I recently got an e-mail from a friend, which said, in part:
How is home schooling going? I don’t know how you do it. Brunnhilde is loving school. I go in a few times a month to read to the class or cook or help the kids with library. Today we did our Halloween party. That is definitely all I can handle of the rugrats. You should have seen me trying to get them to make spiders out of tootsie pops and pipe cleaners. Step one was hold up the pipe cleaners and the sucker. Step two, wrap the pipe cleaners around the stick. Step three, say Mrs. Rodham I can’t do it, can you help me. I turned my back for a minute on one kid and the next thing I knew he had his whole tootsie pop covered in glue. I hadn’t even mentioned glue yet. The kid and craft thing is definitely not my strong suit.
That is exactly why I'm homeschooling -- I don’t want to trudge into a school and deal with 20+ kids acting crazy because they are showing off for each other. My own two kids at home with me don't act like rugrats -- there is no divide between teacher/student, adult/kid like there is in school; theres no authority dynamic going on, we're just us. I don't direct crafts, anyway -- I ask Suzanne what she wants and give it to her and leave her alone and she makes her own thing.
We're really relaxed, I don't teach, I'm more like a resource person (I answer her questions and teach her if she asks for something). Right now, we're mainly going to playdates and park days because the weather is so wonderful and Gabrielle can be difficult about being read to -- she's acting very 3. It works for us, we're complying with the law, and I've got my eye on the standards of learning and what she should be doing. Actually, it makes me really happy.
Just to clarify, I'm not one of those "I'm-friends-with-my-kids kind of parents." My kids are 3 and 5, I'm not an age-appropriate friend and they need a mom. So, our dynamic is parent/child. Though I would hasten to add, I do really enjoy the company of my kids, I think they are cute and smart and funny and really interesting. When I mentioned "adult/child" above, I was referring to how I think kids in large groups with few adults tend to act like a pack of animals, very different from how they act on their own. I see a little of this with homeschool groups, but the groups are smaller and the kids don't tend to ask for things by chanting in unison as I've seen some groups do. I can't stand that -- it treats the adult like some sort of zookeeper who is supposed to throw them whatever they request -- not like one person asking another person for something. Its very odd. Kids may be kids, but I think large groups just tend to encourage immaturity.