On this auspicious date of 9-09-09, we've had our second day of homeschooling this year. So many people over the years have asked, "How do you do it?" I understand their wonder--it can be a tough life to choose. Like, today...let's see what I've done. I played on the computer. Took a leisurely shower. Read a teddy bear book. Checked some of the girls' work. Worked on the "elephump." Played on the computer some more. Suggested that our eldest go outside to clear her mind--she had a glazed over look after reading "Origin of Species." Had lunch on the patio. Received good news from a friend I've been concerned about and talked with her for 30 minutes. Took a nap (have to for fibromyalgia's sake). Spelled two words for a questioning child. Worked a bit more on the "elephump." Had a chai latte on the patio. And now I'm playing on the computer again. You see this homeschool stuff can be really difficult sometimes!
Seriously, though, I understand that it's not for everyone. I'm not always relaxed about this whole thing. I regularly freak out about the full responsibility of it all--generally once around the time school starts and then again in the February-March time frame. It's just that I don't have much to do regarding hands-on teaching with the girls anymore now that they are in 6th and 10th grade, but when they were younger and learning to read homeschooling was a bit intense.
I've always felt that my job was to help the girls "learn how to learn." Now that they have learned most of the basics, I'm mostly there for discussions (which are quite fun), questions, and checking work. They basically do all of the work on their own. They know what has to get done on each day (I do work out this schedule for them) and they are responsible for keeping track of their work, when to work on each thing, and when to take a break.
The tough part now, and this can take a considerable amount of time, is doing paperwork for the state and figuring out what books they are going to read each year for history, science, literature, biographies, and art (they like their math curriculum so it hasn't changed for quite some time). I do the background work and then discuss it with them to see what they think. They have quite a lot of say in what they do--I suppose that is one reason that they don't complain too much about their work. Of course, they do complain about some of the books, but if they have given it a decent try and their reasons for disliking it are valid, then we drop the book and find something else.
So, I'm not really a teacher anymore. They are the learners and I'm the researcher, buyer, scheduler, book-keeper, checker, and sounding-board. And, of course, just mom.