Hi! Welcome back! Thank you for reading.
So the other day I wrote about why we started our homeschool journey, and today, I wanted to talk about why we continue.
Overall, homeschooling has been an amazing and rewarding experience and I truly, truly love it. With that said, we have had our ups and downs and several times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because I felt inadequate. Most of these feelings came on the heels of big changes as we struggled to get back into the groove or find a new one.
“It is worth remembering that the time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom and inner strength is often that of greatest difficulty.” -Dalai Lama
We had a few big changes last year. We moved to California for a job, only to move back to Arizona a few months later because the job didn’t work out. After moving back, my husband and I decided we wanted another child and within days of getting pregnant another job fell through. Stay away from the Jet Charter industry people. Trust me. So, after all of this I was stressed and depressed – pregnant and sick. I had a hard time responding to my kids with the same patience and compassion I had in the past. I felt out of control and completely inadequate and unworthy of my children. Unworthy- such a terrible feeling.
A New Way of Life
So why continue? Good question! I almost didn’t. I sent Chris to school in the beginning of this year because he felt more mature and able to handle the demands of public school, and because I didn’t feel capable of juggling a new born and homeschool. He lasted a whole 8 days before coming home. In homeschooling for two years our whole perspective on education has changed and school really felt like a prison for both of us.
So, here are the 5 reasons we continue to homeschool through the tough times.
1. Movement – At school there is a whole lot of sitting. At home, Chris is free to move around and take a break as needed. He plays with the toddlers, jumps on the trampoline, skates to the school for specials, and then skates back. There is so much movement.
2. The pace – At school, teachers have to keep a pace to finish the curriculum within 180 days of school. This was hard for Chris, who just naturally moves through life at a slower pace. At home we can go at our own pace. I stretch our grammar out over two years because there so much work, and we do a lot of copy work. Also, at home, when we get bored or frustrated with something, we can put it down for a time. One of the coolest things I’ve learned about the learning process since homeschooling, is that when you put something down for a period of time and come back to it, you will still see growth. I dropped our spelling curriculum because it was a huge stressor for us, but when we picked up writing after a break, I saw tremendous growth in spelling. As humans we are always learning, even if it’s unintentional.
3. Socialization – What? Homeschool kids are socialized? Yes! Yes! Yes, they are! However, with homeschool, our kids become family oriented rather than peer oriented. In our experience that means your kids are much more grounded. They know who they are, they like who they are, and they are not afraid to be themselves. Also, they interact with children and adults of all ages, and they develop strong sibling bonds. Chris has neighborhood friends, homeschool friends, cousins, sports team friends, and he sees them he sees regularly. We have park days, field trip days, skate park days, lets meet up with our friends and hang days. There is a ton of healthy socialization going on.
4. Curriculum – Many teachers have very little control over their curriculum, and even if they have more than most, they cannot tailor it to fit the needs of each individual child. At home you can! You can dive deep into a subject if it sparks your children’s interest, or skim through it if you see the familiar glazed look on their faces. If something isn’t working you can scrap the curriculum altogether! You can piece together a curriculum or buy a package deal. There is so much freedom here.
5. Discipline – My kids are treated with the same respect my husband and I treat each other with. Which means we all give each other attitude sometimes, hangry anyone? But we don’t talk down to our kids and give them irrelevant punishments. Don’t get me wrong we set boundaries, but we try to keep consequences as natural and relevant as possible. Can you imagine if your employer told you that you have forfeited your lunch break because you couldn’t sit still during a meeting? Lawsuit. Yet it’s ok to do this to children? Punishments like sitting outside of the classroom, sitting in another classroom, or writing sentences; what do they teach? Nothing. Moving your color card up and down, writing your name on the board? Please, no. Just stop.
Within days of Chris going back to public school we realized it just wasn’t compatible for us anymore. Our whole perception of learning had changed. Our life has literally become Learning, Living, Family. It’s hard to say where one thing ends and one begins and we don’t want it any other way.
And as for the reasons I quit. As it turns out, I really should have talked with my friends before making the decision to put Chris back in school. They would have reminded me that I don’t have to juggle education and a baby. We can take a break and just focus on the necessities; and that’s what we have done this year. We took a month off after Chris came home and just settled into life with a new baby. Now we are working on math, reading, and writing. Chris skates to and from the elementary school every day for specials, and we take him to band once a week. That’s it, no other commitments . Everything else has been paused and we’ll pick up the other subjects and commitments as we find our grove again.
Do you homeschool or public school? How do you navigate the tough times, what ideals keep you going through the tough times?