In January, I started planning curriculum. I cancelled as many of my regular commitments as much as possible (and reasonable) and set myself up with laptop in my new office: our dining room.
There was a LOT of research and reading going on. There was some photocopying and note-taking. There was some browsing through blogs, though I confess, not a lot of that. Instead I wrote emails to trusted faraway friends, and cornered the local ones, begging for pointers and advice.
By the end there was not a lot of curriculum planned. I ran out of time because that was plenty for one month, what with all the laundry and dishes and piano practice and all the usual things to do. But I got pieces done, here and there, bit by bit. And by the end I had a clearer philosophy. I had a clearer idea of what I did and did not want. And that was progress. Thinking about planning is an integral part of planning. I was convinced–having taken a critical step back about midway through the month when I realized I would not reach the original goal–that it was not wasted time.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was that the more I read and brainstormed and jotted down ideas, the more excited I became, and the more confident.
Maybe to you that is not surprising, but to me it was. I will explain why: I never thought I would want to homeschool. I have tried teaching a few times (some foreign language, some subbing), and had proclaimed it an ill fit for my temperaments and interest. Because, really, I like theory more than lesson planning. And I still do (so we’ll see how that pans out).
But as the months have gone by since January, I am no less enthusiastic. I am still idealistic, I still envision leisurely days of walking on beaches and read-alouds all cuddled up in the living room where I am Basking in the Joy of it all. And that is an ideal that is guaranteed not to live up to my day-dreams. Because I have to teach. It’s not like I won’t have a running list of goals, plans for the rest of the day, anxieties about how we ran out of some essential ingredient for the dinner menu…running through my mind at any given time.
As to the increased confidence thing I mentioned early, I would like to be clear that I did not begin as someone who believes she can actually do this. That is a sentiment that is growing, very slowly, and as I lean on the experience and wisdom of more seasoned homeschoolers, and as I rely on my husband to bring in his strengths and expertise where mine are lacking. I am lucky: I don’t ever have to feel that I have to do this alone, because I don’t.
Now if I can just remember that when I get panicky…