It's that time of year again, where all the Homeschooling Moms get out their curricula and hop about Google trying to figure out the perfect set of information to give their kiddos.
Actually, I did this a while ago. But I've been finishing things up today. I was thinking about this - I'm a newcomer to the homeschooling game, we just started last year. I trotted over to one of the really awesome super-intensive homeschooling sites, and you know - I could totally give myself an inferiority complex.
I'm not gonna.
No, my kids aren't reading all of that... and they haven't discovered the cure for cancer. Oh well. They're smart kids. I had to de-public school the older one last year, I expect I'll be doing that with the younger one this year. Not a lot of fun, except when you get to the end of the year and see what an incredible difference the year makes.
Sometimes people expect that smart kids will just magically pick their own destinies. That seems to be a big pull right now in the homeschooling realm, and that's what my (former) public school expected the GATE kids to do, after they'd done their regular schooling. At the same time that I am open to my kids finding out what they're interested in and throwing the doors open wide to whatever that subject is - guess what? In the meantime, they need to learn.
And they're going to learn what I want them to learn. I homeschool through a charter, which keeps me legit with the state of California. They give me all the curricula that I want, and I can substitute in whatever I want to change. Best of both worlds, IMO. I don't have to worry about getting the necessary stuff in their heads, and I can supplement and change around to suit.
Seventh grade is coming up for my son, and in seventh grade I remember being given the first taste of language. I've decided to have him learn Latin. There are hundreds of languages to choose from... why Latin? Well, because I enjoyed my one semester of Latin and would like to learn Latin, plus it's the source language for all the Romance languages. And medicine. And theology. And if you start reading anything written earlier than 1925, you'll want to know Latin for the quotes. Does my son want to learn Latin? He's good with it. *I* am excited. And you know? That's okay. I'm giving him something of value - a language. I could choose a different language, and that would be a different gift. Maybe better, maybe worse. But different. Maybe he'll turn out to be a polyglot and learn languages like water... who knows? We start here.
At the moment I choose Latin for his first language, I'm taking a crossroads for him... choosing some end for him. Is that okay? Who gives me the right? Maybe he'd be better off with Russian! It's the same thing for every book I choose for his curricula, every bit of music or art or opportunity... something else is left in the cold. Fill up his schedule? I choose that he doesn't have contemplative time at home. Stay at home? I choose to not do something that he *could* be doing, could be learning.
For my daughter's "big choice" this year - I'm choosing to teach her to sing rather than get a musical instrument. She's got a great voice, and I don't know that her little roll-up piano qualifies as something to bother learning on. We might see about having some online piano lessons... but voice first.
Being a mom is already heavy with the guilt. Always guilt. Being a homeschooling mom, you have more possibilities to screw it all up... But you do what you can and you go forward.
If my kids - either one of them - popped up and said, "I really must must must learn about donkeys" I would help them learn all they could. But they haven't done that yet. When they ask, I help them. Until the day when they pick their direction in life, it's my job to give them the best fuel to get them as far along the path as I can.
I can't afford to tie myself down with guilt.