I homeschool my children and I never imagined that this would be my life, but I’m so glad that it is.
I went to the same private school from Kindergarten to 12th grade, but it’s not the same education as when I attended 20 years ago. The public school in our community is good; I mean, families move to this parish just to attend our schools. I know many of the elementary teachers personally and they are fantastic people who really love their job and their students. There are 2 more private schools within about 30 minutes of our house, but they have the same problems that my alma mater has.
Here is the honest reason why I don’t send my children to our public school. I have a problem with what my son will learn from his peers. We are a conservative Christian family. We do not have satellite cable. We only listen to Christian music on the radio. I would prefer that my son not come home with new information that he learned from his new friend at school whose family does not have the same values as ours.
When my son was 2-years old, I started thinking about preschools; and my husband and I could not come up with a solution that we were happy with. Our church offered a preschool program that we were very fond of… but what about K4? What about Kindergarten? What about high school?! OK, so we know that high school is a long way away, but it stressed us (me) that there was not a set plan in place for our child. I shared my educational concerns with my mother and she suggested homeschooling.
Homeschooling?!?! I thought the only people who homeschooled were people living on a farm wearing prairie skirts. I don’t have a dozen children, we don’t have a milk cow, why would my family homeschool?!
So I checked into it, and come to find out that a lot of families decide that homeschooling is the educational fit for them. I have a bachelor’s degree, but it is not in education. Surely I am not qualified to educate these precious minds. But on the other hand, how hard can teaching a preschooler be? Not to mention, the student I will be teaching is my own child and I definitely have his best interest at heart. I decided to try homeschooling on a part-time basis. My sone was only 2-years old at the time, and I wanted to see if I was disciplined enough to follow through. I found a Preschool curriculum and we got started. Guess what? I really enjoyed it! And so did he! We spent our days learning letters, numbers, colors, doing craft projects and taking field trips. Maybe this isn’t so bad, we really might be able to make this work! I don’t even want to talk about high school, but I think we can do this for now.
After that first year I was pumped and ready to plan preschool. My husband and I decided to expand our family at the same time. This pregnancy gave me a serious dose of morning sickness. Soon, I found out that we were having twins! Well, this changes everything. “Write the check!” I told my husband. Our son is going to preschool at our church.
The preschool experience was fantastic for all of us. My son and I both made life-long friendships. Mid-semester, I had an aortic dissection at the very end of my pregnancy and I lost one of the twins during delivery. Friends that I had made through this preschool were shining lights of hope for my family.
After I recovered and our family was settled again, we began thinking about school for our son. He would be going to K4 at the public school, and we had to make a choice.
I decided to homeschool.
While my friends were stressing over which teacher they would get, I was stressing over which curriculum to choose. I joined a large homeschool association in our area as well as a smaller co-op in my neighborhood. It was comforting to know that I was not alone.
K4 went so well, that we continued through Kindergarten. My son tested as a first grader in the curriculum we chose. I also started the previous preschool program with my daughter and we were off to a great start with 2 students now!
This year, my son and daughter are both a year ahead of their curriculum. I love that I get to choose a bible-based education for them. I also get to choose the way that I teach based on the way that my children learn. My daughter can sit at the table and draw, color and create for hours. My son can hardly sit still for 5 minutes. During our read aloud time, he bounces on my exercise ball while he listens. I test his reading comprehension and he retaines the information while being active. I know this behavior would not be allowed in a classroom, but he is thriving and I love this special time I have with them.
If I were to send them on that yellow bus in the morning, more housework would get done; I would put on makeup, get dressed, etc. But all of that can come later, because I would not trade our lifestyle for anything in the world. I now know why teachers do what they do. I have seen that glimmer in my child’s eyes when they get something. This is a beautiful time in their life and I don’t want to miss a minute of it! Yes, math facts can get boring, listening to them struggle through another easy reader is mind numbing. But the rewards are so so worth it!!!
I still don’t have a prairie skirt in my closet, but this is our life. This is our life as homeschoolers!