There. I said it. We only homeschooled for a year, when One was in first grade (3 years ago now) and I was happy when he returned to school. Hey, I'm happy now with our public school; the boys have fit in well and are glad to be part of the school community. It's a good school - a very good school - and we're blessed to be zoned to it. It's hard to find, especially in a public school: a good education, combined with art, dance, music, lots of recess time, a very involved PTO, a good attitude toward boys and their antics, students from over 40 countries. We couldn't ask for more from a school, especially a public school in one of the largest urban school districts in the nation. I'm not saying any of this to "protest too much"; it's all true.
But I miss homeschooling all the same. All that time that regular school takes up in nothingness could be so full with goodness! As good as our school is, the boys admit that it is quite frequently boring - waiting for the last person to understand the directions, to finish, waiting for everyone to hand things out and back in again - all the administrative time that drives teachers as nuts as it does the kids, I'm sure. If we could instead fill the days - in particular the time they are now at school - with more, we'd have so much more free time for the boys to explore on their own the things that interest them most. Right now, we do "enriching" activities after school: they do extra math work, they will be starting some extra writing work soon, they attend art class and One just completed his Saturday acting class, to which he is now completely addicted. And that means we're busy! Now I'm looking into music for the fall, and that will mean even busier - but they've never had music lessons, so how can I pass up a class that teaches them piano and how to make and play a dulcimer?
But where does it all fit? Where's the time to dig holes in the backyard for half the afternoon? To play four games of Scrabble in a row? To practice archery every. single. afternoon. in the backyard - if that's what you feel like doing? It seems as if there are four categories to the time kids spend: administrative baloney, workbook/pen and paper learning (like math), creative, fun learning (music class, reading history books because you love history, etc) and good old creative play (digging holes to China, playing Star Wars with your brother while wearing capes and cowboy boots, or doing someraults on the trampoline until you can't stand up). The first category, administrative baloney, is found in school, be it public or private. There is very little of it in homeschooling, and it's that wasted time that I long to be rid of.
Oh, and the fun of coming up with what to do! Mixing in the more disciplined math, grammar and spelling workbooks with fun history reading and science projects, taking the day off on a random Wednesday to go to the Science Museum just because your 7 year old loves dinosaurs so much, growing a garden together - it's all so overwhelming and at the same time so much fun. It's such a project, it's so much work - but is there any better project, any better work that can be done?