Sunday, March 30, 2008

Home Education Week - Day 1

Share your personal history…before you were a home educator. What was life like? Think about things you miss and things you and your family have gained.

As our oldest daughter approached kindergarten age, I never had any doubt that we would soon be shopping for school supplies and going through the traditional ritual of dropping my little angel at the door of her classroom and waiting for her to come skipping home with stories of new teachers and friends. In my limited experience, homeschooling was a fringe practice that was used as a desperate last resort to get kids away from the wrong friends or by control freaks who were trying to completely isolate their children from non-Christian influences. Neither of those things were happening in my little world, so it never even crossed my mind except as a freakish thing a few other people did to ruin their children.

Yep, I was real open-minded.

Just before K turned four, we moved to a new state and I found a friend. Who homeschooled. Since I didn’t know anyone, she graciously invited me along to all her summer social activities. With other homeschoolers. As I got to know these women and spent time around their kids, the whole homeschooling concept became just a little less weird. And then the next spring rolled around and it was time to enroll K in school and Mr. at Home shocked me by saying he thought we should look into homeschooling.

<crickets chirping>


I started asking questions of my homeschooling friends and immediately got overwhelmed. I mean, have you SEEN the amount of curriculum choices out there?!? So I enrolled K in school and Mr. at Home was not happy. He did a little more convincing and we came up with a compromise. K would take two classes at our local university-model private school and I would do the rest at home. After all, we had finally gotten a date to go to China to adopt our youngest daughter and it would be really hard on K to start school, miss 3 weeks, then spend the rest of the year trying to adjust to school *and* a new sister.

So we finished our kindergarten year, switched to the A Beka DVD program for first grade, and then to the A Beka traditional program for second grade. Each year, I find that I am enjoying homeschooling more than thought possible. I still don’t have high idealistic reasons for homeschooling, though I do like those benefits. I simply love the schedule flexibility we have. We keep our daily commitments at a minimum, which gives us plenty of time to just hang out or pursue something that interests us. The girls get plenty of rest and plenty of playtime and as a result, they have a great relationship. We get most of our outside classes and activities done during the day, leaving our evenings free to spend time together as a family. Our flexible schedule also allows us to travel more. We can take off and visit our family and friends in Texas or tag along with Daddy on business trips. We visit zoos and museums and take advantage of the many, many homeschooling opportunities here in NC.

Now of course, homeschooling does have its disadvantages. Sometimes all that togetherness makes me want to pull my hair out. I’ve learned to tune out a lot of things because they never stop talking. Every trip to the store or doctor includes two bored, crazy kids. The house is never clean because we’re always here messing it up. But even with all that, I love that we homeschool.

And I don’t think we’re ruining our kids.

To read more posts on this topic by other homeschoolers, go to the Principled Discovery blog post and follow Mr. Linky.


Pufferfish Mommy said...

I know what you mean about "they never stop talking"!!! It's true, they don't! I've learned to sort've tune mine out sometimes... and sometimes I forget to tune them back in. LOL.

Oh, and about keeping a clean house - I always tell visitors that our house is not perfect, but that's because we LIVE there. It's not just a place we retreat to at night to sleep. :)

Home For Heaven's Sake

Hanley Family said...

Oh yes...that house. If they went away each day, I could not only clean it, but keep it clean. They would be gone and there would be hours of clean house to enjoy rather than minutes...and only one room at a time.

My new standard is not a clean house, but that each room was clean at some point during the day.

Principled Discovery