Yeah, sure, in a way I had just one "student" when we first started homeschooling. Anne-with-an-e was seven years old, Betsy just four. Anne was (I'm sorry, sweetie) my experimental student. I tried out different methods on her, tinkered with ideas, approaches, math curricula. But Betsy was always there, soaking in the atmosphere, listening to the books, playing with the manipulatives, eating the cookies. I never felt that I was homeschooling only one daughter -- we were living a homeschooling life together.
But, now that my older daughters are out in the world, taking classes from other people, I am finally, truly, homeschooling just one child. Anne and Betsy don't need me, which is really great in its way. There's real fulfillment in knowing that my daughters were well prepared for the stage of life they're living now. And, there's relief in knowing that their academic work is their business. (I couldn't answer a Chemistry question if you paid me in chocolate and coffee. Truly, Anne's Chemistry homework is a mystery to me on a par with the Trinity. Intricacies unseen, combinations that produce whole new entities ... it boggles my mind. If it isn't explained on a Jesse Pinkman level, I don't understand it.)
And that leads me to the present, in which I am homeschooling only one daughter. Over the summer, I wondered about how this year would proceed: What would it be like for the two of us to be on our own? Would we get bored with each other? Would we feel as if we were rattling around the house, waiting for others to join us? Or would we dig in, full of anticipation and excitement, ready to tackle hundreds of projects and take on every academic challenge?
The answer is (as it always seems to for me) in the middle. Yes, we miss Anne and Betsy, but Ramona and I have settled into The New Normal and we are loving it. There's a delightful balance to our days. There are outside activities (a weekly art class, another monthly art class, piano lessons, choir), as well as group activities that we both participate in (her writing group, swimming weekly with other homeschoolers.) And then there are the treasured days when we don't have to leave the house -- we tackle math, read aloud, read aloud, read aloud, write, read poetry, participate in NaNoWriMo, watch Food Network together, make carrot cake, learn about extracting DNA from saliva (hmmm, was it deliberate that I followed up the food references to the saliva reference?), create art, and crafts, and minions.
Sometimes we can even plan activities or outings that work with Anne and Betsy's schedules as we did last Friday when we made a last-minute plan to see Big Hero 6 together (review from Ramona coming soon), or getting to daily Mass together.
Yes, I'm homeschooling just one. But it's a rich, full life.
And we love it.
|Ramona, at the end of summer.|