Adam: What're you doing mom?
Me : I'm reading sayang..
Adam: What are you reading about? Ants?
Me : *almost laughed. caught off guard at the word ants* Err..no.
Adam: Then what is it you're reading about?
Me : I'm reading about....homeschooling children.
Adam: *immediately* DON'T!
Me : Err....why?
Adam: It's boring. Let's read about milipedes.
(there seem to be a milipede fiesta on our front yard recently)
Adam: Where milipede live? What he eats? Where is his house in the deepest? Look in the laptop mom.
(meaning let's do a search on the internet)
Then Mia woke up and all three of us looked up milipedes on the internet.
We pored over interesting pictures of milipedes. Where they live, what they eat. Their eggs and reproduction system. Then this leads to his sudden interest in ground beetles ( they eat milipedes!! ) I let him use the computer himself, clicking on anything that looks interesting on Wiki. Soon he was opening up the Arthropods Portal, the Insects Portal and looking up many other insects of interest- spiders, cockroaches, centipedes. Later in the evening he went outside with Mia looking and digging for milipedes, feeding them dead leaves (that's their food!) and feeding them water. All the while he was talking and asking questions constantly and excitedly. I realise it's all just fun and *play* to him. The learning just comes like a bonus.
He came right at the moment when I was thinking about homeschooling, but feeling afraid. Feeling so uncertain. There are so many days in which I think I can barely cope with surviving the day - laundry, cooking, chores, trying to be patient with the kids - let alone trying to homeschool. I mean, am I doing more harm than good by keeping my kids at home with me rather than sending them to school? How will I bear having little to none me-time? Will it hurt our relationship eventually? Will I be destroying their future? Will they have no social life? Will I be able to teach the difficult subjects as he grows bigger? Will he go to uni? Adam is 4 yo and already people are asking me left and right why isn't he at school yet.
But on days like today, I feel hopeful. If he were in school today, which school teacher with a class of 20 would have the time to look up milipedes all of a sudden? Even if she wanted to, there are 19 other students in the class needing attention, there's a probably a schedule she needs to keep up with, a subject she needs to finish teaching. Perhaps his sudden interest in the topic came up at lunchtime as the school timetable dictates. She might have to say 'not now Adam'. The next day the interest might've passed, or he would've been too afraid to ask, not wanting rejection again or to avoid humiliation, or to avoid disturbing the class. How many times has this happened to us? Might we have missed our life's passion with these little questions left unanswered?
My four year old son doesn't read by himself yet. He doesn't respond well to 'suggestions' like - would you like to learn to read this yourself? Do you know how to spell train - no, he immediately lose interest at these gentle 'push' to learn to read. In a class he might be classified as and 'average' student, or 'too easily distracted' or 'distrupting other students in class' or maybe even nearing 'difficulty learning'.
BUT, he LOVES books. He loves being read to, he loves the topics in his books, he takes books everywhere he goes. He has a set of encyclopaedia (not intended for his age) that he loves because they are about 'real things'. So far he's learned about the human anatomy, pre-historic animals, insects mammals reptiles, ocean creatures, trains and other transportation.....all at the same enthusiasm as getting a new toy. His interests jump unexpectedly from one topic to another , with no rhyme or reason, not following any set schedule or timetable. These are topics beyond what society says a 4 year old 'must know'. Many topics are beyond what I, a 30 year old know. I find myself learning many new things I wouldn't have even asked about.
So, on days like today, the reason becomes clear to me. I must write it down, for other days when it feels bleak, or frustrating, or challenging, or just plain tiring.