I blame the Pioneer Woman. If she wasn't so darn cool and funny and hip I never would have entertained the thought of homeschooling my son.
From the moment I gave birth to a boy in late June of 2006, I knew I was going to wait to send him to kindergarten after he turned six years of age. Here in Louisiana he would have been able to go as a 5 year old but we knew that would have meant that he would probably be one of the youngest in his class. My husband was a military brat who happened to be in Hong Kong when it came time for school and in their British school system he was eligible for kindergarten as a 4 year old. My mother-in-law was a harried military wife so you can bet your bottom dollar that she sent my little Georgia Boy to school just as soon as she could. Although my husband never had a problem academically, he has always said that he hated being the youngest in his class. It meant that he was usually the smallest for his age - something that is NOT cool as a boy - and he was always the last to reach puberty, earn a driver's license, kiss a girl. Well, the kissing thing probably had nothing to do with his age but I digress. Based on my husband's experience and my mother's advice (she's a school teacher so I trust her advice) I always knew we would wait to put him on that shiny yellow school bus two months after his sixth birthday party.
If you calculated correctly, you figured out that he will be five this summer which means that this coming year was going to be the year of uncertainty; the extra year between Montessori Pre-K and real kindergarten. I was planning on sending him to Montessori for an extra year to do their kindergarten program before I sent him to public school. (You didn't think I was going to say private school did you? I'm One Cheap Mama, remember? Just kidding. I would never skimp on my kids' education; we just happen to have really good public schools where I live.) I'm always getting off track. Where was I? Oh yes, the part where the Pioneer Woman blows my plans to shreds.
I, like Ms. PW, had an idea of homeschoolers in my mind and, let's just say, it wasn't pretty. The word "homeschooler" conjured up images of long skirts, no makeup, enough offspring to fill a passenger van and a morning that began with chores in the barn. I also thought that you'd be able to spot the homeschooled children a mile away because they would be the ones who were pale from lack of sunlight (all that time holed up in their houses) and they would duck and run anytime someone tried to talk to them due to their intense lack of social skills. My husband reminded me of all of these perceptions when I dropped the bomb on him one afternoon while he was working in his home office. "I think I want to homeschool the kids." Poor Georgia Boy didn't see that one coming.
After realizing that I was not playing a joke on him he politely humored me as I explained to him my reasons why, my research findings and my newfound opinions of homeschooling. I'm not sure what was going through his mind but I'm sure he thought I'd lost it. That somehow a year of being a stay-at-home mom had completely fried my brain and left me on the verge of insanity. Technically that's true but that's not what led me to consider homeschooling.
We agreed to let him think about it (his usual stalling technique for when I've blown his mind with one of my ideas) and to pray about it as well. I prayed. He forgot about it. And we discussed it a week later. But this time I was even more prepared and had talked to other cool moms in my area who were going to be embarking on homeschooling their 5 and 6 year olds as well. He saw that I had that look in my eye and so he decided to meet me in the middle. Because we had this "free" year coming up he agreed to let me do my crazy homeschooling plan for one year.
This is where we are now. We've agreed to try this homeschooling thing for one year and evaluate next summer. If it's a success, as I suspect it will be, we will be embarking on the educational equivalent of the road less traveled. If it's a failure then we'll be buying a Star Wars backpack and putting my little Superman on that big yellow bus where he will be the cutest 6 year old that school has ever seen.
I have no idea where this road will lead but I'm excited, nervous, terrified and optimistic. I just need to find out where I can buy some long denim skirts...
P.S. Please don't tell my mom. She doesn't know yet.