As a former teacher, I have struggled with the question of if homeschooling was truly right for our family. I started asking myself “How do I want my children to grow up and how do I want them to learn?” And I wavered over and over, even sending our oldest toKindergarten and the first semester of 1st grade at a local private school.
Have you thought about how your kids and grandkids are going to learn? The environment that they will sit in everyday? The food they will be fed? The attitudes they will face? The ideas, theories, agendas, politics, health, and nutrition they will be taught?
Personally, seeing how so many schools look to teach to the middle, I realized that if my daughter is not “average” she probably will not get a focused education. What it does is force those that are behind to try to rise up and those that are ahead to be bored.
So why make the decision to homeschool?
This has everything to do with not wanting my kids to be fed food that does not promote their well-being. From juice that’s not really juice to sugar and candy and other food that I have no intentions of giving my children… especially not a a regular basis. Also, I don’t want my kids to sit in a chair all day if they could be up, playing, and moving around. This makes the learning experience better and more enjoyable.
Setting the Standard and Eliminating the Problem before it happens.
Kids fight. Teachers say mean things to students even when they do not mean to do so. So on and so forth. This is not to say I don’t want my kids to know how to deal with adversity. However, I do want my kids to be treated how I would like them to be treated. I know that I “turtled” if a teacher did not treat me with respect and therefore I did not thrive or learn like I could have in that class. There are better ways to learn adversity that to feel completely mistreated, left out, and alone. Creating this environment in the home builds self-confidence and boosters both physical and mental health!
The state of our world.
Not to say I want my children to be isolated. By no means will that ever happen. But, I will say again, I was a teacher. I know what already happens in schools and don’t really like it. I mean HS girls were doing what I would have never even dreamed of doing my senior year of college. My parents are/were even elementary school teachers and after 30+ years they can attest to the change in students, behavior, and environment over that time… so what will it be like over the next 25 years as my children grow up?
This means my children can learn how they learn best. We can spend days outside enjoying nature, or cuddled up inside enjoying each other. I can go as fast or as slow as needed. I can ensure that they don’t get flustered or upset, but that they learn and love the process.
Experiences beyond the Norm.
I can teach my children to garden while teaching them about nature and natural sciences. I can teach them math and fractions as they learn to cook. I can teach them to sew and weave as they learn more fine motor skills. I can teach them to play musical instruments and speak foreign languages even when they are very young. But in the end, it’s not teaching, it’s learning. And they really will love the process.
Utilize the Community.
We like local. We want to support local. Our kids can go to the zoo on days that aren’t busy and to the Science Museum whatever day they want just to learn. I can take my classroom anywhere and everywhere and I can teach using the greatest local resources. We can go see shrunken heads at the Western Heritage Museum or some of Hitler’s possessions at the 145th Infantry Museum. We can look at bones at the Osteology Museum and fossils at the Museum of Natural history. What kid would want to look at a picture in a book over going and exploring? Plus, we are supporting local venues by visiting these great resources. And actually, many of them are free!
Learning Styles and Testing.
I will be able to adapt my children’s education to their learning styles. I can test them based on what they know and not what they don’t. They will learn to love to succeed not hate to fail.
We can educate anywhere, even on vacation. (Because remember, it’s fun!) We can go all year, we can take breaks, or we can even have our kids graduate early if they love learning that much. They set the pace, not the school. And there is no pride or shame in how fast or slow a child learns. It’s simply learning.
I love my kids.
Yes we all do. I am not slamming anyone who sends their kid to school. I just want to spend time with my kids while I can and while they’re young and build lasting memories we will all enjoy and appreciate.
And while it may not apply to everyone, my final reason is I am a teacher. I am a Mom. They both are my life’s dreams and passions. My college education will be going to good use. Of all the schools in the area, I have only really been interested in one. It only goes to 8th grade and it is around $14k per year per child. Considering if I only had two kids going there that it would have been about my salary as a teacher… I can give my kids (however many I have) the education I desire for them cheaper than if I sent them to a good school. I am already building a curriculum, embracing Montessori, and preparing in general.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!