Parent

On Homeschooling

On our first date, my now husband sat across from me eating a burger. Things were going great, he was cute, we were clicking. Then…

“Yeah, I’m gonna home school my kids.”

Then I made this face…

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(This is me now and I’m eating a scone, because I want to and I don’t care about how fattening it is bc I’m old.)
…and said, “Negative. Ghostwriter. I will be the best PTA mom you’ve ever seen. BOOM. Hashtag Public School Forever…” 

Except not really. Because I actually made this face…

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(except I had 10 years less of forehead “laugh lines” and was trying a bit harder.)
…and said nothing. Which is a good thing and not at all deceitful on my part because as it turns out, homeschooling was something of a deal breaker for the Cute Tall Guy.

So over the next few years we eventually did talk and argue it out, (once in front of his buddy at a college football game, sorry, Gomez).  I eventually convinced him that arguing over imaginary children was crazy and that I would agree to pray on it, thinking that God would change his mind because, obviously I was right.

Thus learning my first marriage lesson: I’m not always right.

So now. 9 years, 4 houses, 2 dogs, and 4 kids later, here I am, a homeschool mom. We are currently in year two with our oldest and oodles of free play and some Sesame Street for our youngest three (who are 4, and twin 20 month olds).

WHY we chose homeschool…

So, what changed my mind?

First and foremost, the state of our education changed my mind-namely teaching for tests and class sizes. While I realize that there are excellent public schools and public school teachers (many of whom are my dear friends), no one knows my daughter and how her mind works better than us.  Although I made good grades and was really well-behaved, I daydreamed my days away from kinder to grad school-relearning nearly everything at home.  And no one noticed. I discovered that I was a kinesthetic learner and also that I probably had attention deficits, when I was half way through my Master’s degree. My oldest and likely our second learn the same way I do. For that reason, I don’t want them to slip through the cracks in a large classroom with lots of different learning styles and even different learning levels.

Secondly, I don’t want to be restricted by school schedules: daily, weekly, and monthly. This sounds selfish. But truthfully, when we focus first thing on lessons, our daily school regimin takes up about 2 hours. With the rest of our day and time, we’d prefer to do what we please, whether that’s free play, field trips, reading, or traveling. With home school, we are afforded that freedom. I think that often, culturally we get easily swept up in norms and it’s hard to step back and say, “wait, does my kid have to be in a building with other kids their age all day everyday in order to best learn?”  For some the answer is yes, for others the answer is no. And all of that is ok!

Finally, while we will expose our kids to other world views, it’s important to me that they learns ours from us. I know that is offensive to a lot of people. But I spent my whole childhood and through college feeling like a minority in terms of my worldview and beliefs. That’s fine, it certainly made me stronger in my faith, and taught me how to dig deep and really make my beliefs my own. But it was exhausting as a child, and I believe unnecessary.

Regardless of what we believe, I doubt any parent really wants their kid to believe things 100% contrary to their own worldview. My kids will have a lifetime to adopt views contrary to mine. But while they live with me, it makes sense that I teach them what I believe.

HOW we homeschool…

When the Cute Tall Guy and I first talked about homeschooling, I thought, “UGGGGGHHHHHH. All day every day at HOMMMMMEEEEE??? BLARRRRRG.” But luckily, this is not Little House on the Prairie. Home schooling in 2016 comes with options, from co-ops to college prep classes to fine arts academies.

For Kindergarten we taught little Miss Big Kid completely at home. But for first grade, we are taking advantage of two different schools in our area geared toward home school families. Both are college prep and allow not only for students to experience different teachers and different kiddos every hour, but they allow us to pick and choose the classes our family needs in much smaller classroom settings. Both schools cost our family the equivalent of less than two weeks of groceries.

CONFESSION…

I am still a super reluctant home school mom. There are days I feel very sure of our decisions and methods. But much like other aspects of parenting, most days are an experiment. We are muddling our way through this and trying to make the right decisions for our family, and learning how to be flexible!

You probably won’t find printable charts and organization here. (“You probably won’t” is Texas for “you won’t.”) You won’t find long posts about things being precious and loving every moment of this journey and me knowing what I’m doing. I’m the one scouring the internet for ideas and asking my creative friends for help. I’m not cut out to be a Super Duper Hero Homeschool mom. Some moments I love, and some moments look more like this:

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Day 3 back at the books…3 minutes in. No this is not end of the day exhaustion.
But here’s my confession-we’re doing this because for our kid(s), it’s the right decision. And isn’t that what mommin’ it up is all about: making the right calls for your kids? And our decisions will likely change and expand throughout the years, as we have four kids who are all different.

Stay tuned for more real life confessions, up and downs. Happy Friday and may your school days be grand-public, private, or home.

***I went to public school until grad school and loved every moment of it.  I don’t at all begrudge my parents for their decision and actually feel like it was the right decision for me. I still think public school is a great option for many kids and I won’t even think I’ll have to eat any words some day if our kids go to school. But for NOW we are home.

 

3 thoughts on “On Homeschooling

  1. I know homeschooling is a great option, and we applaud you and Matt for trying it. Yes, it is difficult, and a great responsibility, but you named the pluses, and the fact that you can adapt it to your kid so much easier than what a teacher can with 25t kids is an advantage. I don’t know if you have looked into Classical Conversations or not, but in Oct., Michelle will be there, and you can pick her brain, but she has done that with all of her five boys, and two of them are in college now doing well. I know it has a great history component which has a timeline that incorporates and overlays Biblical history with secular history. They memorize a lot with music, and your kids would easily learn that way! Don’t get discouraged. It is a very flexible way to teach, and in these ” last days” I think it is a great way to raise up the Joshua generation we need! You know your limits, and Linda and Renee and Mary put their kids in public later, but I think and know that homeschooling is valuable, and the socialization goes on with church, sports, musical, and other homeschooled family activities. There are so many options…go to your state homeschool convention too! I have thoroughly enjoyed the speakers and displays and used curriculum and book sales they have there! God bless y’all as you teach and grow with your kids! Love y’all, Karen

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  2. This is nicely written Anna. I really enjoyed it. And I agree, every kid is different and we as parents are their first advocate. We’ve personally had to make decisions on whats best for our kids and it seemed so hard, but we as the parents knew our gut was right and it was. On top of that I’ve got three kids with completely different DNA making our job to be even more vigilant of individual needs. I loved your perspective. Thanks for sharing!

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