Are you thinking about homeschooling this coming school year? Here is our journey and the story behind why we homeschool.
We have been homeschooling for just over a year and a half. We have 6 kids ages 12-2 and I am pregnant with #7. Homeschooling can be an overwhelming thing to think about jumping into! So many doubts may creep into your mind such as: I’m not good at Math, how can I teach my child to read, how can I possibly have my children around me every second of every day, what if my kids don’t learn enough, what will my neighbors or family and friends think? Does your list of reasons why NOT to homeschool sound anything like this list? I know mine did!
My Homeschool Experience
I want to start by giving a little insight as to why we homeschool. When I was a child, I was homeschooled for 4th-6th grades and loved the extra free time that I had to read, volunteer at our local library, participate in 4H, and take extra ballet classes. I remember feeling a little left out when my friends were always so busy with after school activities and homework and couldn’t play. I also remember being extremely nervous to start back to school in 7th Grade. The fear that I would be behind, especially in Math was very real! I ended up being extremely bored in Math because the next year or so was all review for me. In the end, I participated in all honors and AP classes in High School, graduating with High Honors, leading me to believe that my homeschool experience definitely didn’t hold me back.
Because of my own personal homeschool experience, there was a part of me that always hoped that I would be able to homeschool my own children. The thing is though, we are living in an area with great schools, so there has never been any reason NOT to send my kids there! We would have “Mom School” every summer where I would get my fix of teaching my kids by doing workbooks and projects to help them not only retain what they had learned over the past school year, but also help prepare them for what was coming up in the next grade. I loved watching my kids learn and seeing their eyes light up when they would make connections with learning.
Why We Homeschool
When we started homeschooling, I had kids in the public school system in grades 5, 3, 2, and Kindergarten. My kids all had great teachers and were enjoying the school year. There was one particular Wednesday evening where things were extra chaotic. The kids had come home from school in a whirlwind (as usual) and we were rushing to have snack, complete homework and chores, spend a little time together, eat dinner, and get ready for bed. The kids were running around with so much extra energy and I sat at the table completely overwhelmed with the noise and craziness. In that moment I remember having the distinct thought “you need to homeschool”. I remember feeling that this thought had come from God and thinking in my mind “are you seeing this pandemonium”?
I decided to act on that inspired thought and texted my husband “I feel like we should homeschool”. For the first time in all our many discussions about homeschool over the years, he agreed. My husband teaches religion classes to the kids at the local High School, so it had always seemed a little odd that his own children would be homeschooled while he was teaching the public school students.
Because of my interest in homeschool over the years, I already had a fairly good idea of how I would proceed should I ever decide to homeschool. I got to work setting up little “interviews” with other homeschool moms to talk about the pros and cons, their curriculum choices, how they organized their day and week, etc. The next day was Parent Teacher Conference at the public school. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. All positive reviews for both the kids and the teachers. The kids didn’t have school on Friday and we spent the day enjoying being together and I kept thinking “what if we did homeschool”?
The Decision to Homeschool
By Saturday evening, my husband and I had made a decision, we were going to homeschool! We had the kids pray about the decision to homeschool on Sunday. We wanted this to be a family decision, not just a decision that Mom and Dad made. The kids all came back to us all saying they would miss their friends, but they felt this was the right decision. We knew that homeschool would have good and bad days just like everything else, so we really wanted the kids to have their own conviction to fall back on during those hard days.
When we had first thought about homeschooling, we were thinking we would start the next school year. Everything fell into place so perfectly, that we ended up beginning our homeschool journey that next week! After emailing the Public School Principal and all the teachers about our decision, the kids decided to go back to school for one more day to say goodbye to their friends and teachers and collect their belongings. And just like that, we were homeschoolers!
We spent the day Tuesday collecting our homeschool curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful Store and trying out our new found freedom at a museum that we had nearly to ourselves while all the other school-aged kids were in school. I can honestly say this has been one of the best decisions we have ever made for our family. We have had both good and bad days, just like we did when the kids were in public school. We have had tears over schoolwork, just like we did when the kids were in public school. The good has far outweighed the bad in every aspect though!
Is Homeschool Right for Everyone?
Honestly, I can’t answer the question if homeschool is right for you. It is a big commitment both in time, energy, and resources. Make sure that you and your spouse agree over the decision to homeschool. If you were to ask me if you should homeschool, my number one answer would be to seek your own answer. If you have your own conviction that homeschooling is the right choice for your family, you will blaze ahead and be able to brush off all the comments and feelings that will inevitably come regarding socialization, testing, career choice, academic rigor, etc.
For us, I had no idea that a full-blown pandemic was coming. We had been homeschooling an entire year before kids were brought home from public schools to do distance learning. It would have been so hard for our family to navigate so many different zoom schedules, and all the screen time. Instead, our schedule was fairly consistent. The only things that changed scholastically for us were cutting out our weekly library trips and field trips. There is no way that I could have prepared for this, but I feel that because I listened to the thoughts and feelings that God placed in my heart, that I was able to be prepared in this one thing long before I needed to be.