It seems from the 2,873,401 books I've read about parenting, creating great kids is 50% good parenting, 50% good schools, and 2% luck. I think we're okay on the parenting, but I still worry about schools (and I've got 3 years til Karol even starts!). That's where kids get bullied, learn about sex (the wrong way), and spend 7 hours a day with a teacher whose attention is split at least 20 ways.
When I was working on Tom Dermody's campaign in Northern Indiana (2006), I met the most amazing woman. She was a farmer's wife who home-schooled her two children. I know that description probably conjures up this image:
But this family was nothing like it.
A five minute conversation with her made it evident that this was an intelligent, grounded, and practical woman, and her children seemed to share those same qualities (Interesting note: attending the town-hall meeting we hosted was a part of their curriculum). I have no doubt that if she'd chosen a different path she could have been CEO of a major company by now, and I got the inkling that's the sort of success she hopes her children achieve.
Ever since meeting this lady and her great - not socially inept - kids, I've seriously considered home-schooling as an option for my family.
Having spent a few months as 'stay-at-home-mom' during maternity leave, however, I really don't know how I would do it. It seems like I'm actually able to accomplish more with my kids, spend more quality time with them, when I'm working. On top of that, I see the obvious benefits they are getting from their current care situation - the perfect amount/level of socialization, exposure to another parenting style, learning that caters to and stretches their abilities, and a 'home away from home' that they are completely comfortable in.
Matt and I have pretty much decided that a Catholic Montessori school is the right fit for our kids' formal education, if we are lucky enough to find one (if we re-locate to Chicago, for example, it shouldn't be hard). But if we can't, the idea of home-schooling always creeps up in the back of my mind.
Here's the thing: I don't doubt that I would do a decent job at it, but I would want to do an awesome job at it. If I'm with them 24/7 I know I won't be able to do that and I'll beat myself up over it.
The other thing is, how would I go about doing it? What would the structure be? What if I have kids at varied stages of learning? When do I quit working to focus on educating full-time? Do I quit completely, or work part-time? How will my kids make friends?
So, friends and family, what do you think? Any experience in this arena? Any new ideas I may not have thought of? Please comment if so!