The best thing I did was stop worrying about homeschooling. First I worried every day that I was ruining my kids’ lives. Then I decided that the first year would just be me trying things and if my kids didn’t “learn” anything (whatever that means – I don’t even know) then it’s okay. One year of me messing up won’t kill them. Then I signed them up for lots of classes that they wanted. As sort of a safety net for myself.

My kids love video games. I think they probably play their DSi’s three hours a day. Some days I keep it to one hour a day, but it’s only by mistake. I mean, it’s because we all forget to have the fight about how long can they do their DS’s.

I know what I think makes a good adult life, because I’ve been writing on that topic for ten years. I know the research up and down, and I know from all my experience coaching people as well. People need close relationships with family and they need to be engaged in some sort of work. I’m not going to provide links. Really, I’ve written 100’s of posts on this topic.

So now I am trying to figure out how to get my kids to that in a way that is fun for them. And right now, I don’t know for sure, but I for sure know that I want to be with them during the day. It’s intimate. It’s smothering, of course, but it’s intimate as well.

I am trying to figure out where I am this year. Most kids in their 20s are lost. Many panic. I think my kids will not panic because they will see me being lost, and getting unlost, and being lost again. And maybe, in the end, this is the best education for us all.

15 replies
  1. TR
    TR says:

    I have observed that kids either identify with their parents behavior or have a reaction against it (this is why the parents can be losers and the kids are awesome). As a parent who wants his kids to be awesome I keep wondering if there are good ways to get my kids to identify with my good behaviors (in this case meaningful work and close family relationships) and have a reaction with my not so great behaviors.

  2. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    One of my favorite things as a child was being forced to work on “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing” and “Math Rabbit” on the computer. I apparently have Aspergers, and so maybe this makes sense, but since all kids love video games so much… It would be amazing to develop a homeschooling suite for video game systems. Have you ever played Wii Degree? Amazing fun for kids and adults with all sorts of school subjects in it. The world needs a real life Wii Degree. The Mavis Beacon program was so fun for me that as an adult I now type over 100WPM without error. Which lends itself really well to my extreme verbosity ;)

    Thank you so much for your honest and passionate blog about homeschooling. It’s something we plan for my 17 month old (likely Autistic) son. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  3. Mamabear
    Mamabear says:

    Very nice. Besides, if the worst thing your kids have to complain about is that they saw you too much, well, they are the lucky ones. Your kids will fault you for something. And they’ll develop their identity because of how they viewed your fault.

  4. Mamabear
    Mamabear says:

    I try to remind myself that as much as I’m trying to be a role model for my child, as much as I’m trying teach her things, she is here to teach me things too. “Time out,” can be as much for me as it is for her sometimes. “Time out” can teach me to be patient and manage my frustrations. Kids also keep you fresh and in touch with the future. That’s something that every parent can take an “office” jobs.

  5. Jana Miller
    Jana Miller says:

    I often hear young moms get stressed when they leave their toddlers with someone else and their kids cry.

    Shouldn’t our kids be attached to us? That’s a good thing unless they are 16 and still crying when we leave them….haha. I look back with no regrets. We had time together and that is everything.

    At times it was very difficult and it’s difficult now reentering the workplace but at least I know I have given them a good start in this world. What they do with that is up to them.

    jana

  6. Jason
    Jason says:

    I agree with you.

    The best way to learn math is by playing games. A lot of math is actually about games, but a lot of games involve a lot of math – especially for kids – counting, adding, strategy, winning…

    So why not just relax and have fun with your kids – try and get them good games.

  7. Anna
    Anna says:

    love this post. and i think as mothers we must accept that all kids either think they see their mom too much, or too little. this is one aspect of parenting where it seems you can’t just get it right. and maybe that’s the point…

  8. Lak
    Lak says:

    The biggest problem I have with what you’ve been saying is that you’re an unschooler. Honestly this term is something that conjures up a specific set of unrules.

    Really what I’d like is for you to find /develop a new word that describes what you do. Because it is similar to what I do. And that would give me a better description of myself.

    Some say eclectic or relaxed homeschoolers, but then does that really convey the concept of the amount of relaxed or the amount of unschoolyness.

    Classes (I didn’t realize that your kids wanted them) can be the major downfall for unschoolers. Some will not require their children even finish a class if the child changes her mind. Your unschooling, I suppose, is unschooling, but that term just has so many negative connotations to me at this point, it is nearly enough to make me stop reading your blog.

    (But of course it isn’t because I love your blog and your blog editor who helps you write more succinctly unlike my comment editor who isn’t working tonight. I know idle threats.)

    Glad you decided to homeschool because it rocks, and love all your links and watching your process, now go and create some new terminology!

    No really, Go!

  9. Jon
    Jon says:

    They might still be a little young for this, but we’ve been doing a gaming class for middle-school ages at our local homeschool co-op. The kids love it and they interact a lot. We’ve done strategy games like Carcassonne, Catan, Ticket to Ride, but also some “party” games like Apples to Apples, Cranium Whoonu, and Squint. A good starter game is something like Forbidden Island, which is cooperative so the players win or lose together.

    Or a lot of kids we know are now total Minecraft addicts. They love building stuff and showing each other their creations. We need to get them all on a kid-friendly multiplayer server like MassivelyMinecraft.org.

  10. Jess
    Jess says:

    I find this blog incredibly insightful and enjoy reading each installment. My boys are ages 2 and 4 and I intend to homeschool them as well. Having a resource that is so openly honest about your experience with this is invaluable to me. Thanks!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Thanks, Jess. This means a lot to me. As I write about my discovery process, I see it’s a fine line between feeling completely lost as an outsider and seeing things from a new perspective because I’m new.

      Penelope

  11. Marie-Eve Boudreault
    Marie-Eve Boudreault says:

    I love the way you say it.

    My kids are 3 years old and studying society for about 15 years too, living the mess we get ourselves in in adult life after years of traditional education, I just had to stay with them and have a meaningful life.

    I can’t put myself to force them to go to school and learn almost nothing for years, compared to what they could learn. Forget what they love. Then try to figure it all out while having debt to pay in their 20s.

    We’ll see how it goes but as for now they have their primary needs met, are already learning beyond what’s common at their age (as 2 languages). And myself I have a passion on the side with writing on this too.

    You have a great blog, one of the best I know of, thanks for the good work!

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