“I will never ever homeschool!”
”Kids need to learn from someone else besides their parents. And I don’t think my kids will learn well from me!”
”I can’t wait till all my kids are in school! My house will be clean and I can workout again!”
”Christians need to stay in the public schools!”
”I want my kids to be put out into ‘the world’, while they will still care about my opinion about it.”
These were my responses to anyone who asked my opinion about homeschooling… and some people who didn’t ask, because I’m a jerk like that. And I still think all of these things.
But we are homeschooling anyway. Because I feel something else.
But first, here are NOT some of the reasons we are homeschooling…
- Common Core. I don’t mind common core (gasp). I’m not saying I love it, but I don’t think it’s the end of the world. I also think it wasn’t presented well to the schools. They should have rolled it out from the bottom up – kindergarten and first grade, then adding a grade (or two) a year. Then kids would work their way up with the new learning style. AND this Holocaust assignment was beyond offensive. I get the idea behind it, but how about a different event – the space landing would have been more appropriate. Anything would have been.
- I missed my kids. I adore my kids, but I didn’t miss them while they were at school.
- Christian Education. I’m a Christian, but I don’t care if my kids have a Christian education (gasp). Christian education comes from the home, and specifically from the parents. Period. End of story. Here’s a great book all about that: Spiritual Parenting.
- School shootings. Someone asked me that. Nope, but here is a post I wrote about them.
“So why the hay are you homeschooling?” (you’re thinking)
Eli summed it up perfectly on his last day of public school. He said, “Mom, we had a bad year.” How sad is that!?! What sweet first grader should have a bad year? But, he was right. We had a bad year.
Logistically school was difficult. I had two different drop-off times and two different pick-up times for Eli and Cora Jane. I had to coordinate those four trips to the school (and four trips home) with the Cyrus and Tessa’s naps and meal times and errands and daily home responsibilities. I know hundreds thousands of women do this too. AND they have to balance working outside the home and a so much more. But for me, this was a lot. I felt like I was a failure everyday, from the dirty looks I got from the office when I picked up Eli late AGAIN, to the guilt over running through McDonalds AGAIN to get the little kids fed quickly before nap time.
I found Eli needed a different way to learn. We all respond better to different styles of learning and Eli wasn’t picking up anything with the traditional education style. At all. In fact, the only thing sticking was his frustration and anxiety about school and homework. My bright boy who can solve a Rubik’s cube couldn’t sound out the word “a-n-d.” He was defeated. He was saying, “I’m not smart… everyone else can do this…I’m dumb.” I get it, a teacher with 28 kids in his/her class can’t cater to the learning style of one child. But I can.
Homework took too much time. Kids are at school for six hours. SIX HOURS. Do they really need homework in elementary school? Well, I suppose kids like Eli do. If a child isn’t grasping the information in those six hours, the new information needs to be learned/reinforced at home with homework. So Eli was at school for six hours then I had to work with him one-on-one just to stay with the class. So why waste those six hours? No point. At least that’s what I think.
We wanted to do extra curricular activities and we couldn’t justify the cost or family time. We have a big family, so I wanted a family band. Obviously. Wait, how much are guitar lessons? Ummm… how about the piano… mmmmm… we’ll just do soccer like every other family in Orange County. The price isn’t so bad… but times that by 4 kids and subtract the family time that is eaten up with early Saturday games and evening practices after a SIX HOUR day of school, during the week. And Brad and I would have to divide and conquer to get all our kids to their specific practices. Eeek. I’m overwhelmed. So we never did anything. But we are using a homeschool charter for our home school program, and we get $1,500 per child per year for extra curricular activities and non-religious curriculum. And since we aren’t spending six hours at school everyday, we can do those activities during the day. No rushed weeknight dinners or feeling overwhelmed about getting everything done after school.
Attendance. Last year we took a two week road trip during the school year. Eli was in kindergarten, so it wasn’t a big deal to miss that time. But this year Eli missed over a month of school because of his asthma, it was a bigger deal. And as time passes, attendance will only become more important. With homeschool I’m not limited by the school year calendar. In fact, I’m not limited by anything.
Even with these reasons for homeschooling, I could have just chocked it up to a “bad year” and trucked on to the next. I mean it wasn’t horrible, and next year both my big kids would have been on the same schedule. A lot of the stress involved with my day would have been gone with that simple change. Thousands of people get to school, and juggle activities everyday. Millions. But Brad and I kept going back to one thought.
We want a slower pace of life.
Homeschool wouldn’t have even been on the table if my mom hadn’t died last year. Really. I love public school.
I love assemblies, and scholastic book orders, and new back packs, and passing notes, and cubbies, and big buddies, and school bus field trips, and class parties, and all the wonderful experiences a child gets in the public school system. I have to mourn a bit that my kids are missing those things, and that I won’t get to be a parent at a public school.
But I want something different.
I don’t want to be rushed during this short life of mine.
I don’t want to feel overwhelmed everyday.
I want so be present in every moment.
I want to quit the rushing, and busywork in our home.
I want all our decisions for our family to lend to a slower pace of life.
And right now, for this season, homeschool is the answer.
(Next post will tell all about our first week!)