I’ll admit that I put off writing this post because I just feel completely unqualified to write anything about homeschooling at this point. But so many people have asked questions since we made the decision to homeschool our kids, so I’ve decided to share my journey with you in real time, and you can learn along with me, okay?
Seth is five and has been in a small church-based preschool for the past two years. All along, we were planning to send him to public school- either the one we’re zoned for (which is an excellent school, as public schools go) or a local charter I’ve heard good things about. But this past year in the VPK program, they began to spend quite a lot more time with worksheets and desk work, and with that increase Seth started to get in trouble for talking and being silly. He began to ask if he could stay home, and declared a keen dislike for tracing letters and coloring. He even once told me that he really doesn’t like “all the learning stuff” at school, and wants to just play with his friends. It was heartbreaking to see him already, at age 4, not wanting to go to school and thinking that he just doesn’t enjoy learning, based on his preschool experiences. I dreaded the fact that kindergarten was sure to up the ante on all the parts that were turning him off, and most likely would also make it even harder for him to conform behaviorally. Growing up in public schools, I remember many kids—so many of them energetic boys like my son—who were highly intelligent but were constantly in trouble and as we got older simply stopped caring about school altogether. I was also unpleasantly surprised at some words and mannerisms that Seth had already started pick up from the other kids. While I by no means wish to raise my kids in a bubble, and I know that I can’t shelter them from every negative influence, I have serious problems with having so little control or knowledge of what my kid is exposed to throughout the day. And with my own experiences of how kids treat each other, what they talk about, and how very much goes on under the adults’ radar, even during elementary school- I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were about to send him off and allow him to be primarily shaped and influenced by the rest of the world rather than us. The more I thought all of this over and discussed it with Manny, the more certain I was that I had to find another way to educate our children.
Homeschool was always in the back of mind, but I’d convinced myself that I simply could not make it work. I couldn’t picture the day-to-day life of running a business and a home working with teaching the kids myself and having them home all day every day. But I began to research and read, and found that many homeschooling moms work at home, and that especially in the early years, the actual time needed to sit down and instruct them is minimal. It began to feel doable, and I knew that it was just the right choice for our family. I realized that rather than a hindrance, my job is a blessing in that I can work at home and be here with the kids, with shoots in the evenings and weekends. And there are so many parents who even make homeschooling work with full-time jobs outside that home, because it is just that important to them. I saw that so much of it comes down to priorities.
No it will not be easy. Yes I will have to be pretty disciplined and organized to keep up with everything. Yes I will need help, and am eternally grateful for my support system of husband, family, and some close friends who will also be homeschooling. It will probably be crazy sometimes (lets be real- life around here is already crazy!) But it is simply too important for me to not to do my best to make it happen. Homeschooling aligns perfectly with so many of the key principles of my parenting philosophy. Being with them and learning with them each day, growing a garden together, teaching them to cook, spending time outside, allowing everything we experience to teach us—that is irreplaceable.
I have talked to a lot of homeschooling moms over the last few months, and while they all agree that it isn’t always easy, each and every one has said that they have never regretted their decision to homeschool.
So here we go!