Yup… I’m a homeschoolin’ mama!
Go ahead… picture me with a bun and a jean skirt… ooo – even better, a jean jumper! YESSSS!!
Ahaha!!! This is sooo me!! Let’s face it… I RoCk this look. ;P
Tee hee… that’s it. I homeschool for the fashion.
Okay, okay, I kid. Here’s my real homeschooling story…
Famous Last Words
It all started years ago, when I was in college at Cornerstone University getting my education degree. There was a kid there that everyone secretly called “Homeschool” because- you guessed it – he was light on social skills. He had, in fact, been homeschooled his whole life, was a good guy, but was a tad bit dorky. (gees that seems so mean now!)
Not him! Wait!…Nope. Not him. ha.
Fast forward a few years… I was teaching kids programming at our church. I had a group of second graders and asked them to spell the word “red.” Easy, right? Well, all the kids could do it easily… except for one homeschooled boy. He could not spell red. In second grade. Yikes!
Then there was a similar moment in Children’s Church when I was stunned by a homeschooled girl’s inability to do a simple math problem. Come on!
So, let’s see – social skills, language arts, AND math – All things homeschooled kids were bad at.
And that’s when I decided…
I would NEVER homeschool my children.
* By the way, I now view ALL of those experiences far differently. Socialization?? Depends on the family. And I would rather have a Godly dork than a cool, but awful, kid. And kids not knowing certain things? I love that homeschooling allows the freedom to meet the individual kid where they are. We don’t have the same finish line, and some kids are ready for different things at different times. And usually, they all end up at the same place eventually. Now I understand this stuff is the GREAT thing about homeschooling!*
Well… having a (five year old) baby changes everything…
So I signed J up for young fives at our local public school. Their program had a great rep. The teacher was super. The learning was hands on and engaging. We were so excited, right? No. Actually, I felt upset about it.
I had never loved leaving my kids anywhere (still don’t), and here I was about to let him go to a complete stranger, six hours a day, five days a week. I was not looking forward to it. We went school shopping, and tried to get pumped up about it. I worked to suppress my feelings of dread, telling myself I just didn’t want to face my baby growing up and taking the next step in life. I didn’t recognize the plan God had for our family at that time.
So, school time was closing in… and finally Tony and I had a crazy talk. Neither one of us felt at peace. What if we homeschool J for Kindergarten?? What would we do with our other kids? How do we know what to teach? What if our kids are friendless? Dare we dude??
Could we – mere parents- educate our kids?!
Giving it a go…
We decided it was time to seek some wise counsel. There is a great family at our church with grown/near grown homeschoolers. Their family is cool, spiritually grounded, intelligent, and just straight up outstanding folks. (They also have a band… shout out to Kleen Sl8) Tony and I made a list of questions for this family and set up a dinner date to find out how they made it work. Before we even started, the daughter said, “Oh gosh, are you going to ask how we have any friends?” To which I responded, “IT’S A VALID CONCERN, OKAY?!” haha… We went through the questions and got some great answers. Then we went home and made a pros and cons list. Then prioritized it. It all came down to our biggest concern…
We didn’t want to give the public school all the time they would demand from our family.
I couldn’t get past the 30 hours a week plus homework time thing. And he was five. I wasn’t ready to hand over my authority to someone else for 30 hours a week. I didn’t want our evenings to be taken up by homework after he’d been gone all day. I didn’t want some other entity to decide when we could go on vacation. Time goes too fast to let others decide how it’s spent. That was our biggest motivator.
The thing that most stands out to me in my mind still, 3 years later, was the mom of this family saying to me, “I am never going to look back and wish I had spent more time with my kids. I took every opportunity I have been given.” Wow. When I graduate my last kid, I want to be able to say the same.
First day of school last year!
So, we went for it. I got some Bob Jones curriculum. I took J off the list for young fives.
I bought a bulletin board, white board, and all kinds of Dollar Tree classroom supplies.
And we started homeschooling.
This is our fourth year homeschooling, and it has been a fantastic decision for our family. Our kids have learned a ton, and are SUPER smart (hehe) and we get our family time. To us – time together is the most important thing.