I’m learning that each family has their own reason for homeschooling. And your original reasons for homeschooling may not be what your reasons are now.
If someone would have told me 2 years ago that I would probably be homeschooling the girls now, I would have laughed in their face. It was never anything I desired to do. My oldest has always been whiny and dramatic, so I didn’t know if I could handle being with her 24/7 and if she would even learn from me.
Both my husband and I went to public school and that is what we planned to do for our kids. We briefly checked into a local Christian school but it was way too much money for us to spend. Our oldest daughter did go to a Christian preschool for 2 years, but that tuition was a bit more manageable. Then she went on to Kindergarten at a public school. It is a great and quality public school. Her teacher was a sweet Christian lady. We honestly didn’t have much to complain about as far as her education and the school, except that maybe it was a bit crowded and hardly ever a parking space available on party or program days.
She made friends. Although there was drama with some of the friends. Yes, even in Kindergarten. Like I mentioned though C is a bit dramatic so who knows how much of the friend drama really happened. She started the Kindergarten year riding the bus. This meant she left a half an hour at least before school started and got home at least a half an hour to 45 minutes after school was out. After about 2 weeks of her riding the bus, we realized how much more time we would have together if I just took her and picked her up. Plus a few extra minutes of sleep was a perk! My husband thought I was being too soft by taking her (probably because his mom, uncle and Grandpa were bus drivers). But each day was a struggle. She never wanted me to leave. She would cry and cry. If I bribed her by taking her to lunch, she would cry when we dropped her back off after lunch. It was a daily thing. And it had been a daily thing even in preschool. Her preschool teachers used to peel her off of me so I could leave. She always settled down a few minutes later, but it broke my mommy heart every single day to walk away while she cried.
So on Spring Break last year we had the best time in Gatlinburg as a family. And maybe it was partly my crazy pregnant hormones, but I actually had the idea to homeschool. I knew we were having so much fun on vacation together and I thought why can’t everyday be like this? Why do I need to send her off to school? Why do I have to let her “cry it out” and “get over it”? Why does she have to be away from me?
So our reason for starting to homeschool was:
1. To be closer to her since she had anxiety leaving me. There is no set rule that we HAVE to make our kids learn the hard way and at such a young age to be away from us. Why has society decided this is right? It doesn’t have to be the way it is. She isn’t a “baby” for wanting to be with her mom a little longer. But I can guarantee she would likely get teased in the future if she continued in public school and cried when I dropped her off.
And now, we have many more reasons for continuing to homeschool:
2. School shootings. These shootings are happening far too often and too close to home for my comfort. My heart aches anytime I read or hear about another one. I know I can’t completely protect my kids from evil people. But by homeschooling the girls, I can protect them a bit from school shootings.
3. Flexibility. Before this year, I didn’t know how much flexibility would play in our journey, but boy did we need it. We started homeschooling toward the beginning of July 2017. We had our 3rd baby girl on July 31. It took us a bit to adjust to having a newborn baby around. Then in October, I fell and broke my ankle pretty bad. Again, another adjustment. Mommy couldn’t just drive them places or get them things to eat, etc. I was down for almost 3 months! Then in December, my dad got diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. My girls and I are so close to my parents and it was a big blow. So flexibility has been a key to this year. We’ve had life happen so much on top of normal errands and appointments. We have been able to school around life happening. If there was a day that too much was going on, we would take a day off. And many days, we would school in the afternoon when one or two kids were sleeping.
3. I get to choose what my kids learn. If you follow me, you will soon find out I’m a bit obsessed with figuring out curriculum. There is so much good stuff out there! The possibilities are endless! But on top of that, I can choose if I want curriculum to be Christian based or secular. I can choose if I want the girls to learn geography or history. I can choose the style. I can add in Bible lessons. Or a foreign language. I don’t have a public school making those choices for us and even teaching things against our beliefs. I’m not attempting to shelter my kids, but I do want to “raise up a child in the way he should go” as the Bible says.
I also get to teach my kids at their level. If they are advanced in one area, we can fly forward. Or if there is an area we need to review more, we can do that too! We don’t have to follow the lesson plan and my kids won’t be held back waiting on others to catch up.
4. No school fundraisers, supplies, or other things I have to spend money on. True, I am still spending money on curriculum and other things, but I get a choice in where this money is going. My girls don’t NEED certain school supplies or a backpack or uniforms. I don’t have to pay for a netbook or for field trips. And fundraisers! We got envelopes several times last year asking for donations and the kids got prizes. And of course Cora wanted to earn all the prizes. I like getting to choose where our money is invested.
5. The girls are forced to play together. Before we homeschooled, the girls played together a bit, but by the time C got home, did homework, ate supper and took a bath, there was very little time for them to actually play together. Now they can play together throughout the day. They play dolls together. Jump on the trampoline together. Play in the sprinkler together. Sure they fight, but they also do way more together than they used to. I can see them becoming best friends, even if they won’t admit it.
6. No strict bedtime or wake up time. I hated bedtime and a set waking up at a certain time last year. C was almost always in a bad mood when she woke up and we butted heads a lot in the mornings when I was trying to get her moving faster. I hated it. Plus it was so stressful to get her in bed at a certain time so that she wouldn’t be too horrible the next day. We had to stop going to our midweek kids program at church because it would be too late getting home for her on those nights since we live 20 minutes from our church. We do still try to get the girls in bed by 8 every night, but it isn’t a huge deal if it is later. And ironically, they actually wake up around the time C had to be awake last year. The only difference is she can wake up on her own. Not with me dragging her out of bed!
7. Vacations and parks. We aren’t bound by school breaks for traveling. We can travel more in off seasons which results in fewer crowds and sometimes even saving money! We are also able to head to the parks on days when kids are in school. It isn’t as much fun to head to the parks during the summer days when they are really crowded!
8. Co ops. It is a myth about homeschooling kids lacking socialization. We have always been involved in our church, so I knew even if we did nothing else, my girls would be just fine. They have a good group of friends at church and really enjoy being involved. But I wanted to try out a Co-op. Many of them around the area require parents to be involved with teaching or set up. Knowing we had a toddler and a newborn, I didn’t think I could make too much of a commitment. We came across the Co-op CHOICE. It meets less than 10 minutes from our house and there are already set mentors (teachers), so parents aren’t required to teach! They do require us to stay in the church while kids are in classes. Thankfully there is a nursery. There are many classes to choose from and usually I let Cora make 2 choices. She has done PE, choir, tumbling and a sewing class. She has been finding things she likes and doesn’t like. She is taking classes with kids not just in her grade or age group. I’m so thankful we have found this co-op! It does cost money (nothing is free, right? 😁), But it is worth it. And the mom’s of this co-op have been so great. When there is a mom down, whether sick, bedrest or broken ankle 😉, they will make a meal train or a sunshine basket. It was such a sweet blessing to be a recipient of this basket last fall after my broken ankle. A huge basket full of items for me and the girls even though many didn’t even know us in the first semster. I must say, I love that our area has such a huge and great homeschooling community. It makes this journey so much better.
9. I get to be with my girls and watch them grow. I know not everyone gets this pleasure. But lately I am learning how blessed I am that I get to be the one teaching them and seeing them grow. I can see them through the milestones. I no longer feel like I’m getting the leftovers of C’s energy. Every night while doing homework…we struggled. Her energy was drained by being at school for so many hours. She was tired and I didn’t get to experience the best version of her. But now, I do.
10. We can be outside more and school anywhere! We never used to spend a lot of time outside. We spent most evenings inside when she got home. But now, we love it! As soon as the weather started getting nicer, we started going outside as much as possible. They jump on the trampoline, play with chalk or bubbles and a new favorite is to turn on the sprinkler and play in the mud. We also love doing picnics! I usually go sit outside in a chair or on a blanket. If it is a school day, I pack up the curriculum and bring it outside. C will take breaks from playing and sit down to do work. This is also the case if we need to be at my parents’ house or somewhere else. It is so easy to load up the things we need and do school anywhere.
So there are now 10 reasons for us to homeschool. I can’t believe we have completed our first year and now plan to keep going! It hasn’t been all peachy everyday. In fact, there were probably more days than not (especially in the beginning) that I threatened her with going back to public school. I think she is learning to respect me in a different way. We are gradually getting out of the public school mindset of schedule and needing to do “school” a certain way. The girls drive me bonkers most days too, but I still love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
So now I’m curious. What are your reasons for wanting to homeschool? My reasons may not look like your reasons, but they are important to think about just the same!