Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why Do I Homeschool?

I am frequently asked this question and still don't have an answer ready. Ironically, it is usually asked by fellow homeschoolers, not by those who choose to not homeschool. I could speculate on why that is but will choose to not do that here. This is also usually one of the first questions I ask when I discover someone else who has decided to go this route. I'm not really looking for a new answer - just some confirmation that I'm not the only one out there crazy enough to do this.

I should clarify - I have lots of reasons why I homeschool but have a hard time articulating it to others. It's kind of like asking someone why they have kids - what answer do you give? There isn't really one main reason - it's a lot of little ones and even those sound superficial or shallow when said out loud. What it really boils down to is that I want to.

No, I don't want the responsibility of choosing my children's curriculum every year and deciding what they should learn and how. And no, I don't really want to spend every waking minute with them. I like my quiet time and time with other adults! I'm not a fan of dissecting anything or doing major projects.

But in spite of all these things that I don't want to do, my heart tells me to homeschool my kids. The idea of sending them to a brick building on a yellow bus seems so strange to me.

When Brendan was born, I had already decided that I wanted to stay home with him and be the one to take care of him. Thankfully, Josh agreed with this decision and supported me 100% - financially, emotionally, physically, any way he could. We had talked about homeschooling and the different ways it appealed to both of us, even though both of us had gone to public school. So it was kind of the plan all along but at the same time, I wondered how I would really feel when Brendan turned 5 and the big day came.

I can't begin to tell you how relieved I was to not send him to school. Why did he need to be gone from home 4 hours every morning (or now all day at most schools) to learn his abc's and numbers and how to write his name? I know at most schools they are trying to teach more at kindergarten but that is another topic. Why did he need to wait to get a drink when he was thirsty? To sit at a desk? To only go outside for a brief period of time when he was told? Why did he need that much freedom taken from him?

Every day that year, I watched him play with toys and become more independent and helpful around the house and play with his sister and learn to entertain himself and I was so thankful that he was home.

I have struggled with homeschooling - there have been different times that I have wished I could send them somewhere else. This last year was especially challenging with Rachel and Owen. When I would get them down for a nap, the last thing I wanted to do was go find Brendan and Tori and do some schoolwork.

Through this process, though, I can definitely see God working in my life. And I see fruits in their lives as well. I like that we share so many experiences together. I like that they are with their family more than friends. I like that they have more free time to read and draw and use their imagination. I like that our schedule is flexible and we can go visit family or take a vacation whenever we want. I like that I can learn more about my kids and how they think and learn and that I can give them the freedom to learn at their own pace - there is no competition or right or wrong age to learn skills.

For those who are not homeschooling, this post is not about you so don't get defensive about it. This is about me and why I am doing what I do. I'm not going to try and say what is right or wrong. I know that for me, homeschooling is right. And again, Josh agrees 100% and supports me in any way possible and I am so incredibly thankful for that.

There is more I could say but maybe it will have to wait for another time. I feel I have rambled on long enough. And there is no photo to make this more interesting! I realized today that I started this blog to share more about myself and my family. I've shared lots about my family but hadn't shared much about myself so decided to dive right in.


Wendi said...

Angie, I love to see your heart in this post. I think you are aware that I was home schooled from K-12th grade. My mom is an amazing woman! I am the youngest of 5. My oldest sister was going into 7th grade the year I started school (and there were 3 in between!) - And that was the year my mom began educating us at home.
My parents came up against some strong opposition in our family for making this decision, but stuck with what they felt to be a God lead choice. I have so much respect for parent's who do so. I think you are doing a great job.

toad said...

thanks for the post angie. i don't know if you know that we are planning to homeschool the boys (& #3). we still aren't sure of my ability, but i feel that we are to do it, so i am going to do the best i can. it is good to hear from someone that is already in it with kids of randing ages. it is funny the reactions that you get when you tell people that it is your plan...some of them act like you are from another planet...but i am just not willing to give that much of my kids time and hearts to someone else. and the whole bus issue could get me really going on and on. but, thanks for the post! i might have questions for you next year!