We’ve had a lot going on since school started! We decided to start homeschooling with our oldest, to give him more freedom and a better environment to learn through adventure and doing. His grades were excellent, all A’s and one 89 this last 9 weeks, but only getting to have 20 minutes for recess (which was sometimes not even outside if it was a little wet or cold), 25 for lunch, and sitting there for hours and hours just wasn’t working, he was starting to strongly dislike school – even though he was good at it!
I spent some time looking online to find if there were other boy moms who had solved this issue of their boys needing more time to play and learn through movement (and less teacher criticism), and found this woman’s amazing blog Building Boys!
Having 3 boys herself, Jennifer Fink intimately understands that being in the typical school environment, with all-female staff who sometimes don’t understand themselves how hard it is for boys and label them “problem children,” can break a boy’s spirit and make him not even want to try at academics in the later years.
“Perhaps needless to say, spending seven hours in a day an environment that squelches his natural instincts and disrespects his interests has not exactly engendered a love of education in my lad.
Two years ago, his re-entry after winter break was so tough for him – and so heart-breaking for me – that I wrote a Washington Post essay worrying about the effects of school on his spirit. I wrote:
Re-entry after winter break has not been easy for him. The rules and restrictions of school – Sit Still. Be Quiet. Do What You Are Told, Nothing More, Nothing Less. – have been grating on him, and it shows. His teacher recently emailed me; she’d noticed a change in his behavior (more belligerent, less likely to cooperate) and wanted to know if there was anything going on at home.
My guess, I said, was that he was upset about having to be back in school after break. I was right.
The lack of movement and rigid restrictions associated with modern schooling are killing my son’s soul. (Read More Here)
On that note, switching to homeschooling has been AMAZING. It’s like a night and day difference, too, with his attitude and emotions at night (he was starting to cry a lot, not wanting to go back the next day – just heartbreaking for us as parents not knowing what to do)!
But now his classes only last until lunch! He gets to do a woodworking class that’s part of the curriculum I chose in which his OWN DAD is his teacher (he’s so stoked)! He gets to actually learn an instrument in music class, instead of having to stand there for 45 minutes listening to a lecture and singing what he called “baby songs” (they really were nursery rhymes). We even went on our first field trip this week as a family to the planetarium since we were studying about the earth, sun, and moon in our sciences classes this week!
And the best part??? Absolutely NO HOMEWORK!!!!! No more having to do an hour of homework after he’s already been in school for 7 hours. That hour, having to help him and sometimes re-teach him what they learned during the day so he could do it, was sooooo hard for our family. The baby would often be screaming and wanting to be picked up or play with her oldest bubba, and our 2nd son would also be trying to play and distract him. They love him so much, and just wanted to play with him a little before dinner. Now, they get to play with him so much more, and it’s beautiful to see the creative games they’re coming up with that incorporates all of them together.
It’s also solved our problems with my husband’s schedule in that he was only getting to see our oldest for 1 hour in the mornings (he works afternoons through evenings and comes home after their bedtimes). NOW our son gets to see him for 6-7 hours a day, and have him as a teacher! The flexible and relaxed feel of teaching my own son is just incredible, how different from feeling pressured and anxious in having to force 20+ students to understand math concepts and move all at the same pace – I’m not sure how teachers handle that.
If anyone reading this has experience with homeschooling, please let me know! I’m currently reading a couple of good books that are teaching me how to make it the best experience I’m able to, but I’d LOVE to hear from other families how it’s been (or even not) worked for them. The good and the bad issues, what to expect in the future, etc.
Thank you for reading!