Monday, March 31, 2008

Before Homeschooling

I'm a day late on this but here's my first post for Dana's Home Education Week meme.

If there is One Big Moment in my adult life that stands over all others then it really has to be when I finally decided that I would unschool my children. And I do mean unschool. I had been thinking about homeschooling for some time but it was in the decision to radically unschool my kids that I made the first truly independent choice of my adult life. Yes, I'm counting kids and marriage in that. There is absolutely no regret about my family but, and I bet I'm not alone on this, the actions and decisions involved in getting that family weren't well-reasoned, well thought out or mature. Just wonderfully lucky.

I was at home on maternity leave (one year with Harry) when I started to think about school. Catherine was 4 and I kept looking out my kitchen window at the driveway we'd be walking down the next year to put her on the bus each day. Honestly, I can't remember what exactly made me first think of homeschooling but I do remember one of the thoughts that first had me wanting an alternative to school.

That bloody walk down the driveway twice a day was going to be a pain in the ass on cold winter days with a baby on my hip.

Of course, that wasn't the only thing. I also remembered the many struggles my mom had with school regarding her four kids. I also worried about just how we would afford things like school supplies, lunches, fees, and clothes. Most important I watched how Catherine would watch the moths that came in an open window in our bathroom at night and wonder when she'd have time for that if she was in school all the best hours of the day.

I fired up the internet and researched. This is something I simply didn't do. Research is a way of informing yourself so you can make an active choice and as I hinted at before, I was a coaster. I waited for things to happen. Not this time.

I spent six months on the AOL homeschooling forums, on email lists, reading websites and raiding my local library. In the process I learned how to really research something. How to approach people and ask them good questions. How to take a cold, hard look at my own assumptions and abilities and critically examine them. How to stand up for my choices to people close to me. How to direct my life like a grownup.

That's why homeschooling stands so tall. It marks the point where I choose a real direction in life and began to work towards it.


Jacqueline said...

Enjoyed reading this Dawn. I'm late starting but I'm hoping to do take part in the meme too.

Anonymous said...

That is a GREAT story, Dawn. Thanks for sharing and being so honest about it. I remember the moment that I 'grew up'- how weird that we don't realize we aren't being 'adult' until we realize we aren't being 'adult'. :p

Dawn said...

And how embarrassing to realize al the the time I spent not being an adult. :)

Dana said...

That is a wonderful story, Dawn! That is an interesting thought...the point at which we became an "adult." I'll have to ponder....