I have started and put aside this post many times. It is something I have not necessarily cared to write about due to the array of negative opinions so many hold and my desire not to debate.
Our decision to teach our children at home is a personal one. I do not feel it necessary to explain or justify the choice to exercise our right to homeschool any more than the parent who chooses to utilize the availability of public or private schools should.
It is simply the path that we believe right for our family at this time.
But because it is such a large part of our family structure and life, I want to share with you. It is what happens in our home on this street where we live…. and we have LOVED it!
We prayed for many years about our decision (before our kids even existed). I had many conflicting emotions and wrestled the pros and cons for a long time. There are so many stereotypes, assumptions, and false ideas about families who choose to homeschool. (I know because I had my fair share of negative thoughts once.)
I put a lot of time into forming an educated opinion so that we could decipher what would be best for us. I did the research. We have had the pleasure of getting to know other families who have chosen this path. We have friends who have been able to share their experiences of being homeschooled as children and their successes as adults. I learned much that helped give me confidence in our choice.
Let me just say this: We aren’t homeschooling to shield our children from the world, but to better equip them to function within it. We believe this to be one of the best ways that we, as their parents, can do so.
I am not going to say that homeschooling is for everyone. I will say it again…this is what is best for our family. So, if you’re reading this and it’s not a choice you would make, please don’t feel judged by me. I would trust you’re doing what you believe best for your children just as we do ours. Now that that little disclaimer is out of of the way… :)
We dedicated a corner of our basement for school space. I knew that, if nothing else, I needed room to store materials. We have done a lot of work in our school room but there are also days that we work at the kitchen table. (A curious, rambunctious toddler has played a big part in where we learn from day to day!)
For this year, we chose a curriculum (My Father’s World) that we believed would be a good fit for both Spock and me. I like the structure, instruction, and guidance it has given me as the teacher. I also like that it has been a gentle, kinesthetic introduction to formal education for Spock’s kindergarten year. He has responded so well! Most of all, I love the biblical principles and truths that are taught in practical, applicable ways.
Spock loves math (which is truly ironic because it is my least favorite subject). We decided to supplement with a program called Math-U-See because he was thirsty for more than was what provided in the curriculum. He begs to do math every day and will literally bounce with excitement when I tell him it’s time.
I keep a daily journal of our lessons, activities, books read, and notes on progress. We have also been creating a kindergarten binder of his work for a keepsake. When I start feeling discouraged or question our decision, it helps to look through that binder and reflect on what he has accomplished since the beginning of the year.
He has come so far and it’s been my privilege to accompany him as we have navigated these new waters. We have been learning what works for him and what doesn’t. It has been an advantage to quickly pinpoint areas giving him trouble and then take the time to work through and conquer them before moving forward.
It’s been a challenge for me, having spent my elementary years in a traditional school setting, to step outside the box of what I have known as “normal.” (But, really, what is “normal” anyway?) The trials and adjustments have been well worth it this year because of the results we’re seeing in Spock through his growing confidence about learning, his enthusiasm, his inquisitive mind, and being able to witness and celebrate it as a family.
So, if you’ve been wondering, now you know… yep, we’re a homeschool family!
“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So get on your way!” ~ Dr. Seuss