“People should be free to find or make for themselves the kinds of educational experience they want their children to have.” -John Holt
When I tell people I’m homeschooling my kids I get mixed responses. Some are impressed. Some are confused. Some are supportive. Some are judgmental. Some think I’m just totally crazy. It’s okay. Homeschooling is not for everyone. Just like out-of-home schooling isn’t for everyone, either. Homeschoolers learn very early on in their journey that they need to have prepared answers to a list of common questions that can follow once you reveal yourself as a homeschooling family.
So why am I doing it?
Well, for starters, I love spending my days with my kids.
I spent a good bit of my teen years and all of my twenties and early thirties working with other people’s kids, from babysitting and nannying to preschool teacher, kid’s yoga teacher and finally a public school classroom teacher. And now that I have my own, I can’t get enough of them. I mean, don’t get me wrong…of course I need breaks from time to time to keep myself grounded and have some sense of self other than just “mother”. But after spending all those years helping other kids grow and learn, why would I now want to send my kids away to have someone else get the joy of doing those things with them? I want to be there to enjoy those amazing “A-ha!” moments when some new idea clicks. Those moments are priceless. I want to be a part of that process to celebrate with them!
I want to homeschool because I know I can provide for them something school can’t offer. The world is our classroom.
Opportunities for learning outside of the classroom are endless. And because I’m with them all day, every day, I know them inside and out and can constantly monitor their needs. They have the kind of one-on-one attention that is just not possible in a classroom. And because of this, I can help my kids find their path of education better than anyone. I can help foster their love for learning by following their passions and motivations, versus grade expectations. We are free to spend as much or as little time as we want and need on every topic that comes along and not feel confined by standards, benchmarks and endless, mindless, USELESS testing.
No stress of rushing out the door early in the morning. Pajama day, whenever the mood strikes us. No planning vacations or trips to museums around schools schedules. And for us, school is always in session. Sounds good to me.
Mixed aged learning is a natural path to learning. Little One is learning from Big Brother all the time and as most teachers know, during the process of teaching something, you deepen your own understanding. Two way street. The more Little One grows, the more I’m amazed at just how much he’s capable of at the young age of 1. He really keeps up! Being influenced by Big Brother pushes him to accomplish more than he would alone. And when Big Brother takes on the role of teacher, he gains a sense of pride, practices his nurturing skills and reinforces what he already knows.
Now for one the questions I always get (and frankly, all homeschoolers are sick to death of defending this point) Socialization.
We have a VERY active social life with both out-of-home and home schoolers. We have an amazing group of neighborhood buddies. We have several social circles of friends we keep in touch with on a regular basis. We have an ever growing community of fellow homeschoolers in our city and surrounding cities. My kids are and will always be well socialized. We are lucky to live in an urban area where homeschooling is exploding. There are so many opportunities for classes, groups, co-ops, learning centers, and on and on. We are surrounded by so many friends that we actually have to make a point to take at least one day a week when we don’t socialize so we can just be a family. And to be quite honest, the socialization that does take place in school, is often undesirable. Unhealthy peer pressure, cliques, bullying…I saw it all when I was a teacher and it starts early. Very early. Honestly, the socialization that takes place in school IS one of the reasons I want my kids home!
So why are we homeschooling? Simply put, It’s what’s best for our family. Do I judge you if you are out-of-home schoolers? Absolutely not. Not in the least. Everyone must do what’s best for their family. Live and let live.