As the school year gets closer and closer for many, I know that some parent out there is scrolling through Facebook groups, online forums, blogs and online searches looking for confirmation or even validation about their choice to homeschool. You’re scared. You’re dubious.
What will your mom say? What will your friends say? Will people think that you’re now “that” mom? It doesn’t matter what they think or say because your decision to homeschool only has to do with your children, your family and you.
It started when she was maybe around a year old.
First let me say, you could have never convinced me that I would be a homeschooling mom. Actually once, before I came into the the revelation that homeschooling was the best choice for our family, a friend asked me if I would ever consider it.
I blurted out, “Me? Homeschool? No way!”. You would have thought that she was called me out of my name. In my naiveté, every thought of homeschooling families always conjured up images of Little House on the Prairie in my mind.
Anyway, back to my daughter…ever since I was pregnant I realized that timing was extremely important to her. She was due in February but broke into the world in December. It was clear that we would need to adjust.
From crawling to walking. From walking to talking… we were just going to have to wait until she was ready. Fast forward to preschool and she was doing “great”, her preschool teacher told me. Feeling excited I began to ask specific questions about the kinds of things my princess was saying and doing when she wasn’t at home.
That’s when I found out that when there are several students in a class, a teacher’s idea of “doing great” could be that your child doesn’t have any disciplinary issues. Maybe she does not throw things or hit others with goldfish crackers at the back of the head. I decided right then and there that I had to do more.
I knew that this was the beginning of something bigger.
Years before kindergarten, we started scouting schools and talking to friends about their school choices. I realized quickly that nothing ever seemed to fit. In a traditional classroom, it seemed more like the goal was to have every child fit into a square peg even if your child was more like an octagon.
Meanwhile as a Christian family, it was important to instill the morals and values in our children that we deemed important.
As an entrepreneurial family, the idea of a cookie cutter approach to education without embracing one’s strengths, weaknesses and interests was just not cutting it.
As a traveling family, no teacher was going to convince me that missing a few days cramped behind a a desk was going to be better than exploring the classroom waiting right outside the door.
Children are not going to be children forever. One day you are cuddling them in your arms, the next day they are getting ready for senior prom. In between that, it is our responsibility to channel their creativity, challenge their curiosity and ignite their passions for learning and for life.
How long will we homeschool? I don’t know. As long as it works for us. But honestly, living life according to our convictions, working through our fears and challenging the status quo of what life with young kids is supposed to be like feels pretty good.
We school when it’s convenient for us, the commute time is great and “summer vacation” can happen any time of year.
In the mean time, that little girl has learnt while been immersed in culture while dancing with locals in St. Croix. She has practiced her streamline on the beaches of Bermuda and have been blessed to see her dad keynote on numerous occasions at different destinations (without school approval), doing something that he’s passionate about. Don’t believe the hype. Passion counts.
I’m not telling you that homeschooling is for your family but, I am telling you to trust your intuition. Don’t let fear hold you back and remember you can always change your mind. Homeschool doesn’t make you, you make it. It doesn’t define what you look like, what you drive or what you do for a living.
Once your kids are well and your spouse is on board, know that you’ve got this.
I say this not because you don’t know, but because I know that someone needs to read this. Two years ago, I needed to read this. And now that we’re into our second year of homeschooling or “road schooling” (side note: we’re hardly ever home), I am writing this for someone else’s benefit.
In the meantime, that little girl…that one with the self directed timing. I think that she’ll be OK.
And since you’re still reading, let me introduce myself. My name is Lisa. I’m a recovering pharmacist. I have a knack for fashion and a thing for whipping up gourmet dishes. Travel excites me and I hate when people try to put me “in a box”. I’m a devoted wife. Oh, and in case you didn’t know… I’m also a homeschooling mom.
Do you homeschool? Are you curious or just thinking about it? Let me know in the comments.