If you had asked me ten, even five years ago if I could see myself homeschooling my kids, my answer would have been no. I was a byproduct of 15 years of Catholic education (started in K, skipped 2nd grade, finished college in 3 years). One could say I was a schooling “success”? (And by “success”, I mean I did well on tests, complied with rules, and generally fit into the world of schedules and routines.)
Fast forward through years of contemplation and feeling stifled in the cubicle setting. I made a career change and became a public school teacher.
Most of the time, I absolutely **LOVED** teaching. There is nothing better than witnessing a child’s “AHA!” moment or connecting with families. I loved the sense of camaraderie within my classroom and feeling like I got to play a small role in someone’s future. It was humbling, exciting, emotional, and exhausting all rolled into one.
When Nugget and Peanut were born, homeschooling was not even a blip on our radar.
And then 2020 hit.
Truthfully, our homeschooling journey started the year before, when we began looking into preschool options for Nugget. I was shocked to learn how expensive preschool is! (And we’d have double that cost the following year.) We made the decision to “do preschool” at home and then 2020 rolled around. Our in person options were limited, so homeschooling it was!
Honestly, once we started our homeschooling adventure, we haven’t looked back.
But, before I continue, there are a few things I want to throw out there.
1. I have nothing but utter love and respect for teachers. Teaching is such an incredibly complex job. Full stop.
2. People are different! Different needs, different ways of doing things, different lifestyles, different gifts and abilities. Why should learning be any different? (No pun intended, ha.) There ARE different ways to learn! There are different ways to “do school”, for lack of a better phrase. There are different ways to live life.
3. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, just as public or private school may not be for everyone either. I don’t see the need to pit any one method of education against another. Options make the world go round!
If you’ve read this far and are still with me—awesome!
And now…my whys…
Reason #1 – Freedom
So. Much. Freedom. I wasn’t a parent when I was a teacher (if there are any former students or parents reading this–I’m sorry for all the homework!! Truly!!). I didn’t understand the demands and the workings of life AFTER school…for both parents AND children…the homework and the dinner and the sports and the extracurriculars and the bedtime routines and the…GAH.
We have so much freedom to do what we want when we want now. We can schedule as little or as much as we want. There is something so beautiful in that!
This freedom spans throughout our lives. We are free for impromptu playdates or meet ups. We create our own “schedule” or rhythm. We can speed up or slow down as much as we want to. We can learn inside or outside, on the floor or in the car. We can get up and move whenever we need to. We can choose who we spend our time with. We can choose what we are going to learn or explore or pursue. We can eat when we want and go to the bathroom when we want (this was huge for me). We can take breaks when we want. The list goes on and on.
We are also free from arbitrary tests, rules, and expectations. (I realize this may not be the case depending on where you live.) If we “test” our kiddos, it will be to see what they’ve learned and to measure their growth more than anything else.
***It goes without saying that every country and state has their own rules. I’m only referring to our family’s experience.**
Reason #2 – Time
I feel like this goes hand in hand with reason #1. Because we have so much freedom, we are able to manage our time differently. We can be more flexible in many areas of our lives–when we wake up or go to bed, when we travel, when we run errands. We are also able to spend more or less time on different subjects.
Reason #3 – Family
Literally, all of my reasons are interwoven! I LOVE the fact that in the past, whenever Hubs’ work schedule changed (1st, 2nd or 3rd shift), we were able to shift our “schedule” to maximize our time together with him. We often reflected on the fact that if the kiddos had been in traditional school, there would have been days when he wouldn’t have seen them at all. (I know that is the reality for many families and that makes me so sad!) I feel blessed we are able to make this work.
Like many stay at home parents, I don’t have a ton of support (other than Hubs, who is working). Being the primary caregiver on top of homeschool teacher has its challenges but I WOULD NOT TRADE IT FOR THE WORLD. I know what an honor and gift it is for me to be able to do this. I know many families are unable to do the same because both parents must work outside of the home. I do not take this gift for granted.
We absolutely TREASURE our time together! (Does this mean that there are no squabbles and it’s roses and sunshine all the time? Of course not! LOL)
Reason #4 – The Ability to Just Live Life
I am not a huge fan of labels. (I’m sure they have their uses but they make me feel boxed in and limited.) That being said, I would say we are somewhat in the “unschooling” flavor of homeschooling. Our kiddos learn SO MUCH just from living life. It’s truly an amazing thing to watch. Learning doesn’t have to always be planned out or scripted. (Not to say it can’t be.) But sometimes, learning just HAPPENS. When you least expect it. Especially if we allow for enough space. Or it happens over a period of time without you realizing it.
We also try to do as much child-led learning as possible. There’s TONS of play. Outdoor time. Indoor time. Time with friends. Projects. There’s a lot of freedom to pursue and try different things.
A few examples…
- Peanut has basically taught herself how to play piano. I’ve shown Nugget a few things here and there. (She then showed Peanut a few things here and there.) And Peanut did the rest by herself!
- Nugget made nachos on her own, unprompted.
- Nugget started skip counting while she and Peanut were baking cookies. (She was counting the chocolate chips.)
- Peanut started riding a bike and swimming on her own, in the same week. (No swimming lessons other than Daddy.)
- Nugget will perform new gymnastics moves no one has ever taught her.
So much beauty and joy in our sweet little life! If you are curious about homeschooling and what it would look like for your family, I would encourage you to do some research. There are SO MANY resources available, thanks to the internet! And, of course, you are welcome to come along with us!
Enjoy your ride down the rabbit hole (I’m kidding…but not, lol),