Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Homeschooling to Create "Magic Circle" Time

It lasted a month, maybe two. Not including summer. That's how long all my kiddos (schoolaged) were enrolled in public school.

Lizzi is beside herself with excitement over public school. This fall, she will enter a freshman class of somewhere between 300 & 400 students. Considering the fact that she just graduated from an 8th grade class of 60something, that's a pretty big change!

Anakin entered public school at the end of March as a 6th grader. First time in public school after being homeschooled K-6th. Due to trips (Lego Robotics Championship, 2 weeks, and China, 2 weeks), he missed a lot of that time, but he enjoyed the little that he was there and looks forward to returning.

'LilDude is another story. He liked public school kindergarten. He excelled academically, seemed to thoroughly enjoy his friends (and recess!), and spoke positively about his school life. But around the time we went on the Lego trip in April, he started talking about wanting to homeschool.

I don't know why and doubt that he does either. The driving force seems to be wanting to be at home with Mommy.

Over the past eight years, I've homeschooled for many different reasons. But the predominant reason has never been because a child wanted to be with me. I wouldn't ordinarily think that was necessarily a good reason. But in this case it's different.

Growing up, I knew a local family who adopted all five of their children internationally. Several of the children arrived home as toddlers, most as infants. I always thought that they'd made a wise choice. The kids missed time with their parents when they were young and by homeschooling, they gained time to cultivate and nurture relationships.

Homeschooling isn't for everyone. But for those who can, it seems like a viable option to create opportunities for what Patty Cogen (author of Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child) calls the "Magic Circle." In non-adopted children, the Magic Circle is created in-utero and continues during early childhood as the bond/proximity between mother and child remains close. For adopted children, the Magic Circle is broken upon separation between biological mother and child. The adopted child, therefore, needs many opportunities to create the Magic Circle with the adoptive parent. Cogen says that the Magic Circle:

*is a fueling station for Parent Juice, to strengthen connection and sooth pain.
*protects a child from overstimulation, from exploring the world too fast.
*protects a child from the physical dangers of unsupervised exploration.
*provides an organizing center to the child's world.

I see instances where 'LilDude is still in need of more Magic Circle time than other children his age. Leaving the house from 8:30am-4pm everyday--as he would in 1st grade--would stretch the Magic Circle that we've created to the point of possibly breaking. I think that he's sensing the need in himself for more close time with Mommy. I'm proud of him for his ability to voice that need, even if he can't articulate all the whys/wherefores.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. But it seems that homeschooling is the right answer for 'LilDude this year.

Not to mention that GG would miss him terribly. Two-peas-in-a-pod doesn't begin to describe them. Tonight 'LilDude said, "When I grow up and get a whole bunch of babies from China..." That's a pretty big change. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Baby O and I are having some magic circle time today. I admire you so much. I hope, as my children age, I will hold mmyself up to your standard!


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