Why we homeschool….. I figured it was time for this post. ;-) We are on our 7th month of homeschool and finally figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t….. and I’m sure there will be plenty more to learn as this year goes on. I would say that the majority of this year has been just that: figuring us out.
If I were to be honest, we’ve done a more UNschooling kind of homeschool than anything else. I think we just naturally lean that way. Right now I prefer to focus on Dylans reading, writing, math, and thinking skills more than anything else. I figure the rest will come from natural curiousity as he gets older and we lay down more of a routine to see where it fits in. I am a firm believer in the idea that if you can read well, you can learn anything. The things I have learned and retained the most didn’t come from sitting in classes in school…. it came from my own curiousity and reading about it myself until I was content with what I had learned.
Homeschooling had been on my heart YEARS before Dylan was to start school. I thought it was fun teaching him stuff on my own at home and knowing that I had contributed to his education and started the foundation for early learning. I thought, “If I can give him a good foundation, why can’t I keep building on it instead of sending him to someone else to build on it?” Now, disclaimer here: I’m not against people who send their kids to public school. ;-) It just wasn’t for us, maybe in the same way you’re reading this and thinking homeschool isn’t for you. I won’t even say that everyone SHOULD homeschool, but I will say that (almost) everyone COULD homeschool. I’ve been amazed at the different stories of homeschoolers that I’ve read….. there truly are as many different ways to homeschool as there are families who homeschool. There is no cookie cutter method. Even if you use the same curriculum or theory as someone else, you’re going to implement it differently. This is why I love the option of homeschool over public school. Kids aren’t cut from a mold and all learn differently. Learning at home offers the opportunity to focus on their learning styles, and at the pace they learn. If they excell in something, then we can move ahead faster. If they are struggling with something, we can slow down until they truly GET IT, instead of just learning the right answer and not knowing why.
I also like the ability to see them learn, to see the lightbulb turn on, to see the wheels turning, to see when something just CLICKS and they get totally excited over it. I am jealous for my kids time and I want to have those moments, not someone else. I say I am jealous for my kids time, but if you know me, you also know I would love more time to myself. That is the always delicate not-so-well-balance you struggle with when you choose to homeschool. Hours in a row of time to myself (when they’d be in school) goes out the window. I won’t lie and say that I relish every waking moment with all three of them at home….. yes, there are days when I sit down and think “you do realize don’t you that they could ALL be in some form of school ALL DAY LONG at this point???” It’s a balance, one I’ve not yet perfected. But the trade off to me is worth it, even on the rough days.
I know to some this next part is going to sound controlling and legalistic, and that’s okay. I know it may spark nasty comments, and that’s okay too. Because it won’t matter. ;-) I truly feel that we are called to homeschool, for OUR family. I am excited that my kids won’t grow up too soon or learn about things in school that I would rather teach them ….. things that have nothing to do with a school education and everything to do with sex education, drug education, religious education, etc. You see where I’m going. ;-) I want to be able to have them openly talk about God when they want and not be shhh’d at school about it. A dear friend of mines son used his bible during free reading time in class and was asked to put it away…. because he wasn’t allowed to read it during school FREE READING TIME. I remember being in 6th grade and the same thing happening to me. I remember feeling shamed and embarrassed…. for reading my bible. While my kids are still so young, I want them to be encouraged in their faith….. not discouraged.
And now the best part….. the way we do school on a daily basis. Some days we don’t actually DO school…..as in workbooks or worksheets or lesson plans. Some days its talking more in depth about something that they like, explaining how 1/4 and 1/4 makes 1/2 when measuring, watching a documentary on Yellowstone National Park, Ben Franklin, Africa, or Beast of The Sea….. school doesn’t have to be sitting down at a desk everyday. I count a day successful if they go to bed having learned more than they woke up knowing…. no matter what it is. Sure it helps to keep up on reading and math, but again…. it doesn’t have to be a strict curriculum. I’ve found the best learning comes from watching and doing and talking about it. Dylan is 6 and already knows how to divide in his head based on conversations….not from a worksheet. I LOVE that! And at home he has the freedom to write in cursive handwriting, where in Kindergarten he was discouraged from that.
So, if you ever wonder what we do for school, now you know a little bit more. And remember, we’re still figuring it out. ;-)