Ever since I met a real live homeschooler years ago – and discovered that no, they weren’t all crazy or religious fundamentalists – I have wished that I could have the time (and money) to do the same with my daughter. This homeschooler I mention has since become a good friend of mine. I have great respect for Deb and her fantastic family. Her children, now adults pursuing their own creative and inspiring lives, are testament to what she gave them as a homeschool mom.
This opportunity in Chile affords me just such a chance.
I only have one child. Working long hours in my previous job – while fulfilling in many ways – didn’t allow me the time I craved with my daughter while she was young. The first seven years are the most important for forming the mind. As a librarian, it was my job to share this information along with my arsenal of early childhood tips and activities. But the sadly I didn’t often have the time or energy to walk the walk with my own child.
Being a working parent is not easy. Especially if you want to do well as both a parent and a professional. In Chile, I am still a working parent. However, being my own boss this time around, I have much more flexibility.
Homeschooling will mean less time to work on personal projects during the daylight hours; it will mean trying to eke out moments of quiet in the early and late hours when Oli is in bed. But it also means that I get to be right beside her as she discovers and learns, marvels and wonders over the things she sees and experiences. It means giving Oli the opportunity to lead as she learns; we can go as in depth as she craves. It means that the world will be her classroom.
So here’s what we’ve decided: I will homeschool Oli in the mornings and she will attend a Chilean playschool in the afternoon. Homeschool will enable us to stay on track with American school standards and playschool will afford her valuable language skills and peer engagement. This way, regardless of whether we choose to stay in Chile a little longer or return to U.S., Oli can attend school in either country.
Choosing to homeschool will not make my life easier but I truly believe that it will make it more fulfilling. And I will never regret the time spent with my daughter.