow and focus on issues as they crop up. If in the course of a day screwing around with paints and looking up dinosaurs online we deal with a challenge, then talk through how to deal with it, I count that as a success on the education front.

Whatever it is that we're doing this year, I feel so lucky to have this time with him. Soon enough he'll be in a real school, where he'll be for the next ... well, who knows? Fifteen years, maybe?

I used to think how I couldn't wait for my kids to be in school. Now I wish it could always be like this: paper robots, superheros, lazy afternoons talking about anything and everything.

homeschooling, boys


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Nancy... NancyJ422

I think you are being a good parent who's currently "home schooling" your child in the areas that he needs special attention. 

People are so desperate to send their kids off to kindergarten - whether it's to eliminate the cost of daycare, or they've convinced themselves "they're ready - that they don't always see what's really best for their child.  It's what's best for the parent and working in a school with only K, 1st and 2nd graders I see the results!!  Oy! 

15 years ago my sister kept my nephew home for a year even though he turned 5 mid-September because she recognized he was on par intelligence-wise with his peers but definitely immature.  Best thing she ever did for him.  Same with you - Bravo!

Kris Gamble

Hey, I and my friends grew up overseas and we were all "home schooled" in one way or another. Don't worry about it :D besides, we all turned out fine.

PonyC... PonyChaser

It sounds to me like you're not "homeschooling", rather you're "unschooling".  As I understand the definition of the term, "unschooling" means that you're operating a child-guided learning atmosphere.  I think "homeschooling" traditionally has a more structured schedule, with a curriculum, etc.

nonmember avatar Yopi

Hi.. I'm a mother of 29 months toddler and 4 months baby boy. I have a big interest in "home schooled" my sons but honestly i don't quite sure how to start. Can you help me to begin the first step? I'm affraid that my sons can't catch up those who go to formal school.. Thanks before..

Allyl... Allylicious

As long as you teach him the basics such as reading, writing, math, science, history and English, then I suppose that you are actually homeschooling.  As a teacher, I too included play time in school.  However, they received 30 minutes on the playground a day & several 15 minute breaks while the majority of the day was focused on learning.  I would say if you are focusing a good four hours a day to learning then it is in fact schooling.

Blueb... Bluebonnet72

   Just the fact that you are asking the question reflects how focused our society has become on a single model of education.  What you are doing sounds a bit like unschooling.   If you continue to do it after your state's mandated age to start school, you might have to define it as homeschooling.  What you are doing is educating your son, and you can do that using a school model, or other approach.  

Madel... MadelynMc

Good for you! I think that's fantastic. It doesn't matter what it's called. Your focusing on building your son up in areas that a kindergarten teacher may not have the time or know-how to (only because you know your son best).

nonmember avatar Julie

What you're doing not only encourages and expands his education, it also adds new dimensions to your relationship, and that is awesome on all levels. I'm trying to do the same sort of thing with my 6 year old (who just started kindergarten this year due to his August birthday and for similar reasons to yours) to augment his school learning and give us new things to talk about and discover together. I sure would love to hear more about your efforts to help him handle frustration and build coping skills, because we could definitely use some new ideas in those area around our house.

You're an engaged mom with an interested kid. I'd say the both of you are very lucky.

Proud... ProudSingleMum

My son misses the cutoff for Kindergarten. He will turn 6 about 2 months after starting. People keep saying "Maybe you can get him in a year earlier"....why? I don't see the point in rushing it. Plus, from what I can tell, boys 'typically' do better in school when they aren't shoved in too God made the decision for me. I'll wait until he's good and ready to start :) 

Amy Elizabeth Yergen

You're doing all kinda of educational activities. Of course that's homeschooling. Listen, my mother was a SAHM, and while she found SOME activities for us--and even one or two educational ones--before I was in school my life basically consisted of playing in my room with toys by myself, playing outside by myself, playing with friends, and watching copious amounts of family oriented movies. There was VERY LITTLE learning involved--except what just occured by natural observation.

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