So I’m wearing yet another hat around here. It does take me farther away from sewing, blogging, cleaning (ha!), but it’s awesome and hard and frustrating and tiring and so, so super amazingly cool!
Homeschooling was something that I had always considered in a kind of throw-the-idea-around-here-and-there kind of way.
It kind of went with the progression of our parenting style – breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, ayurvedic medicine — oh, yeah, what the heck, maybe I’ll homeschool, too!
Whenever I’d mention it, I’d get a sort of common, generic response of how neat of an idea that was, but how few people are “able” to do it — oh, and, my favorite –boy, was I brave! (I think sometimes it was a compliment, and sometimes it was just a filler when someone didn’t know what to say. Once or twice it was delivered in a you’re-nuts-to-take-that-on kind of way.)
This general idea of us, as parents, not being “able” to teach our own children was really a soul-searching topic for me. I made lists of pros and cons, did tons of research, etc.
But, mostly, I listened to my kids.
Last month, A.S. was attending her second year at a really great little preschool program five minutes from the house. We all loved her teachers and the program and the kids that were in class with her!
Everything seemed to be going well. The only thing that changed was that I started discussing the topic of homeschooling as a possibility for the coming kindergarten year. And then, I started taking the kids to homeschooling meetups/programs.
A.S. and A.W. were enamored with the idea of the flexibility that homeschooling brings and excited to learn at home. So, as a trial, I started working with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the days A.S. was off from school.
Originally, I planned to have A.S. finish out the year at preschool with her friends and begin homeschooling in the fall.
We didn’t get that far. After a couple months of trying out the Tuesday and Thursday home thing, the kids started speaking loud and clear.
A.S. didn’t want to go to school.
What?! I argued that she’d miss her friends. (She was Ms. Popular!)
She told me that was no big deal; she could meet up with them for play dates when she missed them.
I told her school at home would be harder, because I’d be pushing her along as she understood things instead of waiting for a group of kids to be together in their level of understanding a topic.
She said that wouldn’t be a problem.
And then A.W. didn’t want to get dressed on mornings that I had to drive A.S. to school.
I begged and pleaded with him to get ready. He’d be dressed. And then, in the blink of an eye, he’d be naked when I was trying to load up the car. We’d be late. Recycle, repeat.
Then one day in mid-January, after we dropped A.S. off, he called me from the backseat.
“What’s up, honey?”
“Why do I have to get up every day when I don’t want to and get in and out of the car? I don’t get to do anything but walk in the building and walk back out.”
Wow. My three-year-old just spelled it out for me. I think I just got served!
There was no logical answer to his question that I could come up with.
(That little stinker.)
This simply wasn’t working for our family.
This is really what pushed me into making the changes necessary to assertively handle their education, the beginning of their lives. I knew/know/have never believed more than now , this very moment, that this is what I should be doing. It makes sense on so many levels, all of which would be impossible to discuss in this one blog post.
Having said that, I will try to give some overview of other reasons we homeschool. (And, yes, I am using that as a verb! )
We homeschool because we feel that no one can raise our children for us better than we can do it ourselves. We do it because the public school system can’t possibly know, or be expected to know, our core values, ethics, and morals that we want for our children. We do it because we want our kids to know the full history of our country and their ancestors/heritage. We homeschool because we want our kids to remain inquisitive, to enjoy learning for life, and to not worry about memorizing for a test. We do it because we don’t want our children to be trained to socialize with persons of like ages, but to feel comfortable socializing and really appreciating the beauty and value in all ages. We homeschool because, at this point, five days a week away from each other is not beneficial physically, mentally, or spiritually to our young family. We do it because we want to teach the kids everything they are curious about, when they are curious about it. We homeschool so that our five- and three-year-old can be who they are right now, with no illusion that anyone else’s opinion of who they should be has any impact on their lives. We do it because we have a strong history of chemical and food allergies and don’t want to risk accidents. We homeschool because we feel that life skills, like gardening, cooking, composting, sewing, etc., should be a large presence in the raising of our children.
These are just some of the reasons that come to mind.
I have had to look long and hard at the reason that homeschooling is not the “norm” in this decision-making quest.
The only reason, I feel, that it’s not the norm is because the majority of people are doing something else. And this is perfectly fine. We all have different circumstances, goals, expectations, aspirations, etc.
But the act of a parent teaching their child is absolutely normal. This happens from the moment they are born and continues until the parent chooses to stop.
I have been forced to ask myself this question: In what kind of a society are we living that we are convinced that we, parents, nourishing our children and filling them with the information and tools to not only survive, but thrive, is so foreign, weird?
Just something to think about.
I have had teachers tell me that they were not capable of teaching their children at home. Let me write that again. I will use quotes this time for more clarity.
I have had personal conversations with teachers (with an s, as in more than one) where they have said they were, “not capable of teaching their own children at home.”
If they aren’t confident that they’re capable of teaching their own children, why would I place my most valuable assets; my sparkling, beautiful living –sometimes tantrum-throwing — diamonds, in their care five days a week ???
And, again, those are just some of the reasons that we are choosing to homeschool our children.
I think, from now on, when people get that glossy look and ask me why I have chosen to homeschool, instead of getting defensive, I’ll just give them the link to this post and call it another blessed, informational, beautiful, (hopefully) sunshine-y day!
(And, yes, my nickname in college was The Comma Queen!)
P.S. Someday, sooner than later, I aim to write a specific post on socialization, which seems to be one of, if not the most, talked about issue regarding homeschooling families.