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

Great Post -- I loved homeschooling, but more importantly my children loved homeschooling. We decided each year, until high school then it was all or none and our twin girls were allowed to make the decision. They graduated from homeschool, and are now going into their junior year of college on the Dean's/President's List every semester. I felt the responsibility to homeschool the best possible that they could possibly do. Homeschooling came before everything else...

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I "home schooled" both my daughters until preK, (although I still have lesson plans, little trips, and many learning projects for them after school/weekends/and vacations!) I know they learn much more with me but i am afraid I will fail them! I don't know everything and feel my girls get what they need from "real school" and everything else from me...it's kind of the middle grounds although sometimes I do wish I had just kept them home! Sounds like you're doing great!

I come from a mindset of always knowing I would homeschool my children. And planned my life around the day I would have children and what kind of parent I wanted to be. Don't ask where it came from because I don't know. Did grow up around homeschoolers, but very much so 'free thinkers.' My DD is now 22mon old and we are concentrating on languages (Kiswahili, Spanish, French, German and Sign). We love it. I too love books and we have them all over...

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I very much enjoyed this, I read anything to do with homeschooling. Our family has been homeschooling since our older daughter was born, (trust me you are teaching them whether you know it or not). She is 14 and in the 11th grade now. My children have always done lots of extracurricular activities and are very well adjusted...

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Hi Alex,

You are doing an awesome job home-schooling your kids. I wish there are more home-school students are more like your kids being happy with home schooling.

I have seen some of home school students are very sad, isolated from real life and kid social activities for being a kid. Some of them are forced to be home-schooled by their parents while their children really want to go to public school as normal kids...

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Thanks for writing this. I will be starting to part-time homeschool my Kindergartener in just a few weeks through a local public charter school. I figured it is a good way to get my feet wet in the homeschooling arena. I have friends who also use the same charter school that are thinking of homeschooling FT and finding their own curriculum. I don't think I am ready for that yet...but I think I will want to do that in the future...

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I want to thank you for your article. I was the same as you, I knew about home schooling and knew people who did. But to me, I didn't like the idea. That changed after I was laid off.

However, after my husband and I made the educated decision to home school, many family member voiced their unhappy opinion. Some even made very rude comments to my 5 year old son upset with him being homeschool.

However, one particular day upset me as well as encouraged me...

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This is my first year homeschooling our third grader and it's the best decision I have ever made. It started as a plan B while we moved in between cities. My daughter couldn't finish her school year because of the move and we didn't want to start her a new school with just two short months to go.
I never had a complaint about her school and her teacher was wonderful, so we never looked to homeschooling but homeschooling seemed to just fall in our laps...

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How great for your family. I have the utmost respect for those that can do the home school thing. My patience is not that strong and getting my kids to actually sit and work, is a struggle daily with just regular homework. Glad that it is working for you.

GREAT article.... however I was just wondering... how do you socialize homeschooled kids?

I was homeschooled for six years as I was growing up. When I was in third grade my parents decided that they were going to try homeschooling. I enjoyed it for the first few years, but when I was in middle school I wanted the social interaction of school (even though I was involved in extra activities). I think that it is great to evaluate year to year, as well as listen to your children's feelings on homeschooling. It should be the decition of the family, not just the parents.

I taught school for almost ten years and I saw some situations that left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm also not a fan of some of the trends in homeschooling because I don't think the parents are really preparing their kids to live and work in the real world. But I found myself considering the possibility when my oldest went into kindergarten. I found I was very frustrated with the schools unwillingness to work with a child that might be advanced...

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I am a first year homeschooler. I'd been fortunate enough to meet friends in college who'd been homeschooled and were well equipped for college. Nonetheless, I was still unsure if I was capable to work with my children; that’s what teachers are for right? We put her in a good school where she was progressing, testing above average every year. Then we moved and I found myself stuck between paying for private school or settle for the (under preforming)public schools available in our area...

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Vicki, check with your state laws (you might start with the HSLDA website) to see what is required for homeschooling. Do NOT ask public school district officials, because you may get an incorrect or misleading answer (or even, in some cases, outright lies). In MO, we are NOT required to register, but if you register one year, you must then register every year that you homeschool after that! Silly, I know, but that's how it is...

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This is great! We started similarly, because my son attended preschool for a year and was bored to the point he was causing trouble.He'd already learned everything. We've been homeschooling now for 6 years. We also evaluate each child at the end of each year to determine what the best course of action is for the next year.

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