We decided to home school our children, basically when we had children. I know that seems like a ‘off the cuff’ comment, but it is more or less true. I was convicted first, about my responsibly to the children, and I lobbied and convinced The Daddy. Originally we started out planning to home school for some pretty basic reasons:
- I believed it my God given role and responsibility
- Our local school district was very very poor
- I didn’t want to share my children
- I didn’t trust anyone else to take care of my children.
I did not want my child to be “just another kid” in a class of 20 or more; I wanted to raise my kids my way; I knew God had gifted me and my husband with these kids, not the school district. I could not conceive of sending my little boy away all day in to a room full of kids to be parented by strangers.
Before we started to home school I created a Family Educational Mission Statement. I strongly suggest any parent thinking about, weight the options, or wanting to home educate create a document summering your mission. Because that is what it is, a mission. Now, personally, I love words and I think well when writing, so mine Mission Statement is now, and started off, very detailed and complex. There is no reason that it has to be; a simple list of bullet point why you feel home is best, or what you are trying to accomplish at home is sufficient. Sit down and really think about it; both from a practical day-to-day point of view and also “the bigger picture” considering the role education plays in your children’s lives. Such an exercise really forces a parent to think about not only why they want to home school their kids but also specifically what you are trying to accomplish and why home is a better setting for your goals. It is helpful to have such a document to go back to; when the going gets tough, or you find yourself taking the easy path – to look at why you are home, why you are fighting over math, why you are challenging your 7 year old to learn Latin and so on. It is a real motivation; it is a tool for keeping on track. It also helps with the first jump into homeschooling. Mine never went to school, I never made a jump; but I know it is a challenge for parents that bring their kids home from out the house school, it is a challenge to really feel like they are capable. I blogged in detail about our decision in 2010. https://scribinglife.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/why-we-feel-homeschool-is-the-best-choice-for-our-family-part-1/ and https://scribinglife.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/540/
There are many many approaches to home schooling; we chose to “school at home” meaning we use text and work books and follow a daily schedule (mostly) and cover subjects mostly like a school would, just a school of two. I love our flexibility to do phonics at 6:30 am right after daddy goes to work, or at 11 after we get home from the park; but our school work does, mostly, look like the school work they would be doing in a classroom. That is our choice, and certainly not the only choice.
Now that we are 2.5 years in to our “official” journey of home education we have more reason to home school. Or maybe the reason we home school are just more become more salient to us.
- I know it my God given role and responsibility
- I want to watch my children learn
- I want to challenge my kids individually
- I want them safe from school violence (and I don’t just mean the statically infrequent shootings though I do have strong feeling about them)
- I want to meet my children’s particular needs and not make them beholden to a classroom full of peers
- I want to keep our expectations of the children age sensitive and I feel classroom management does not allow for children (especially young children) to be children
I may be a rare bird; most of my friends that home school, started from a place of “doubt” wondering if they really could “do it”. I never suffered those thoughts. I was either silly in my over-confidence, so just so blessed by families I knew that homeschooled that I accepted home education as normal and always assumed I could handle it. I can handle the 3rd meltdown of the day before 9 am and I can handle grammar.
I have always been of the opinion that parents teach their kids to walk to talk, to look both ways at a street; there is no reason a parent can not teach their child to read, their math facts or world history. I see home education as a natural progression for a family. Parents do not lose their ability to teach and train their children when the child reaches 5 or 6 years of age. I have never been a believer of the “profession” of teacher as somehow more capable or able than a parent. (I do respect the profession of the teacher in their role, in out of home education, teaching many different students and managing a classroom; I just don’t think they, one-on-one, do anything I can’t do)
I admit as we have home schooled and as my children have gotten older my focus has changed; where as I started homeschooling with the selfish feeling of not wanting to share my children with a stranger 35+ hours a day, and did not want school to run our lives. Now I realize that my son would not flourish in a classroom like he is at home. At home he / we have had time to focus on some other challenges while taking school more slowly. At home we have had the ability to limit stress without sacrificing his education. Having my boys home has meant we can go to OT or to ST or to whatever other appointments and not have to miss class time or to create more make up work. Homeschooling has allowed me to know my children and for us to make progress that would have been slowed or missed if we rushed around in the morning trying to get to school on time, if they were gone 7:30 am to 3 pm, and if they were home just in time eat dinner, struggle over home work, and get ready for bed.
I do not mean to imply homeschooling is easy; it isn’t. But, then again, parenting is not easy.
A few blogs of mine that you might find relevant: