Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why We Homeschool

I recently read a post by a good friend of mine explaining why they homeschool and I decided that it would be a good exercise for me to write something similar.  I have a bunch of reasons and sometimes it seems they change on a weekly basis, but there are a few main reasons that always stick.  First of all, let me just start with a brief history of how we got to the point of homeschooling.

My daughter went to public school through 2nd grade.  Her kindergarten and first grade teachers were both amazing and she had many little friends from wonderful families.  Overall, the first 2 years of school were a great experience.  In 2nd grade we started to experience a few minor complaints about the math curriculum and some little things about the other children's influence bothered me.  About halfway through the year we had some more issues with her math teacher (she had one teacher for math and another for everything else) and the way she handled certain things that just really rubbed me the wrong way.  That coupled with the curriculum issues really made us start to question whether it might be easier to just teach her at home.  Meanwhile, our son was having a fantastic year in kindergarten with a fabulous teacher.  However, he was starting to get bullied on the bus.  After talking to the principal about the issues and getting pretty much nowhere I really started to question whether public school was right for us. Just a disclaimer here:  I am in no way judging anyone who sends their children to public or private schools.  I believe that there are amazing teachers and caring administrators out there, however, this is just an account of our personal experiences and how we came to start out homeschooling journey.  I hope no one is offended by my words because that is certainly not my intention in writing this!

After we starting thinking about homeschooling as an actual viable option for us, it seems there was no lack of information or options about what to do.  That was completely overwhelming to me.  I had no idea where to start and I was terrified of ruining my children's futures and somehow scarring them for life!  It is a very daunting task to think about at first.  If you are in that stage of your journey, I will tell you that it will get easier and you will become confident and learn to chill out.  :)  It just takes time.  At the time we were thinking about homeschooling I had a few close friends who were already doing it, only they were all using completely different methods.  One used a virtual online school, one did Classical Conversations, and another was unschooling.  All of these are so vastly different methods of schooling and I took all of their advice to heart.  In the end, I decided that to begin our journey, the virtual school option is what felt most comfortable to me.  It is an online public school that you do at home.  So I really had a lot of support and all of the curriculum and materials were free and the lesson plans laid out.  It just seemed like the best of both worlds.  I couldn't possibly screw their education up when I had 'real' teachers backing me up and yet I could have my children home with me which I knew was what would be best for them emotionally and spiritually.

I think one of the hardest parts of deciding to begin homeschooling was telling everyone.  I was worried about what people would think.  Would they think we were weirdos?  Probably.  Would they talk about us behind our backs?  Probably.  Would they think that we were somehow thinking we were better than them by making this choice?  Maybe.  I have a lot of fear that other people will think I am judging them.  Probably stemming from my fear of others judging me.  And you know what?  It is all so ridiculous!  I am a grown woman who decided along with my husband after much prayer and consideration and research that this is the best choice for our family.  And I was worried about what other people thought?  That's just stupid.  And I sometimes still feel insecure about telling people.  Which is really stupid.  I guess I'm just a slow learner. :)  So, I'm working through some of my insecurities by putting this information out there in hopes that it will help one of you if you are struggling with something similar.

So, I guess after all that I didn't really tell you why we homeschool.  If I had to sum it up at this point I would have to say the main reason is that I want my children home with me.  I want them to learn about life not from a bunch of other children and one teacher who would spend more waking hours with them each day than I would, but from me.  I want them to have the best education possible for their unique personalities and abilities.  For now, I think the best option to accomplish that is for them to be home with me.  Will that change in the future?  Possibly.  One of the best pieces of advice I got when starting this journey was to take it one year at a time.  When you try to plan your child's entire education through high school all at one time, it can be pretty daunting.  When you try to plan just for third grade...entirely doable.

We are currently no longer using online schooling.  We are doing our own thing now which is an entire post in and of itself.  A story I'd be happy to tell if anyone is interested.  So let me know if you are. :)  And while I'm on the subject, let me know if you are interested in hearing more about our homeschooling days in general.  And if you are thinking about homeschooling and wondering if you are doing the right thing, the answer is yes.  Even if you think it sounds totally crazy and life changing and self sacrificing and you might go crazy spending every day with your kids all day every day...but you still can't stop thinking about it, yes.  Just stop obsessing about it and do it!  Says the mom who wishes someone had said that to me a couple years ago...and come to think of it, a bunch of people did.  :)  I'm really glad I listened to them.  


1 comment:

  1. I never thought I would homeschool, never wanted to, but mid 1st grade I pulled my daughter out of public school. We used an online curriculum (Time4Learning) because I needed the lessons planned out for me, and I didn't think a boxed curriculum would work for my daughter. I know some people plan to homeschool from the very beginning, but for those of us who come to homeschooling by some other pathway, it is often terrifying and stressful. Like you said, it does get better! We have been at it for over 7 years now.
    I just wanted to tell you that I don't think you should have to make the disclaimer that you don't mean to offend anyone about public school. You did what was right for your family. As homeschoolers we don't have to bash public school to say that it doesn't work for us. :) Thanks so much for passing on the advice and support. There is probably someone out there today reading your blog that really needed to hear your positive message. Happy homeschooling!

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