Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why we homeschool

 Hey there! I haven't been on here much in the last week. We enjoyed our spring break with Daddy home for a whole week, and we traveled to my in-law's house to celebrate Easter. We are finally getting back to the groove of our life, and as we are nearing the end of Libby's kindergarten year I have been thinking a lot about our homeschooling experience.
I haven't talked much on here about homeschooling, mainly for fear of coming across like I actually know a lot about the subject :) I can't tell you statistics on homeschooling versus public schooling, or how many families are homeschooling now versus 5 years ago, or even the benefits of homeschooling on a child, because, well, that's just not why I do it. I have felt compelled to homeschool for quite some time, and even began having conversations with Scott about it before any of our children were even born.
The decision to homeschool or not is a very important decision to make, and I think it really takes some thought and discussion, and it is very important for the whole family to be on board. What I can share with you are some of the facts about our choice to do it.

* I do not homeschool my children because I think I can do a better job teaching them than the teachers in our public school system. If our decision was based on anything to do with the teachers, it was only because at home our children have more one-on-one instruction.
* We often get asked the question about the "socialization" of a public school and how our children are not getting enough of it because they are at home. My response to that is that the socialization that happens in the public school is a large reason why I chose TO homeschool. Scott was not in agreement with me about educating our children at home in the beginning. He is a teacher, after all. When we were reaching the time that we would need to start making a decision, he began really paying attention to what kind of conversations he was hearing and what he was seeing happening between the students. What he heard and saw was enough to make him decide and firmly believe that our children were better off at home. And he is an elementary teacher. These kids were in kindergarten through third grade. In reality, our children do spend a majority of their time with adults, and as a result could hold a conversation with any adult who would give them their attention. They also spend a good deal of time interacting with other children, both with our personal friends and at church.
*Our children are their own unique selves, each with different learning styles. Libby is a very eager learner, and has been from the beginning. She is way ahead in her lessons, and will finish up three weeks before her actual school year ends. Hudson has been a little slower (than Libby was) in finding the motivation to learn things, and has always done them in his own time and pace. However, he has already basically taught himself how to write his name. Remi, well, we'll just have to wait and see about that little ball of fire :) Since I am educating them at home, I am able to tailor to their individual styles and needs.
* There is a wide array of options for homeschooling, ranging from "unschooling" to very strict homeschooling. We fall somewhere in the middle of the line. Libby is actually enrolled in a charter school, which is online. All of her materials, supplies, and internet needs are provided. That was a big factor for us. And it is free. That was a huge factor! At this point, this is what is really working for our family. I like having the reliability and structure of knowing that she and I can both log on to our computers and her lessons will already be there laid out for both of us. It is important for Scott and I both that there is an emphasis placed on learning for the sake of learning, of taking time every day to intentionally sit down and work on education. I also like that since she is home, we have to flexibility to incorporate her learning into our everyday lives.

These are the reasons why we have chosen homeschooling for our family. They are mostly based on intuition and our own personal feelings about what is best for our children and ourselves. They will not fit for everyone. 
Homeschooling is not a viable option for all families, and it is not at all my intention to make anyone feel guilty for their personal decisions. As with everything, it's important that it is talked through and is a decision made jointly.


Patti G said...

I homeschool my son through a charter school online as well. He has never been in the public school setting. He is now at the end of his 10th grade. I started him with homeschooling when he was 4 years old. He came to me and said... "Mommy, I want homework." They learn best when they are eager. So I started him that week! My uncle did not think I was making the right decision to homeschool my son. He kept telling me "I don't agree with you, but you will do as you wish. Just don't isolate the boy." (His exact words.) My son does better in a one on one setting, and he excels in certain things and is behind in others. Homeschooling him has allowed me (and the online charter school advisors) to cater to his learning needs and styles. He is now thriving, and plans to attend a college after graduating, and majoring in History. He wants to be a teacher.

Megan Elzey said...

Patti, that is awesome. I fully believe that my kids will not be missing out in any way by being schooled at home, except for missing out on the things that they don't need to be experiencing anyway. I have said this, regarding my kids and their same-age peers: my kids don't know a lot of the things that other kids their age know, but it is stuff that they shouldn't be knowing anyway; and my kids know a lot of things that other kids their age don't know, but it is stuff they SHOULD know. "Just don't isolate the boy" is a very typical argument against homeschooling. Good for you for sticking to your conviction about what is right for your son :)