I've written virtually nothing on this but felt it about time, and was in a writing mood.
I've not written because it's an almost ridiculous toing-n-froing in my mind. I mean, I come to a complete definite answer...and then switch back. I may be a Libran, but I'm actually incredibly decisive.
Despite having little faith (not, no faith) in the schooling system, I believe more strongly that homeschooling is not for everyone. Not for every parent and not for every child. Despite some very dogmatic believers out there, school can be exactly what your child wants/needs - like it or not.
So, that aside. My dilemma comes not from whether it's right for my child, because I believe in homeschooling. Also, I'm totally open to taking her to school if at some point she desires it and we find a decent school. I won't sacrifice her unique needs her for my theoretical beliefs.
My dilemma centres on my needs. Unlike some homeschoolers, I believe in a whole family approach, not a child-centred one. That means that everyone ought to feel good about the choices. I've read articles and discussions online aiming to induce guilt. Not for me thanks.
However, when I say my needs, it includes her more than that might suggest. I need creativity, space to think, meaningful work (at home), and lots of silence. These are, for me, fundamental to feeling balanced, whole, sane.
I'm also not a crafty hands-on mama. I'm okay with that. My gifts to my child are word related, books, reading, ideas, computer use, languages, discussion. Also compassion and related social awareness. I also provide paints and pencils and lots of paper. I just don't sit there making stuff out of toilet-paper rolls.
And despite being so great at the word stuff, her incessant talking can drive me to distraction. She is a clingy child and until the Husband comes home, has dinner, showers, a cup of coffee and a quick breath after work, and then plays with her and I leave the room, I rarely have 5 straight minutes of silence.
So having a child at home is exactly antagonistic to my needs. It's a combination of that and being rubbish at many activities (or rubbish at wanting to do them). And that we live a little isolated.
I am determined to have her at home until school age (6ish). So that has meant no nursery, preschool, etc. But after that? So many fun things, so much communicating, different view points, that she can engage in.
I do not for one minute believe that school can give her more than I can give her. But I can see how it can provide certain things I'm unwilling to give. I can make toilet-roll puppets, but I'd rather stick a hot fork in my eye.
I can see that for natural mamas, for very hands-on mamas, it's no big deal.
When I'm of the mind that we can do this, I see it's possible if we had clubs, communities, outside activities to attend. Not really possible here (in Montenegro), but possible if we returned to England. But that means an enormous shift of lifestyle. Can we retain the lifestyle we have worked for (out of the rat-race) and live in England? Or do we find a great school, Montessori or something? But that costs too.
And community. Here, she is not only a foreigner, an expat kid, but also the only one of her expat friends who doesn't attend pre-school/school. It won't be long before she becomes aware of that. She is a lone outsider in a tiny outsider community.
Then just a couple of days ago, when she talked like a champion talker, I said to the Mr - school would stifle her. They spend half the time telling kids to be quiet. She has an innate emotional need to talk things out. She might drive me batty, but I never ask her to be quiet (or at least not 99% of the time).
I have also thought that it would be easier as she gets older. After all, an older child can entertain themselves so much more right? I could just be the provider of guidance of which she takes up and does her thing her way. But then I know of at least one mama who found a 7-yr-old at home like returning to toddler days - everything had gone back to bite-sized portions of time.
On days I hear her read and tell stories and do her puzzles while I write or read or crochet, I feel glowing and love that I'll be giving her the gift of homeschooling.
On days she will not stop to breathe for talking, when she clings and clings and refuses to play alone, when I look back and see she did very little other than watch DVDs and read a few books, and I am desperate for a nap for the sake of my health and some silence for the sake of my sanity, and at the end of the day I'm in tears for the lack of both.... I think, no way homeschooling.
You see? Round and round. If nothing else, I wanted to write this out. To have here to read back one day. And of course I've simplified it all for the sake of brevity.
Talk to me mamas.