Homeschool Freakout Day

Recently, on a mailing list I read, a mom posted about how she was freaking out about homeschooling. It’s the same feelings every homeschooler has, and heck, probably most parents have: that their kids aren’t learning what they should, that they are unhappy, that the kids will be left behind, and so forth. Basically, guilt that the way they are parenting is just a big mistake. So we reassured her that, of course you feel that way. Most people do. It’s a big undertaking, taking care of a person and deciding what to do with years and years of that little person’s life. And you really get very little training, and only a few tries to get it right. But, you know, no pressure.

That leads to the current atmosphere today of kids being over tested or parents over-Pinteresting out of guilt, and everyone feeling sort of miserable. I get weird and irritable near portfolio review time, wondering if I have enough “stuff” and if the person reviewing us is going to think it’s not advanced enough for my kids.

It’s hard not to constantly over-analyze how your kids are doing and if you’re doing enough, if they are doing enough, if you should be pushing them harder, or just step back and see what they do on their own. So, I really enjoyed a post over at Bravewriter this week about slowing down and just enjoying things. My favorite part was this:

It’s the long straggly gaggle of children, strollers, and backpacks making their way across a crowded, dangerous parking lot to a museum. Inside, an hour spent looking at three paintings is plenty. It leads to side-tracked conversations about “unrelated” subjects and what is retained is hidden from view for years (maybe a decade).

It really struck a chord with me because I remember when I was in Russia, I saw a really great exhibit of French Impressionist paintings. And just looking at each painting, I knew who painted it — Monet, Degas, Pissarro, Renoir, and so forth. Now, this is odd because I never took one art class. Ever. Well, okay, we made construction paper things and clay pots in the fourth grade, but that was my last art class. I didn’t study art at school, I never had an art history class. But when I was little, maybe 5-7 or so, I had some art books in my room and at night when I couldn’t get to sleep, I’d look at the pictures and read the caption to see who painted it and what the title was. I don’t think I read any more of it than that. And suddenly, over a decade later, I apparently had committed that information to my long-term memory banks and it came in useful half a world away!

But if I had taken a test about French Impressionists as a kid, I’m sure I would have failed. I wouldn’t’ have anything to show in a portfolio review. But still, the information was there, inside of me, just waiting for a chance to come out and be useful.

So I will continue to show my kids weird science YouTube videos, talk about random stuff with them, and happily meander wherever life takes us. You never know what they might retain for an absurdly long time and use again!

What sorts of strange things have you ever remembered years or decades later that suddenly came in handy?

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