The question of education can be a difficult and sensitive one for parents. Parents wants to give their kids the best education and see their kids equipped for the future. And decisions regarding education start early. Although my oldest is only 3.5 years old, we have already had to talk about her education and answer tough questions.
Which preschool are you sending your child to?
Are they ready for Kindergarten?
Which school system are you looking at sending them to in the fall?
While she isn’t even in Kindergarten yet, my husband and I have decided to homeschool our daughter. I fully realize that homeschooling has many negative and positive connotations. Before you jump to any conclusions about why we decided to homeschool, let me tell you our reasons.
My husband grew up going to public school in a small town. While I grew up being homeschooled from 2nd grade through high school graduation. Our different perspectives involving our education helped us to have some good conversations about what we want for our kids. I can say that my experience of growing up being homeschooled was really positive. If it wasn’t for my positive homeschooling experience I don’t think I would be as willing to homeschool our kids. I can look back and see so many perks and positives that homeschooling brings. Those experiences make me excited to move forward and homeschool.
While we are still just at the beginning of this homeschooling process I am excited for this adventure for many reasons. Some of these reasons helped us in deciding that homeschooling was the right decision for our family. Let me share some of those reasons with you.
This perk can sometimes be misunderstood to be laziness, but flexibility is a legitimate perk for homeschooling families. Schedules, days off, field trips and subjects to study can all be flexible! Homeschooling allows for the flexibility to do what works best for each kid and your family as a whole.
I remember in my homeschooling experience having friends ask me if I slept in every day, wore my pajamas to do school work, and took days off whenever. None of those were the case for us. We had a start time to our day (the sooner we started, the sooner we were done!). We always changed out of our pajamas. And while we could take days off that differed from the school calendar, it was up to my parents not us kids.
Flexibility does exist in homeschooling, and when it is done effectively it is also balanced with structure and discipline. Homeschooling does have requirements, so it’s not exactly just an excuse to let kids do whatever they want all day long. At least that was my experience, and that is the experience I plan to have for my kids.
Not only will homeschooling allow me to be with my kids all day, but it also will free up our evenings as well. Because we will be able to get schoolwork done during school hours, that cuts out the typical after school homework time. So instead of feeling stressed by having evenings full of homework and other activities, we can pick and choose how we spend our evenings together.
My husband also has a flexible work schedule that allows him to be home for lunch most days. Having our girls at home for school will allow us to have more family meals and time to enjoy together. It won’t always happen, but we do have that option, which I really enjoy.
Obviously in a homeschooling situation the student to teacher ratio will be smaller than an average class size. This allows a lot more individual and focused attention for our kids. Along those same lines, as our kids’ parents and teachers we can help choose the curriculum and courses that will best fit each of our kids needs.
In my homeschooling experience my parents sometimes had to pick different curriculum for us kids. For example, my brother loves math and science, where as I don’t. Instead of forcing us to do the same classes, my parents were able to customize which curriculum fit our learning styles and interests best. We both met our requirements, but didn’t have to go about it in the same way.
I already can see how my girls are different and so they will probably learn in different ways. I am excited to continue to watch them grow and then be able to help them learn in what way is best for them.
You may have heard that there are different ways to learn; visual, auditory, verbal, and physical or hands-on. In most curriculum the first of those 3 come fairly naturally. You read a textbook, you hear it explained, and then maybe you have to explain it yourself in a presentation of sorts. The hands-on part is important too, but sometimes can be more challenging. And some of the flexibility and customizable nature of homeschooling allows hands-on learning to be more doable.
I am not saying that hands-on learning is not done in public schools or other classrooms. But in a homeschooling environment sometimes hands-on learning is just easier. Field trips to museums or other historical places are as simple as loading up the car, rather than planning a big excursion with a large class. Some experiments or projects can be easier when done 1:1 rather than in a large setting as well.
My husband is definitely a hands-on learner. I have already seen him enjoy teaching our 3 year old things while we are out for walks or exploring the lake. He naturally teaches hands-on. And for our 3 year old that is one of the best ways for her to learn about the world around her right now. It is exciting to think of all of all the fun learning opportunities to come!
As I mentioned above, I know that homeschooling is not the right choice for everyone. For our family we feel confident that homeschooling is the best decision for us. It fits with our lifestyle, our values, and our goals for our kids. I am excited to begin this journey as a homeschooling mom, although I know it will be full of challenges and hard days. I am up for the challenge and excited to see the positive results. In the end, I know it will be worth it.
Any other homeschooling moms out there? What are your favorite parts about homeschooling?