Photo by: WHGrad

Is Homeschooling For You?

Photo by: WHGrad

If someone had told me that one day we would be a homeschooling family, I would have stared at them wide-eyed and told them that they had the wrong crystal ball. I had firm ideas and opinions about homeschooling, the foremost being that it was not for me. That was, until our family became a family of homeschoolers. How does such a change in attitude take place? What is it that found us arriving at this lifestyle choice for our family?

We have always been a family of readers. My husband and I both had very unromantically, yet in a prescient act, packed books for our honeymoon. Leisure time meant reading time. Within the first twenty-four hours of bringing each of our 3 newborn boys home, we held a book in front of them, and they were read to. There were as many books scattered in the toy room as toys themselves.

At three months old, our children were grabbing for books, and chewing on the covers. Nine months old found them crawling over to their own low level bookcase, and pulling out a book for themselves. Yes, it was only to chew, but the recognition of what a book was, and where it was kept, was there.

At fifteen months old, they would open the book, look at the pictures, then make their way to our laps, handing us the books to read to them. As time went on, and we began our weekly trips to the library, we had already begun what was informal homeschooling.

They would choose books of their interest, and we would read to them. They’d become more interested in the subject, so we’d delve further. They would ask questions, we’d go find out more. Soon, our reading had evolved into field trips, hands on activities, renting DVD’s on the subject, and them giving us oral reports on what they had learned.

When the time came for us to look at preschools, as the majority of families do, we made appointments to see several schools. After each scheduled visit, our oldest son would come home and tell us he had felt as if he never had the chance to do any of the things he had wanted to. And so on, with more schools.

The teachers we consulted with felt that perhaps we should wait another year before putting him in school. One year soon became two years. We were now at the kindergarten stage. We had scheduled three visits for him to sit in a kindergarten classroom. With each visit, I’d pick him up, and he’d confess that he really wanted to be home, learning what he wanted to learn more about.

After much discussion and research and meeting with other homeschooling families, we decided to take the plunge and begin kindergarten at home. We would see how it would go. No firm time commitments were made. We would just see.

I remember the happiness on my son’s face, and the excitement in my heart, as we began our first day of learning at home. It was what we had been doing all along.

Is this a permanent commitment for us? We decide year by year.

Is this just for the time being? Perhaps.

Have we decided to homeschool every year? We will decide this on an annual basis.

The liberating thing about homeschooling is that it is up to you and your family to determine for how long, and for what grades, you will homeschool. If we had decided to do this for only one year, it would’ve been wonderful. If it had only turned out to be for six months, that would have been a blessed time with my children, also.

We are a homeschooling family. And we decide year by year, whether we will be a homeschooling family in the year to come. There is no perfect answer and no perfect environment, but this lifestyle we’ve chosen, has brought our family a deeper level of happiness and knowledge of each other that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. We began homeschooling in 2005, and we are still homeschooling in 2010. This works for us now and we will decide whether or not to continue as long as all of us feel happy and satisfied with the style of learning we’ve chosen.

Alexandra writes of small town life as a mother to 3 boys. You can read her blog that she co-writes along with her children, at www.gooddayregularpeople.com.

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88 Comments

The more I see about what public schools are turning into the more I want to homeschool. My only concern, really, is When it comes to them getting older, how do you know you are fit to teach them things, if you aren't sure YOU know them? Just learn together?

Thanks so much for sharing this, Alexandra! It really is a question I had always been curious about but didn't ask. I love that you are so flexible and that you came into this through watching your children, and seeing what they want and what works for them. Reading your post made me realize that I have been "homeschooling" my son as well without realizing it...

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Hannah, the kids learn to teach themselves. Eventually, they start teaching you! I've homeschooled my three from the start, and even if I don't know a subject, there's a wealth of resources to give them. Just teach them to read and put a good curriculum, or just great books, in front of them. My kids are years ahead of grade level in each subject and know far more than I do about many things. I've never regretted my decision!

I started home schooling in February, my Downs Syndrome daughter was struggling with some of the staff at her special school....she is calmer, happier, and learning at her own pace! She is autistic too, it`s the best thing I`ve done for her!

What a great article! We are not officially "homeschooling" per se - our son is going to an online charter school so we do have some teacher guidance, but it has been a great fit for us so far - I love not having to worry about the new threats at school and him coming home unhappy because of his intelligence and kids picking on him! We, too, do it year by year and he likes the flexibility he has to start his school day and end it when it works for us!

We are beginning year 10 with our five, but with changes. And without HS we couldn't have done it!!! We started HS our first, because honestly I didn't know enough about the schools, and when I did, I realized I had a better teacher degree than some of the teachers! So we took the jump. I purchased an entire set curiculum, Abeka, and love it!! We have loved the rabbit trails we end up on somedays. It allowed me to scedule a month off when a new sibling arrived...

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we are starting our second year in home schooling of our 3 children.. there are several options out there for online charter schools that provide the ciriculum and support for those of us that are timid.. they do check points with the kids to ensure you are learning and the kid still take state testing.
It is completely free as a charter school.!

Certainly, homeschooling is a personal choice for each family but I always wonder about the social interactino they are missing with other kids. What about the competitiveness of being on a school sport team, drama club, choir group or band. What about those memories for your kid?
I don't judge parents that chose this path for their kids but there comes a point where you do have to trust the school system and continue to work with your kids at home...

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I never thought I'd homeschool either, but this year my son would be in Kindergarten. We've been traveling for a year and want to continue our journey. We've decided to keep traveling and teach him from our bus...at least for this year. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for the article,great timing.

Angela
www.bodeswell.com

Despite the impression that you get from reading the web, a great number of homeschoolers are as you describe: "Accidental Homeschoolers." As described by Time4Learning.com, these are families who had intended to have their kids educated at school but, given the choices of schools and nature of the kids, it didn't work out well...

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Thank you for the article. My little 3 year-old is outgoing and happens to love preschools. I happen to be a fully credentialed teacher who cannot find work for the time being and have seriously considered homeschooling my little one. Preschooling in my area also happens to be like a mortgage payment, if she were attending full-time 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at the latest. I talked to my husband about it and he says he doesn't mind...

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Funny because I felt the same way, that homeschooling was NOT for my kids..but as they began to grow up my husband and I began to love the idea of quality time with them. Now I homeschool 3 out of my 6 and we LOVE it!! We also do a year by year evaluation and let the kids tell us what they want too...they love it alos. I truly enjoy the flexibility of it. We can get up and go-go-go and do school after lunch, or have a light and easy morning in jammy's and get school done before lunch...

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We also home schooled, our one child years ago. He's twenty-one, lives on his own, making his own way, and a hard worker.
Homeschooling years ago, was certainly not as popular as it is today. We also found our socialization opportunities in the community such as martial arts classes, choir, neighborhood kids, church, and so on. Today, there are so many choices you will need to cut back activities...

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What a wonderful article to help break stereotypes of homeschooling! We are a homeschooling family (5 children). I find often people don't want to talk about it - like they might be afraid we're religious fanatics. There is a long list of reasons why we home school and yes, religious beliefs are one of them, but I doubt they are the deciding factor...

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Thank you for sharing your story. I NEVER thought I would homeschool either but here I am 2 weeks into kindergarten with my oldest daughter! Our reasons were many but overall it just seemed to fit the vision we had for our family and I couldn't deny that any longer. I say the same thing when people ask me about it, we are just going to take it year by year!

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