My children went to public school before we decided to homeschool last year. Though there were definitely positives to attending public school, I felt a tug on my heart to educate them at home. There is something so special about one to one learning. I have gained so much knowledge and understanding about my children’s personalities, learning styles and limits through this journey. So why exactly did we decide to homeschool and did it play out the way we expected are questions I get asked a lot and I will attempt to answer here.
One of the main reasons I wanted to homeschool was because I didn’t see my girls thriving in school the way I thought they would. They had good grades and their teachers spoke highly of them but they didn’t seem happy. They would come home exhausted every day with a lot of unresolved emotions. They were stressed about homework and tests and I kept struggling to understand why two girls who shouldn’t have a care in the world were anxiety ridden. I wanted them to be excited to learn, confident in their own abilities and open to new challenges.Another reason I wanted to homeschool was that I didn’t find their teachers could provide for their individualized needs in a class setting of 34 children. They each had VERY different needs that were not being met and it wasn’t the teacher’s fault, how could they possibly make accommodations for that many kids with different learning styles, interests and personalities. I wanted to help them move ahead at a faster pace in subjects they were ready for and take more time in other areas. I wanted them to be able to take breaks, move their bodies as needed and get hugs when something seemed impossible.
While considering homeschooling, one of the discussions Jeff and I had was about our values and we came to the conclusion that their current schooling situation did not align very well with our values as a family. We wanted to start our day with Bible and prayer, we wanted to practice service to others, to teach truthful history and to learn about people different from ourselves. We also wanted our girls to have time to pursue hobbies and interests outside of academics. They have started piano lessons, art classes, spanish, swim and coding, all of which they wouldn’t have had time or energy for if they were in school all day.
One last reason was the ability to give them more time in nature and real life experiences and skills, like managing money and navigating election choices. Spending time in nature and learning from real life experiences is just something you can’t replicate in a classroom. Everyday we spend some time outside, walking or running or just playing in the mud. Every Friday we go on nature field trips where we explore new areas, find little treasures to take home and enjoy the company of friends and each other. Last year we were even able to spend a week in San Diego exploring different museums and researching things we were interested in. The possibilities are really endless!
I would say overall, homeschool has been going as well as I had hoped. It’s not easy, don’t get me wrong, but it is worth all the effort. My girls are thriving! I am open to changing their schooling again in the future, but for now I think they are right where they need to be.