We are gearing up for another year at the Young house–and the school room is ready to have it filled with our daily musings. If you haven’t before–meet the Young schoolroom here on the farm:
What I can’t believe is that this is going to be my FOURTH year homeschooling.
I taught public school 6th and 7th grade English/Language Arts for FOUR short years before becoming a mom. I had FOUR short years of just enjoying preschool before my first entered Pre-K. I’ve had TWO very sweet years of two of my children experiencing the sweetest little Christian school in town. Now, I prepare to begin YEAR FOUR of homeschooling. This year I will be teaching FOUR of my loves–while the 3 year old goes to preschool in the mornings and runs circles around us for the rest of the day.
I feel like I’ve experienced public, private and now homeschooling for a handful of years getting to experience them all. And if you happened upon my blog because a google search of the title–hoping to read why homeschooling is the “better” choice–well…you’re not going to find it here–so keep searching.
While our homeschooling journey DID begin for reasons I probably wouldn’t share in details on my blog, it did begin because the private school we were in couldn’t fully meet the educational needs of one of my children. (That, however, has changed–and we could not go back any time we wanted.)
I’m not what you call a “natural homeschooler”. I’m not what you call a “homeschool advocate”. I am an advocate, however, in moms loving their children BIG–and doing whatever they feel called to–whatever is best for the as a family, what is healthy for mom and what is best for their children. I didn’t start homeschooling because I was turned off by the public school; because being a former educator in the public school, I experienced the opportunity and challenges that many teachers providing various levels of instruction can provide. In a way, I was thrown into homeschooling–after much prayer, processing and wise counsel from other experts who evaluated, tested and even loved my child I was considering homeschooling for.
Stepping in–I did meet some crazy homeschoolers. Some who believed homeschooling really was the BEST way. The only way. It was as if they thought kids in public were being corrupted–by the government curriculum and other kids, and they certainly were not going to have their children tainted by such an environment. I call that–hog wash. And in the South–we say, “Bless their heart.”
After having children in school for just 5 years (entering into 6!), I see that the greatest influence on children is the investment of their parents no matter what school they are in. Every schooling situation provides challenges to the child in a different way. Sure–little Tom may get bullied in the public school system. But I’ve scolded my oldest more times than I can count for being the very ones bullying their own siblings who they should care for, love and be examples to. It happens there–and here…just in a different environment. In some ways, I think there is more opportunities for children to learn to stand up for themselves in the private or public school setting because hard circumstances will occur with different personalities (and sizes!)–but I doubt they occur more often. (Maybe your kids are nicer than mine–but I break up sibling arguments daily over here!)
Recently I was at a friend’s house who sends her kids to public school–and low and behold I think we shocked her when Laney mentioned Lady Gaga. OH MY. The homeschool child was corrupting the public school kid! (I have to explain–we had a teenager live with us last summer who had a love for Gaga and Spears!) I felt no need to explain to her, and instead just giggled as she said, “We don’t let our daughter listen to that. How does Laney know who she is?” I just shrugged my shoulders and laughed. I laughed because I thought of how when I started homeschooling 4 years ago the “pros of homeschooling” list I made…
Thinking back to the educational psychologist looking at the 50 forms of family information and educational history for our child–he looked at me and said, “You used to teach? My recommendation would be for a small learning environment–would you consider homeschooling?” I wanted to RUN the heck out of that office and say NO WAY. I had just gotten our 2 kids both in elementary, with another around the corner. But we prayed. We saw how based on the performance through testing a smaller class would help our child thrive. I was a bit shocked with the other children begged to try it too. Before I knew it–I was setting up a classroom scared to death! I knew I could teach public school having new kids come in every hour on the hour with ONE subject of expertise. BUT. Elementary? And my kids? Oh my…so I made a list of the “pros” (in my head really).
We are believers (as in believe in Jesus:)–so I thought–well, homeschooling will be a time to build them up in their faith. Then by middle school or high school they will have a strong foundation to stand up for what is right and not be influenced by others in a negative way.
They will not have to face bullies or be scolded by teachers or talked down to by classmates.
We can go at our own pace–so I’ll have them so ahead of what the classroom is doing in the private and public schools because we don’t have to wait on everyone to catch up.
We can take breaks when we want to. Have no school day when we need to. And Hilton Head in the Spring…oh–yes…that sounds lovely.
Now–if you are a “natural homeschooler” or homeschool teacher who hasn’t taught public or had good experience in private too–you are like screaming at your computer screen and calling me an idiot right now…only you are probably really smarter than me so you aren’t using the word idiot. (I still need a thesaurus to come up with big words.) That is perfectly okay for you to believe all these things with your heart and soul–but we all get our opinions…and my blog is where I share mine:)
Some SWEET things I have learned about my pros…
Yes–I’m building my kids up in their faith. But so can you. Where ever you are. Public. Private. Homeschooling. Preschool. Where ever your children are–it is our role as parents to be the ones to build them up and grow them in their faith. Homeschooling can be a more sheltered environment–so really what this means is I need to step up my game to make sure my kids are exposed to the world in ways they have opportunities to be challenged and tested to do the right thing whether they are in 1st grade or 12th grade. (For the record, I was just in Moe’s a couple of weeks ago and saw a homeschool kids making out with his girlfriend. Parker was like, “We know him mom! What in the world was he doing?” Kids will be kids no matter the education you provide them. Unless they have Jesus and the conviction of the Holy Spirit–then they are going to act on their flesh every time. It’s as simple–and complicated–as that.)
Yes–my kids might avoid really big bullies. But they will also be surrounded by those who know and love them best. Family. If you haven’t already learned as a big girl that family can also be what hurts you the most. My words. Their words. And I will mess up. And so will they. Our wounds may even be deeper. I need Jesus. They need Jesus. But where ever our kids are there will be wounds, hurt and hopefully lots of healing.
Yes–we can go at our own pace. (I do love choosing our own curriculum because the teacher in me gets to be a teacher again–and I didn’t get to choose my own curriculum before!) This truly has been a sweet advantage. I have also learned a few things that will make me a better parent and teacher when my kids do go to a public or private school. BEFORE–when my kids were at a private school–I REALLY thought it was the TEACHER’S job to teach my child and to make sure my child loved learning. I. WILL. NOT. MAKE. THAT. MISTAKE. AGAIN. It is always the parent’s role to challenge a child to the next level. It is always the parent’s role to ask questions and recognize when their child is losing interest. It is the parent’s role to find ways to reengage the child that they know better and love more than almost anyone else. THIS is a sweet gift of homeschool. I helped my child with homework–and made sure I had all the forms to turn in–but I really did nothing to make learning fun. I will do many things differently when they go back. (That list is long!) I’ve heard too many blame their child’s school or teacher for a disengaged, bored, under challenged child. If you are considering homeschool because of this–do everything YOU can right where they already are to make learning fun for your child. Research the hands on learning experiments that would add to the lesson–and offer that to the teacher. If she declines for the benefit for all the kids–let it benefit your child at home! If your child didn’t get in TAG–instead of being sad–praise Jesus and see it as an opportunity for YOU to provide the extra literature for your child rather than a bunch of twaddle. Be as present as you would be with homeschooling before making changes–and see if that doesn’t change the pace of learning or engagement without having to change more.
Yes–we can take breaks when we want to. BUT. Technically and legally we are supposed to the same number of days. For the homeschooling moms who are diligent and organized this is totally easy to do. BUT for a procrastinating mom who loves to have FUN and take lots of trips–this can actually be quite a challenge to homeschool the number of days every day we are supposed to!! I do it–but some days I’m struggling!! I need accountability so I find other moms to hold me accountable and stay on the same page with!
So–now you’re scratching your head.
“Why do you homeschool?“, you ask.
My kids are all up to speed where they should be. They could go right in to public or private—and we are so involved with social/sport/fun activities that they could hold their own no matter where you put them. So why do we homeschool?
This answer has changed over the years–and this year–I’ll leave many scratching their heads.
We homeschool because–we want to (Momma is no longer wide eyed mixed with kicking and screaming–insert clapping hands emoticon!)The kids love it. They are learning. And I wouldn’t trade these formative years of just getting to be their teacher and getting to watch them learn for anything. Were they to come to me and say they wanted to go to school with some of their friends where they go–we’d pray about it together and I’d be in line in a split second. But they are happy. I am happy. We take ONE year at a time. It wears me SLAP OUT–just as teaching 25 middle schoolers in a classroom once did–but I’ll rest later when they are all grown and gone. I very much look forward to the days when they are again all in school–but I’m not so far removed from those days that I know days can be just as busy when you have many in school too.
Every now and then I see new moms with a child entering kindergarden stating her reasons for the educational choice for her child…private, public or homeschool–and I have to keep the giggle to myself when there is a sliver of opinion that it’s the “better” of choices. What you decide now, may change in a couple–as you quickly learn as a mom that every child and their needs are so different. My advice to this mom is to never be too confident or sure about a choice, but rather keep your hands, heart and eyes open watching your child closely so you are ready to make a change whether it’s what you would choose or not.
TRUST the changes that do come your way are for a purpose. To encourage you moms who may be head on with changes you didn’t quite ask for–I rise my hands DAILY and thank God for giving me a child with a special educational need that could be better met during the learning to read days through homeschooling. What I didn’t know then was the Lord would call our family to adopt that year–and again 3 years later. We would bring home boys who didn’t know what family was like–and to have all the children home to bond for the missed years–it was the greatest blessing. It was something I honestly wouldn’t have chosen at the time–but oh my…God knew!
Trust Him to guide you as a mom and teacher for your children no matter where they are educated–and keep your hands, heart and eyes open knowing that every year is the year to pray, “God, where is the best place for this child next year?” Realize that nothing is forever. Kids are resilient. His plan for them is better than one you could write yourself and whatever He calls you to, He will equip you for!
I don’t know about you–but I’m excited to start another year of school!! (Will someone please send me a message to encourage me in a few months though;)? Because I’m sure by then I’ll need it!)
P.S. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors in the post:) I’m sure there is an unkind person out there that will find them and tell me I shouldn’t be homeschooling. I have disabled comments altogether from my blog as 95% of my readers are friends who are DEAR to me–and so encouraging. HOWEVER–there are 5% who are absolutely crazy–and some times unkind–so I’ve chosen to let them keep their words to themselves. If you must say something unkind–just go to the mirror and get it OUT. THIS Momma doesn’t have time to edit her posts let alone hardly write–so thank you for overlooking any errors or anything you don’t love about my writing! Peace out;).
P.S.S. For your entertainment–the boys produced this little diddy in slow-mo. Interpretation of Isaac at the end, “YODA WINS!” My kids will not weird because they were homeschooled. If they are weird, it will be because they had me for a mother. Now–may I introduce to you…the FINAL FIGHT…(presented in Instagram in real time–but truly how it should be in SLOW-MO here:THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
P.S.S.S. I did get a comment that Laney shouldn’t listen to Lady Gaga. For the record–she doesn’t:) But I totally appreciate the feedback.