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When people find out that we plan to homeschool, the first question is “Why?”. The majority of the time the question comes from people who have never had experience with home education or consider homeschool to be something that strange and isolated families choose (which my family and I are far from–or are we?).
I have been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of my oldest daughter in 2011. It was not my plan to be a SAHM. I wanted to go back to work after a few months of maternity leave and continue chasing a dream career, however, God’s plan was different and I chose to be obedient. After accepting the assignment as SAHM, I sought God about what exactly I was to do during my time at home. Soon we began attending a church where many of the families, including our pastors, have homeschooled, are currently homeschooling, or are like me, are planning to homeschool. Once I began hearing other’s stories and seeing what homeschooled children looked like, I started considering whether or not that would be an option for my family and weighing the homeschooling pros and cons. My husband was more excited and gung-ho about homeschooling than I was and played a big part in me making the definite decision to homeschool. I am excited about the opportunity to educate my children and I have several reasons why I am choosing to homeschool.
Teachers in the public school system do not get the privilege to choose curriculum that works best for their teaching style or their student’s learning abilities. Their curriculum is usually chosen by a department chair or district, leaving them little or no room to choose what is best for their classroom. There is an enormous amount of education curriculum to choose from, and homeschooling will allow me to choose whatever curriculum I believe is best for my children’s current learning needs. If I begin a school year using one curriculum, but find that it does not allow teaching and learning to flow in a way that is best for my girls, I can easily choose a different curriculum to teach. Something that is important to me is that my children be strongly rooted in the Word of God and develop a love for Christ at an early age. The beauty of homeschooling is that I have the freedom to integrate whatever I desire into the curriculum: Bible studies, scripture memorization, faith-based activities, etc.
Who says kids need to wake up at the crack of dawn and start school work or take a test in a classroom while they are half asleep? Homeschooling allows us to create a schedule that works best for our family. Maybe the mornings will work best. Maybe the late afternoon will be the time my girls are most alert and ready to learn. Regardless of the time we choose, it will be flexible. If we need to do only blocks of two hours worth of learning at a time, we can do that. There is freedom to create a system that works best for US. If we decide to take a long vacation there will be no need to request homework from the teacher to make sure my children do not fall behind in their work. We can easily bring some work with us and turn parts of our vacation into a time for learning–an extensive field trip. Speaking of field trips: We could have a field trip every day if we wanted! I love the idea of having unlimited field trips to our local zoo, city attractions, creating learning opportunities at the local nursery, grocery store, and more. I want to teach my children both life lessons and book lessons.
It is a little early to tell what my girls’ academic strengths and weaknesses are, but once I discover them I will be able to cater to their needs and spend time focusing on the subjects that may be a challenge to them. When teachers have classrooms of 30 children, students fall through the cracks. They may excel in one subject, but need to spend more time focusing on another and their teacher just cannot provide that student the necessary attention to grasp the subject.
Homeschooling will also allow my child to focus on what they’re most interested. Recently my girls have expressed interest in outer space. As a result, I have looked up miscellaneous facts about planets, in particular Mars and Uranus, based on questions that they have asked. This allows for an organic education. If you allow students to study what they are naturally interested in, along with the necessary fundamental learning the likelihood of the child getting bored of “school” will be low. Limitations should not be placed on a child’s learning. Let them learn about what they are passionate about.
As a parent, it is my responsibility to protect my children. Besides pointing them to Jesus, I also want to be the most influential person in their lives. I want their morals and values to be like mine and my husband’s. I want them to keep their innocence and not pick up bad habits from children in their classroom who are not being raised to love, respect, and to be a servant of God. The majority of “bad” things that I learned as a child was from my peers at school. They taught me the current songs, language, showed me the latest (not so) modest fashion trends, and all about “romantic” relationships. Of course, after a certain age I became curious and wanted to learn more about all the things the kids at school talked about, but the seeds that were planted by those little elementary kids, unfortunately, grew, which caused me to be a curious teen and young adult who did not always make the best choices.
I must admit; It is extremely hard for me to imagine spending five or more hours five days a week away from my babies. Having the opportunity to be a SAHM has allowed me to spend a huge amount of time with my children, hence creating a bond between my children and I that I do not want to interrupt with school and work days. My girls are growing up so quickly. I mean, I feel like I birthed them YESTERDAY and they are already three and two years old! It blows me away. I want to be a part of their growing and learning, and like previously mentioned, the most influential person in their lives.
After I answer people’s question of why I am homeschooling, they, almost every time, will express concern about the potential lack of socialization that homeschooled children will have. My answer to that concern will be in a future post, because yes, that is an important and valid concern to have.
**Read my post about homeschool and socialization HERE.**