There is a theory among some homeschoolers that everything a child needs to know can be taught by the parent. If you don’t know how to play the piano, you learn while you are teaching your kid. If you are afraid of math, get over it. You were probably afraid of dropping your newborn on her head when you brought her home, but you didn’t leave her in the hospital, did you? I admire the spunk, but that’s not me. (This might be a good place to admit that I paid someone to teach the boys how to ride a bike. That’s right, even though their father is an avid cyclist and advisor to the Harvard cycling team, I paid Chuck to teach them for us. I’m a sucker for “experts.”)
The problem for us now is that there are a boatload of homeschool classes within a few miles of us, all falling into areas of expertise that are not mine. The boys could participate in: sword play, weekly park days, homeschool swim team, homeschool soccer league, several science classes, several math classes, break dancing, corn husk doll creation, homeschool days or classes at nearly every museum, art class, pottery class, circus training (seriously), and the list goes on. I decided not to sign up for anything for the first month, during which I was desperate to deal with my dread by filling the schedule. But now that I’m a one-month veteran, bring on the experts!
We settled on two for the fall:
A class at Belmont Habitat called Homeschool Naturalists, led by Birkenstock Jane. It’s for 6 & 7 year olds, and there are six boys in the class this year. Zach and Ezra came out of their first class yesterday bouncing with excitement. They had gone hiking in the pouring rain to collect and identify falling leaves. The best part for me was that they taught me how to identify a maple leaf.
“How could someone who doesn’t know how to identify a maple leaf get permission to homeschool?” you might be wondering.
Apparently, so was the Cambridge Public School District. When I sent in our homeschool application, I had to list our qualifications to teach. I mentioned Jeff’s engineering degree from Stanford and multiple graduate degrees. I mentioned my 8 years teaching high school in NYC and my doctorate in education from Harvard. To which they responded in writing, “Can you please elaborate on your qualifications to homeschool?” At first, I was outraged. Now I’m wondering if they knew about my lack of all practical knowledge.
An Artful Adventure at the MFA, led by hip art dude Jake. For three Thursdays this month, Jake will teach the boys and me about Chinese art. During each visit, we visit the galleries for 45 minutes and play in the studio for 45 minutes.
The boys were PSYCHED after our first class today, during which we learned about Chinese brush painting. The best part for me was that I have never had so much fun making any kind of art. Did you know that you can mix your own ink?
I’m no expert homeschool teacher, but I’m going to learn so much as a homeschool student this year.