Have you looked at the calendar lately? It’s April. Sheesh!! When did that happen? In just under two months, we are going to be done with school for the year. Lily will be a second grader. Henry will be in Pre-K. I will have home schooled for two years and I actually want to do it for another year!
I was browsing through the different categories on my blog the other night and realized I had written very few posts about homeschooling. Though homeschooling takes up a big chunk of my day, I rarely blog about it.
I never intended this to be a “homeschooling blog”; but I felt like I should write a little bit more about such a big part of our lives. Maybe the reason why I chose not to write a “homeschooling blog” is because I never intended to homeschool.
If you followed my previous blog, Sock Monkey Tales, you read about our decision to home school and how it was not an easy one. ( And one of these days I’ll get around to transferring all those blog posts from my old blog to this one.)
So I wanted to share the main reason we initially decided to homeschool, the reason I don’t often share, and why we home school now.
When we first began “tinkering” with the idea of homeschooling, I asked so many home schooling friends why they decided to do it. I read blog post after blog post of homeschooling mom’s reasons of why they chose to educate their children this way. It was such a foreign idea to me, I think I wanted to make sure I was “normal” for considering this as a real option for our family.
Don’t be afraid to take an unfamiliar path,
sometimes they’re the ones that take you to the best places.
I had been an elementary teacher for 13 years and the thought of homeschooling was just completely, 100%, absolutely something I thought I would never do. I had no desire to home school. Why, when there was real school? And school was amazing! And how would Lily get to go to recess and class holiday parties if she wasn’t in school?
But because we felt public school was not an option for our family and we were living on one income, sending our sweet little Lily to a Christian school was financially not an option. Basically, it came down to money.
If only we’d had a money tree!!
(Now, before I go on. I don’t hate public school, at all. Teachers are amazing! In the private or public setting. My sister – in- law is a first grade teacher in a public school. I wish she could be Lily’s teacher! If she lived closer, that would be a possibility. This isn’t a post about public vs. private school so, I’ll move on.)
We knew I needed to stay home with Little H, who was very little at the time. I knew I was capable of homeschooling. I just thought that she would miss out on so much if I didn’t send her to traditional school.
I thought our families would think we were crazy. I was completely wrong. In fact, the reaction was opposite. I was honestly surprised that The Hubs had jumped on board this wild idea, with no hesitation. When we approached our families with the idea, they didn’t bat an eye. My dad, who for some reason I really thought would disapprove, thought it was an excellent idea.
I prayed and prayed. I basically was asking God to change my heart and give me peace because I was the only one who was having a hard time with the idea.
Now at this time, The Hub’s work schedule was such that it would end up being the exact opposite of her school schedule. The new police officer in a department always gets the worst shift. This is just the way it is. Everyone has to do their time.
I looked at our lives and how it would play out if we sent her to school. We’d have to come up with money we didn’t have. And if that was even possible, Lily and her dad would not see each other very much. That was just not negotiable for us. All of a sudden, it just seemed ridiculous not to homeschool. I put it in God’s hands and asked Him to help me not doubt the direction He was obviously leading out family. I asked Him to help me trust Him, even when I couldn’t see how everything would play out.
So, with The Hubs and I in agreement and his constant encouragement (and my family’s), we decided to homeschool.
Homeschooling was not how I thought it would be……at all. I laugh as I type this because all my misconceptions about homeschooling were that just that….. misconceptions. I’ll get to that in a minute, though.
Can I tell you the real reason I’m happy I home school, though? Can I tell you the reason that I expressed; but never thought it was a strong enough reason to stand on it’s own?
When I finally “gave in” to the idea that we were really doing this, I breathed a sigh of relief. Why? Because now I didn’t “have to” send my 5 year old off everyday for seven hours a day and not see or talk to her. I was honestly dreading the fact that this was it. Our time together at home was over. I didn’t want to send her off; but I knew that that is just what parents do.
I know parents who would like to have their kids home with them and it’s just not possible. I know parents who feel like they would lose their minds if their kids didn’t go off to school everyday. I know many parents who think that they are not capable of homeschooling. I don’t judge what’s right or wrong for others. I wasn’t homeschooled and I think I turned out okay. Most of my adult friends were not homeschooled and they’ve turned out just fine.
But all of a sudden I had a choice. And while the thought of homeschooling and all the unknowns scared me. The thought of having her at home, thrilled me.
And those misconceptions? Well, I thought homeschooling would be easier!
It’s hard work. You are trying to balance school, often teaching more than one child and so more than one grade, and home life all at once. You are doing this simultaneously and without a break because school and home meld into one. There is no recess break because you are the recess teacher, too! You have the weight of making the decisions for the whole of your child’s education. That can be daunting at times. Yet, all the good and all the benefits outweigh the hard work.
What about the the good? There are so many great things about homeschooling that now, after 2 years, I’ve come to realize. To fully express those ideas would require a whole other post. The freedom we have in our schedule, the time we get to spend together as a family, the fact that I get to choose what Lily learns, the idea that we can go as fast or slow as she needs to learn and that I allow her to learn in the style that best suits her. These are all the things that keep me doing it, that keep The Hubs determined to encourage me when I’m tired or burned out.
Yet, it all comes down to the fact that I love being with my girl (and let’s not forget about Little H!) and teaching her. God used the obstacle of money that we could not overcome on our own to give us a gift we could not see Him extending out to us. Isn’t that like Him? We can’t see past our noses most of the time; but God can see the whole picture. We usually just have to get out of our own way.
If both my kids put on backpacks tomorrow and headed out the door to school, would it be the end of the world?
No. It would be fine. God would continue to work in our family, knit us together and we would be happy.
But that’s not what He has for us now. Most mornings, we will get up and watch a couple of cartoons, cuddle for a bit and eat our breakfasts. Then we will gather around the kitchen table, talk about our calendar and have Bible time. And so our day will begin. Some days it will look a lot like school (if bringing your favorite blanket to the table each day looks like school) and some days it will look nothing like it.
I’m okay with that. I’m okay that things don’t look the way I thought they would. Because we are exactly where we should be.