I love homeschooling.
I know a lot of parents count down the days until their children run off to be indoctrinated into the system that promises them success at every turn, only to churn them out with few real life experiences and a piece of paper, but I’m not that type of parent. While I sent my sons to school seventeen and eighteen years ago, I cried when they left. It seems wrong that children must leave the home at the tender age of five or six. Childhood is short on its own without sending our babies away for most of the day. By the time my sons got home, we spent an hour on homework, they ate dinner, played a little and were off to bed because we had to get up before six o’clock so I could get to work on time.
I swore if I ever had another child, I’d stay home and (hopefully) homeschool. And I’m thankful that have done just that.
Homeschooling is not easy.
Homeschooling is so easy.
Seriously, I could say either of these sentences with absolute honesty, it just depends on the day. Some days we have a blast and my daughter is so engrossed in what she’s doing that we can bust through Math, Science, History, and Language Arts in no time, then she plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Start on her keyboard, helps me in our vegetable garden, and ends her day drawing while watching a movie.
Other days, it takes her two hours to get through Math, because she has to get her drawings just right for the word problem. It’s not that she doesn’t know the answer to the problem, she does and often has the number sentence written out. It’s the drawing that must be perfect. She’s an artistic child, what can I say? Sometimes I want to hurry her, just so we can move on, but I have to rein that back, because I never ever want to squelch her love of art.
And by the way, she insisted that this soccer game include girls, so we rewrote it to includes boys and girls.
Still other days, we spend most of our days doing whatever strikes our fancy, or we visit the aquarium, or go hiking, or play outside, and we don’t get to the “homeschool stuff” until the evening. Sometimes we take entire days off and just have fun.
Dancing in the rain for the Summer solstice was fun!
Why I love homeschooling
You can design your own schedule or just don’t have one at all! Who says you need a schedule? If your child is into it, you can cover the entire Science curriculum first, then cover math, then move on to the other subjects. You can follow the public school calendar or you can make up your own based on your family’s needs. You can homeschool year ’round, or part-year. Who cares? As long as you’re documenting for your school, as required by law, then just have fun with it.
About documentation. This varies by state and you should contact your local public school district or Department of Education to see what the requirements are. Where I live, Children are not required to go to school until they turn six years old by August 1 of that school year. My daughter’s birthday is in September, so even though she is five and a half now, she doesn’t have to attend school this fall. For me, this was great news and meant that we have even more time to simply have fun with homeschool and to practice documenting as we go. Find your state’s homeschool requirements here.
We homeschool year ’round, simply because I don’t want my daughter to think of learning as being compartmentalized over there, while real life is over here. I want her to know that learning is natural. She’s learning all the time and she doesn’t need a book or a map, or a math equation to be learning. She’s a child. Children are born learning. Homeschooling year ’round also enables us to travel, which is another major reason my husband and I decided to homeschool. Being able to take her along on our travels is such a precious gift. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is nothing short of magical. So far this year we’ve had the opportunity to take her with us to Las Vegas, Chicago, West Virginia, Pittsburg, and Gatlinburg. She’s a wonderful traveler.
Below: fun times in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
What About Curriculum?
Just as you can make up your own schedule, you can also create your own curriculum, buy a ready-made curriculum, follow your local public school curriculum, or forgo the curriculum completely and follow an Unschooling model! The choice is yours. We lean toward Unschooling, but I did purchase a curriculum from BookShark. It’s super flexible, with a four-day schedule, and it came with so many amazing resources! We add to and take away as needed and my daughter loves it. We recently bought their Hands-On History kit as well, so Kathryn has been busy building a log house with craft sticks, and she even built a car. The car wasn’t art of the lessons we were covering, but she wanted to do it, and I let her.
Above: Because we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods and Little Pear, she is constructing a log house from the Hands-On History kit.
How Do I Know If homeschooling Is Right for My Family?
1. You enjoy spending time with your child. This is crucial.
2. You have questions or concerns regarding public school system and haven’t gotten the answers you need from school administrators or teachers.
3. You also love sharing learning with your child.
4. You need a more flexible schedule than what conventional school provides.
5. You have noticed that your child seems disinterested in school, is fearful of going to school, or any other concerns for your child’s learning that you don’t feel are being resolved within the school.
If you agree to the above, then homeschool is very likely a great fit for your family.
But I Don’t Know How to Teach!
I’m a former teacher and I swear, I spend more time trying to unlearn the stuff I was taught than I actually use. Learning doesn’t require a teacher. If the child runs into something that is difficult, he or she will ask for help. If you don’t feel comfortable with such a freestyle method, a curriculum like BookShark will come in handy.
Your love and devotion to your child will reap loads. The one-on-one attention your child will get from you will top any of the strained, rushed attention they would get from over-worked and under-assisted teachers.
Remember this –
Just because you start homeschooling doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. Homeschool is an option for facilitating learning. Just like public school isn’t the only way to help kids learn, neither is homeschooling. If you or your child decides homeschool isn’t for you, you can always look at alternatives and use the homeschool curriculum to supplement their learning. Either way, your child wins.
Every day may not be easy, but every single second of watching your child learn and grow is absolutely worth it.