So homeschooling. It’s all the rage, right? Well, since I’m all about being trendy (eye roll) we jumped on that band wagon!
Well, no, that’s not actually how it worked out. Some of you expressed interest, so I thought I’d write about it!
I know a lot of people have strong opinions about homeschooling, and that’s okay. We’re all entitled to our own thoughts. I’m just here to share our story and what has and hasn’t worked for us!
Now, you know there are those type A personalities, everything is done well in advance and super organized and well- planned? A lot of thought goes into everything and things run relatively smoothly? I’m not that person. In fact, I am the opposite. Is there a Type Z personality? Because that’s what I’d be.
I am an under-thinker, non-planner, ‘eh, it’ll work out!’ kind of person. This can have it’s negative effects and can be helpful at times. I don’t worry much, but I don’t think too much about things. I’m go-with-the-flow and life generally works out. I have a relatively low stress level, and not a lot rattles me. However, the non-planner thing does not bode well for me. I have to work hard at being planned and organized and have to constantly work to manage our lives well. It’s a struggle for sure.
All that to say, people generally research homeschooling and think about it a lot before hand. Me? We decided at the end of July that we were gonna jump in. To be honest, this worked perfectly for me. Had I tried to plan it for 2 years in advance, I probably would have had the same outcome. There’s only so much you can do before you start something completely unknown.
I know, Type A personalities everywhere are breaking into sweats. Sorry.
Reasons we decided to start homeschooling
I am sure that everyone has their own reasons for their kids’ education, I’m just merely sharing ours. I am a firm believer that there are multiple ways to raise children, not one correct one. Different things work for different families, and we all just have to do our best!
My Husband’s Schedule
As a fireman, his schedule is weird and it varies. I rarely know his schedule and it’s hard to make plans around him. Sometimes he’ll work through the weekend but be home 3 days in a row during the week. If the kids were in regular school, with our super busy evenings, he would never see them! This way, we can do work on our own time, when it works for us, and have hang out time with dad when he has his days off. It’s awesome.
Yes, I realize you can have intelligent, good kids in the public and private systems, but for us, nothing beats one-on-one, being able to push your kids. My older son is taking a very high level English class (I’m learning so much!) and my younger son has moved up a grade level in math. It’s awesome to go at your own pace and push where you see they can be pushed.
Know your kids
I have a very talkative kid and a very quiet kid. With the talkative one I was always very aware what was happening at school, because he would recount every aspect of it as soon as he hit the car. The quiet one never could get a word in edgewise, so I didn’t really know what was going on in his classroom. With them home, I know what they’re doing, I know their level, and I can push and pull back as needed. I had no idea that my younger son was a math-minded kid. It just clicks in a way I haven’t seen it click for my older guy and he’s already a grade level higher. My older son struggles in math and we’ve had to do extra to make sure that he is keeping up and understanding it. But he excels at English and speaking in front of people.
Being able to have them home has helped me identify better their strengths and weaknesses. I can help them in areas that they struggle in and let them soar in areas that are easier for them. I love that!
Time with them
The other day I said to my husband that we only have 10 more years with them home. TEN. The first 10 flew by, so I imagine the second 10 will too! I love being with them, hanging out, learning together. I want to be around, I want to cherish these moments. Like I mentioned, with my husband’s schedule, it’s easier for us to have family time when we can do it when we want.
Teach what we want
After leaving France, we have tried so hard to keep up with French. However, after a full day of school and an hour of homework, I did not have willing students to add another 20 minutes of French! They wanted to play and I wanted to let them! Now we just add in French into our curriculum. They learn a little Latin as well through our co-op, Classical Conversations. We do devotions together in the morning. We memorize verses together and have added art and music.
I don’t know about you, but my kids need a lot of sleep. They’re huge, so that could be why, but they need sleep. My older son could sleep for a whole 12 hours! They also have evening athletics which keep them up later than I’d want, so it’s nice to not have to get up at 6:30. They wake up by 8 to get started for school. And trust me, they need it!
This is not really high on my list, but I think I should mention it all the same. Public school can have some nasty influences, and why not keep my kids from them as long as I can? I don’t want them living in a bubble, but I’m also okay if they aren’t exposed to stuff younger than they need to be. Some of my older sons’ (he’s 11) best friends are girls and it’s not weird at all. If there are crushes going on, no one talks about it and no one makes it weird. It’s a line my husband and I are constantly trying to walk — exposing them enough to the world to not have them ignorant or naive, but also keeping them innocent as long as we can.
Y’all know I love to travel. And while we don’t get to do it as much now-a-days, I still like to think it could happen at a moments notice! My older son went to Spain a couple weeks ago to play in an international basketball tournament. He took two weeks for spring break and I didn’t have to get extra homework, talk to teachers or worry about getting that letter from the schools saying we’ve missed too much school. I’ve gotten one each year in public school, only for traveling since we rarely get sick. Now, I just make sure he is on point or ahead and start school back when we’re ready!
Gosh, I love it. This morning, for example, my friend who also homeschools, needed someone to watch her kids while she went to the dentist. So I watched them, the kids played for a couple hours, they left and now my kids are doing school. It’s in the afternoon, which we usually don’t do, but they got good play time in the morning. We do what we want, when we want, how we want, and gosh darn it, I love it. Lest you start criticizing me on not doing enough school, we obviously put that first and work around it, but we make our own schedule and I love that.
So there you have it, most of our reasons for homeschooling! Let me just add a disclaiming and say, like I mentioned before, that I don’t think that these things can’t be done while your kids are in a public or private school. A lot of families do it and are very successful at it. Our boys were in public schools, here and in France, for 8 and 5 years before we pulled them out. So if you guys are doing whatever you’re doing and it’s working – stick with it! Things work differently for different people! I am for sure not here to say everyone should be homeschooling, I am well aware it’s not for everyone.
Negative Aspects of Homeschooling
That being said, there are negative aspects. I couldn’t write a homeschooling post without writing about those as well!
They’re always there. Always.
They never leave. They’re always there. Asking questions, eating snacks, leaving messes. There are no breaks. Kids can be annoying and I will be the first to admit I lose my mind every once in a while. Thankfully, I have a husband who values my sanity (it’s in his best interest to do so!) and he helps when I need him and when he can. We also have a pretty solid community and we moms help each other out. And honestly, surprisingly, I have found that mostly, I’m okay. I had a rough patch in February, but besides that, I’ve mostly enjoyed them! Granted, I only have two kids, but it’s been mostly fun.
I know this is one of people’s biggest criticisms, and I get it. Homeschoolers have to work a little harder to socialize their kids. But like I mentioned, we’re a part of a co-op where we meet once a week and the boys love it. We also have a strong community, so they see those friends a lot too. And for our family personally, they’re involved in a lot of sports, church and outside activities, so they get a lot of interaction with other kids and adults. We also travel a lot and our kids have already been exposed to more cultures than some adults. I think they’ll be okay.
All in all, for us, the positive definitely outweighs the negative. It has worked well for us this year and we plan to continue next year and take it year by year. We are not necessarily lifers – committed for the rest of their academic career until college, but we are open to all options!
I know this got long, but it’s a little insight into our world. Would you like to hear more about homeschooling? How we do it, what we use, our school room, schedules or anything like that? Leave it in the comments if you do!
Please remember, this is our personal choice and opinions! I am well aware, good kids can be raised all kinds of ways! My husband was public school all the way through and he is the best man I know. I went to private school and leave a little to be desired… Let’s all just commit to doing what’s best with our family!