October 6, 2008

Our Homeschool Journey

After homeschooling for 4 years now, getting up every day and teaching my kids is just a way of life. I really don't give it a second thought. "School" is just what we do, it's how we live. When I get into the topic of homeschooling with a non-homeschooling parent and it really gets me thinking. Why did we decide to homeschool?

Our homeschooling journey started when our oldest turned 5. We were planning to send her to a Christian school, but our finances ended up not allowing us to afford to do so. We have many, many reasons why we don't want our children to go to a public school, to our only option was to homeschool.

I had no idea what homeschooling entailed when we started off. I felt that I could do it, at least in the younger grades. My cousin's wife was homeschooling their children so she gave me some basic information on what I needed to do to get started. I had no idea how many curriculum were out there nor had I ever attended a convention or met any other homeschooling parents. That first year was a very hard one. I second guessed every thing I did and didn't really have any mentors to help me along. We eventually joined a homeschool support group which was a big help to us. I began to meet other homeschool moms and get a little home insight into how others manage their homeschool day.

We then began to attend a church that has a very high number of members that homeschool. This was a realy turning point for me in our homeschool journey. I really began to see more older children that had been homeschooling and were so well mannered and articulate and just plain smart. It was so encouraging to our family.

Every year of homeschooling has gotten better for our family. I think my biggest challenge has been to create structure in how we "do school". I have also really had to work hard to break myself out of the vision of teaching as it is done in a classroom setting.

This year we are doing things in such a more relaxed manner yet we still maintain structure and are able to get things done. My children are becoming more confident of their abilities and I am learning how to work with each one of them as individuals while still being able to work on certain subjects with them in a group.

The reasons we continue to homeschool are so numerous. Having my children with me and knowing what they are learning and helping them shape their beliefs and knowledge is priceless. Being able to teach my kids not only "book knowledge" but "life knowledge" means so much. Watching my older girls help each other learn as well as watching them learn to care for their baby sister is such a blessing.

We also love to watch our children prove all of the stereotypes of homeschoolers wrong. I keep hearing people say that homeschooled children are not social. That just amazes me! Whenever I meet a homeschooled child (not just my own!) they are so articulate and social, it is a delight. Most children (especially teens) that I meet from public schools are often quite introverted and really have no idea how to relate to other aside from peers of their own age group.

Knowing that my children are receiving one on one attention from a teacher that truly cares about their education (me!) means so much. Choosing books for the girls, based on what they enjoy and watching them get so excited about learning is wonderful. I could go on and on but I really need to get to sleep because we have school in the morning. :0)

Have a blessed day!

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