I had one of those conversations yesterday with a parent of another small child who made me question our decision to try homeschooling as an education option for Z.  I know that she has a different idea of what constitutes learning (workbooks and curriculum vs. by being surrounded by words and stories, scheduled classes three or four times a week vs. unstructured play), but I let her comments about just needing to find a good school get under my skin and into my gut.

Maybe it was the fact that her daughter came over with a perfectly hand-printed note for Zach that made me question whether I was doing him a disservice by keeping him out of a classroom.  Then, I remembered how he tends to wait until he knows he can do something perfectly before taking it on.  In fact, we’ve been spending lots of time just showing him by example that the process is as fun and as important as the product.

I also know that he needs to explore his passions until he exhausts them before he is able to focus on a new area of interest, and how those passions encompass a well-rounded approach to education.  Right now, we’ve been reading The Hobbit every night.  As a result, he’s been very into fantasy play featuring dwarves and their ilk, he’s been drawing the Misty Mountains and scenes from the book, and using things like enchanted rocks and crystals to count and figure out math problems.  Underneath these passing projects, he spends time in daily hardcore study of his own interests in the natural world.

Interestingly enough, after  he and I took a walk in the full moon last night, Z came home and started writing on a pad of paper without using any of the “letter writing” tablets that we bought when he first expressed an interest in writing by himself rather than his dictating stories and poems to me.  With me telling him the spelling, he wrote “Zach,” “Mom,” “Dad,” “Buster,” and “Gourami” for the first time and without looking at letters for guidance.  The coolest part was how he described how each letter looked in his brain as he determined how to write it – G was a half-circle with a tail.

We’re going to be just fine.  And I’m going to keep working feeling more secure in doing what is right for our family at this moment in time.

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