1. Homeschooling means learning WITH our children. Education doesn't stop at graduation. I love to learn new things and so does my husband. We each have our own areas of interest and expertise, but we love to explore different things together. Educating our children at home means that we learn alongside them. I'm amazed at the things that I've picked up that I didn't get in my own public school education from the books we read and field trips that we take as a family. I long to instill in my children a lifelong love of learning.
" Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." ~John Dewey
2. Homeschooling means never missing an "Aha!" moment. All of those times when my children are struggling with a concept and have to exercise their minds just a little (or a lot!) more than they are accustomed to doing and then finally (FINALLY!) see the light? I get to be there for them. There is something quite amazing about seeing the confusion or frustration melt off a child's face when they suddenly "get it."
3. Homeschooling means I don't have to miss my children. Every time there is a break for our local public and private schools, I see a flood of "I don't want to send my children back yet!" statuses flood my Facebook newsfeed when the break ends. There are times when I've seen burnt out parents whose children are in school all day then run off to all of the extracurricular activities that they participate in who complain of just wanting a quiet few days at home with their family. I've seen parents whose work schedules are so gruelingly demanding that they are so wiped out when they get home they can hardly lift their heads, no less participate in a lively conversation with their children. They miss them. I have the pleasure of spending most of every day with my children. I talk to them, play with them, lay around the house in my PJs with them. They are here with me where I want them most.
4. Homeschooling means that we can be flexible. We can take vacations at any time of year without worrying about if it will interfere with school lessons. We plan field trips around our schedule and interests. If we all suddenly come down with some really icky sickness, we can take a few days off without a doctor's note. We can stop using a certain curriculum or approach if it isn't working for us and try something different. We can choose our school lessons based on our interests rather than a governmental standard. We can school at 8AM or 4PM. We do not have to tied to a rigid schedule.
5. Homeschooling means that our family unit is tight. The five (soon to be six!) of us are knitted together in a way that makes it hard to separate us. Sure, my kids have moments where they need some help, um, cooperating. I absolutely have days where I just need to recharge my Mommy batteries, but overall we all love being with each other. We of course enjoy spending time with others, but I believe we would lack just a smidgen of our bond if we were separated 6+ hours each day.
6. Homeschooling means we can take breaks in the middle of our school day to just be silly. We are not confined to uncomfortable desks, chairs, or tables. We can shake our sillies out to regain our focus.
7. Homeschooling means my children know their teacher genuinely cares about them. Yes, there are teachers in public and private schools that care about their students, but these quality educators are few and far between. Even then, they are greatly restricted either my class size, school policies, or curriculum guidelines which makes it hard to really give that individual care and attention that all students should be able to receive. My children already know that I love them because I'm their mother. I strive to show them that the choices their father and I make are because we are invested in what is best for them and their futures. Each book or curriculum choice, each activity, each field trip, is not chosen at random. It is carefully selected by their parents to enrich their lives. They won't have to be dragged along by material that is beyond their ability or saddled down by that which is not up to their level. They can work at their own pace.
8. Homeschooling means that our faith is intertwined in everything we do. We have the ability to ensure that our children's education is not inundated with things that we believe go against the Bible's teachings. We have the ability to wait until our children reach the appropriate maturity level before introducing certain ideas that counter our own. We don't have to worry about having to spend time undoing harmful teachings. We have the ability to teach certain subjects with a biblical perspective. This is a freedom that we greatly appreciate.
9. Homeschooling means that I have no one to blame for educational failures. If my children aren't succeeding, if they aren't retaining information, if they don't reach milestones---I take responsibility for it. I can't blame a failing school system, a negligent teacher, etc. If my children end up having special needs, learning troubles, etc., then it is my responsibility to tailor their education in such a way so that they can still succeed or search out the help they require. I carry the burden squarely on my own shoulders. While this can seem daunting, it actually helps me be a more attentive parent.
10. Homeschooling means freedom to be different. Simply by BEING homeschoolers, we are going against the traditional grain. We don't have to try to be cookie cutter versions of anyone else to fit in, to move forward, to succeed. The world is our classroom and we intend to explore it, analyze it, read about it, work in it, play in it---all on our own time, with our own pace, in our own way.
If you homeschool, what does it mean to you?
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