Sunday, July 14, 2013
I have some very exciting news (for us) - and no, it's not a pregnancy announcement. :-) After much thought and planning, hoping, dreaming, scheming, research, hemming and hawing....we've made a decision to homeschool Paprika.
I know this may sound crazy - and it's not something we've entered into lightly. While it may sound sudden - it's actually something I've felt called to do (led to do) for a long time. Part of the reason we moved to our area was for the amazing schools - and we gave them two years. And the two years weren't bad. We actually loved the schools Paprika attended. It's not about the schools.
I have felt for awhile now that the best parts of Paprika's days are being spent with someone else. And more than anything, I am the one who knows her, cares for her, and is able to understand her in a way that nobody else can.
This year Paprika was in a special friendship group at school which was designed to teach her "social skills" - and do you know what? At the end of the year - after being in this group for nine whole months, the social worker in charge of the very small group mispronounced Paprika's name to me - even after I corrected her multiple times! Yes, that's right - the person who was supposed to be teaching Paprika about how to be appropriate socially could not even get Paprika's (easy to pronounce) name right.
This, in itself, is obviously not the reason to homeschool. But it's just sort of emblematic of something I've known deep down for a long time. At the end of the day, I am the one who knows what is best for my child.
My whole life I have kind of done things my own way - for better or worse.
I know a lot of people thought I was crazy when I just up and moved to California on a whim - with no money, job, or friends here.
And then they thought it was crazy when I went to graduate Film School at USC and then got a job in Reality TV.
People thought I was crazy when I married Mr. M (okay, nobody really thought that was crazy - but a lot of people thought we'd never last)...
People thought it was crazy that I went to Berkeley for law school, was on Law Review, graduated with oodles of job offers...and then chose to stay home with Paprika.
And what else was crazy? Taking the Bar Exam 9 months pregnant without having taken a Bar Prep Course (and despite not taking a Prep Course, passing the CA Bar and getting a Model Answer).
I guess that long-winded sidebar was just to say that people have always thought I was a little nuts - but whenever I have listened to my inner voice, it has never led me astray. I have often wondered if I'd done this or that differently, would my life be better? If I'd taken that job right out of law school and become a partner at a big law firm, would my life be better?
I don't know - I would definitely have a lot more money (ha!) - but I don't think I (personally) could be happier than I am knowing that I've been there for every major milestone of my kids' lives. I sometimes like to point to Vivian and Annemarie's deaths as a turning point when I became more intentional in my parenting - that after their passing I learned how to "seize the day and enjoy every morsel of parenting."
But the truth is - and if you've read this blog from the beginning, you know - that being here for my family has always been my number one priority.
And while I realize that "being there" for your family looks different to different families - and often that means going out and making money in the workforce - in our family, it has meant me being home with our children. And at some point, that could change (I reserve the right to go back to work!) - but for now, the reality is that I'm here at home, and this is my life's work.
So, homeschooling is just an extension of that good work. There are ships that sail in life. And this feels like one of them. We have a choice right now to do something that feels right for our family - and I am not going to let it slip away because of fear of the unknown.
The good news is that if this homeschooling thing fails miserably, I can still put Paprika back in public school. As I found out in June, people still enroll their kids in school with just two weeks left in the school year! In public school, they have to take you back. Good to know! ;-)
We are embarking on this crazy, exciting, new journey of homeschooling together. Truthfully, we have been part-time homeschooling for a long time because of all the extra enrichment I have done with Paprika at home for years now (well, since birth...but let's not get carried away!)
She would be in First Grade this upcoming Fall, but at home she's doing everything from Algebra to reading at a high school level. Next year my plan is to work with her starting with a 3rd grade curriculum in most subjects - and then add from there.
So, basically she's skipping from Kindergarten to Third Grade. No big deal. Haha.
Seriously, though, we can go at her own pace, and build an individualized curriculum based on her specific needs.
And all that social stuff - well, of course, I've thought of that (and it was the only thing stopping me from homeschooling long ago).
The truth is that Paprika was withdrawing more at school - and she did not make one friend from school all year. Every time I visited her at school, she was sitting by herself at lunch on the ground while the other kids sat at the lunch tables. The whole being social thing at school was obviously not working for us. ;-)
But outside of school? In her extracurriculars? Paprika is so social, happy, and carefree. She makes friends everywhere she goes. So, next year I have lined up a bunch of things to do to keep her busy socially.
She'll still have Swim Team almost every day, of course. Piano lessons once/week. And hopefully we'll be adding Art Classes, Theater, and Girl Scouts to the weekly rotation.
I'm not saying it's going to be perfect. And this great experiment might fail miserably.
But, we're going to try it - without great risks there are no great rewards.
And this is only slightly a great risk - since, you know, public school is always waiting to welcome us back. ;-)
Posted by Erika at 4:35 PM