Wikipedia describes Leonardo da Vinci as "a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer". I have heard it said that he was the last person to really know everything that was known, and that after that, humankind simply had more knowledge than any one person could learn in a lifetime. I wonder if that's true.
I was really lucky to grow up with a good education. I got all the regular preschool to Grade 12 stuff, and then went on to get my university degree. I also took gymnastics, karate, CPR, learned to play the saxophone, got a lead role in a school play and was on class council and student councils. I was a good student, always putting an uncool amount of effort into everything I did.
When Nik was born, a sort of unconscious shift occurred. It isn't that I gave up the uncool amount of effort. That is too deeply ingrained. I just started to direct all that effort toward Project Nik. I was so baby-busy, I felt like I had no time for any of the things I did before he was born. I still made some time for reading and taking classes... But I read parenting books, and took "Mom 'n Me" classes. By the time that Nik was about 6 months old, I was focusing so completely on his development, that it had totally eclipsed my own.
Someone handed me a baby, and I lost my balance. I thought that being a good mom was abandoning myself, and pouring all of myself into my child, and I'm slowly realizing that lack of wisdom in that. If Nik had been my second child, I would not have abandoned the first to take care of him. I would have found a balance between the needs of the two. Why should it be any different if my first "child" is myself? My own growth is still worthwhile.
Additionally, putting all my effort into my child at the expense of myself not only devalues me, it devalues the contributions of all the people who have put effort into me in the past, like my teachers and parents. It also places an insane amount of pressure on my two year old to perform, to "turn out". I am, after all, putting all of my proverbial eggs in one basket.
As part of my parenting reading, I've learned about homeschooling, and felt the attraction. I have also seen that it is not confined to the traditional grades of K to 12. Some people talk about homeschooling their toddlers, for example. One day, I thought: "Is there any reason I couldn't homeschool myself?"
Think about it. Who says education past the age of 18 has to occur within the walls of a college or university? Why couldn't I design my own emergent curriculum, based on my interests, and make it a priority?
I struggle with feeling like the things I do for myself are frivolous, and only deserve to be indulged in when everything else is finished. Thinking about it as homeschooling validates the effort I put into my own development, and encourages me to create a balanced curriculum.
What subjects would you be sure to include? I am thinking of yoga for my first Phys. Ed. unit, creative writing for English, maybe collage for Art... I'd like to learn to get my finances under control for Math, learn the chemistry behind vegetable gardening for Science, and begin to make sense of nutrition as part of Health.
I am not planning on adding cartography or engineering just yet, but even da Vinci had to start somewhere.