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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Homeschooling ParentS

It seems that 90% of the time, homeschooling is a moms-only activity. Oh, Dad might take the kids on an expedition, kick the ball around and call it PE, or work with a child on an evening activity. But by and large, day by day, it's all about mom.

In our case, it may not be 50-50 proposition, but it's closer to 40-60 than most.

It's true that I'm in charge of developing and putting together most of the curriculum materials and overall concepts. But day to day, Peter and I split things up. We can do this because we're both self-employed - which means both of us are flexible, and neither of us gets time off.

The "up" side of this arrangement is that Tom has an extraordinary education. I'm the linear teacher, dedicated to building specific skills; creating logical sequences of content; ensuring that we cover all our bases; setting up tutors and field trips. Peter is the inventive, serendipitous teacher - dipping into unexpected areas of interest because they just happen to come up. He's the one who got Tom excited about building a giant marble maze; he's the one who gets hands-on with animal skeleton and such.

The "down" side of this arrangement is that neither Peter nor I get a real break - EVER. If we're not working, we're teaching. If we're not teaching, we're maintaining the house, cooking meals, shopping, going to Sara's "back to school" night, or preparing lessons for tomorrow. Of course, not all of this is a grind: homeschooling often entails tramping the woods, combing the beaches, or going swimming! Still, though, there's no option for down time until about 10 at night.

Meanwhile, there's the anxiety related to being self-employed. On the one hand- no one employer can leave us high and dry. On the other hand - any ONE of our employers can demand attention at any moment. And, of course, you never know when a contract may dry up (one biggie suddenly got put on hold, putting our schedules into a brief freaked out tizzy!).

Tom, meanwhile, sits at the eye of our hurricane. For a kid with autism, he does surprisingly well with constantly-changing teachers and schedules. But I sometimes wonder how much time he spends wondering and worrying about what's going to happen tomorrow!

1 comment:

The Glasers said...

Who his teachers are IS consistent, it's either you or his husband. That continuity has got to count for something. Also, I think the flexible schedule is going to help him be more resilient in the face of change. If he is weathering it fine and not in constant meltdown, changing schedules is a good thing. I think it makes it harder for our kids when we become so predictable that they become rigid.