Toward the end of 2019 our two sons that were in public school were really struggling. They were attending an amazing school that was within walking distance of our home and they had fabulous teachers. But one son complained about getting made fun of a lot by other children and he felt dumb for not being able to keep up academically as well as others. He was also picking up so many negative and inappropriate behavior from other children. Our other son was in all day kindergarten and by the time he would come home and get his homework done, it would be dinner and bed. He was always crying because he never got to play. As parents we were heartbroken to see our kids not enjoying their childhood. We talked about options and happened to live in an area where many friends homeschooled their children. As we talked to them we felt led to do the same for our family. In January 2020 we pulled our boys out of public school. Within a few months Covid hit and many schools were shut down and families were forced to do school a different way. Many people called it homeschool, but it was just "school at home". Many might think it is the same thing, but in my opinion it is not. I am excited to share with you what homeschool means to me!
Let me start off by sharing what I feel homeschool is not. It is not the child sitting at a desk for several hours. It is not the parent standing in front and teaching everything. It is not the parent needing to have all the information and answers. It is not the child studying to pass tests.
Homeschool to me is learning through experiences. It's the child learning at their own pace, but also being encouraged to push forward. It's the child learning that the only person they need to impress is themself. It's learning to gain knowledge for the sake of becoming smarter. It's learning life skills. It's learning personal responsibility.
There are so many things I love about homeschool. Among the top things are flexibility and freedom. I used to stress about getting my boys to school on time. I used to stress when they missed school. I used to stress when they got sick or their classmates got sick. I used to stress about their homework assignments. Especially with a defiant child that would rage about having even more work to do after school. I used to stress about getting calls from the school about accidents, fights, and other issues. I used to stress about fundraisers, parent involvement opportunities, field trips, and more. I used to stress about coordinating Solomon's work schedule with the school schedule and holidays or vacations. That stress is gone. We create our own schedule, and it can change as needed. I get to choose the curriculum that works best for my children. When Solomon has work off, we can all spend time together. If a child is having an "off" day they can take things slower. If I'M having an off day- I can take a break. If we want to have school at the park, we can! If the child catches onto a concept quickly, we can move on and not spend an entire week on it. If the child is struggling we can take extra time or try a different approach.
One of my favorite things in our house is a white board next do our dinner table. We sit at the table many times a day, for meals, group learning, and crafts. As a question arises or as a concept pops into our heads to teach, we use the board to help us have a visual.
My boys are involved in piano lessons, gymnastics, tae kwon do, and church activities to help them with their social skills and talent development. A few of them are in occupational therapy, so having a flexible schedule has helped us claim the morning spots with their therapists. We also have a few other families that we collaborate with and switch off teaching specific topics or going on field trips or play dates and it has been a lot of fun!
I have many times where I would love a break or I feel like I'm failing my children. I doubt myself a lot. But we pray often on how to best help our children and family, and many times when I want to give up the answer is to "step up".
Much of the curriculum we use is from The Good and the Beautiful. For online lessons and games we have liked ABC Mouse and Khan Academy. A resource to help me as a homeschool mom that I LOVE is A Well Educated Heart. And Wild+Free Family is probably my favorite book right now.
I'm no pro, but I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about homeschool! And if you have any tips I'm all ears!