Everything takes longer than I think it will.
We’ve been at this for a month and a half, and I can probably count on one hand the number of days we completed the day’s agenda exactly as I planned it. Sometimes we just aren’t feeling the science, so we continue history. We’ve used up two days of language arts to write thank you notes for birthday gifts. During a week Kiki needed to catch up on her Japanese work, she spent almost two hours every day working on transcribing and drilling. Between her subjects and her activities, things get passed over or delayed. And then there are days when she decides that she wants to bake banana bread or spend a big chunk of the day drawing a chibi family portrait for her uncle’s birthday.
I’ll admit that there’s a small part of me that a little anxious about falling behind where we should be. Shouldn’t we be learning about ancient Egypt already? Aren’t we done with multiplication yet? Have we made any progress at all on her writing? This is the part of me that was brought up taking the traditional path through school, college and career (until I stopped to take care of the kiddos).
It’s also part of my desire to prove that my decision to take Kiki out of school was the right one – and to prove it by showing that she’s doing better than she was at school or that she’s ahead of where she would be now at school. We are still in touch with our friends from school, and I can’t help but be curious about what her former classmates are up to and how Kiki is doing in relation to them.
But then I remember that those types of comparisons are what I wanted to escape when we decided to homeschool. They can be poisonous. If your kid isn’t coming off well, it’s easy to get bitter and jealous and resentful – and then you get cranky at your kid, often unfairly. When your kid is the shining star, of course you’re going to be proud. However, that pride can easily turn into smugness and a sense of superiority, which isn’t good either. Comparisons aren’t all bad; they can give me perspective and reveal ideas I may not have otherwise considered. However, I have to remember that every child is different, and I have to focus on how to best help my own.
To be honest, I don’t mind that things take a long time. I don’t mind the little detours we take, like coming across the Crash Course in World History on YouTube. I was curious about them so I turned on the first one (and took a chance, hoping that it wasn’t totally inappropriate for kids); Kiki was entertained enough by it that she wanted to keep watching more. I don’t think she’ll be able to answer any questions about dates and names, but this is probably the first time she’s even been exposed to Alexander the Great and the ancient people of the Indus Valley. Since this is our first year out of traditional school, our main goal is to show her the rest of the world – and take our time doing it!