Okay, I’ve taken a deep breath and decided to let the world know that we are homeschooling our boys this year.
I never had the desire to be a teacher. I couldn’t bear dealing with other people’s discipline problems day in and day out. When people used to ask me if I would be homeschooling my children, I would have to try really hard not to laugh. Are you kidding? I was living for the day when they’d both be in public school and I could get back to being a grown up with a career again.
Somehow – God changed my heart. I think I felt the first small change in my attitude when we heard a radio program about “The Lost Generation of Men”. They were discussing how boys are no longer being raised to become men and are no longer taking on grown-up responsibilities. We’ve seen this trend and we hope to help our boys avoid it. Also, as I built Emily’s Homestead, I realized that homeschooling could be a reality. I could teach the kids AND do the work I love!
Please don’t look at this article as me trying to persuade you why YOU should be homeschooling your kids. I absolutely think it’s a personal choice for what works best for your family. This is something that we’ve decided to try to see if it works for ours. As people have asked me about it – I realized that I don’t really have one good response as to “Why.” I’ve thought about this for many months now and have reached the conclusion that there is no one reason! There are so many aspects to this choice that we feel would benefit our boys. In no particular order, here are our family’s reasons for trying homeschooling:
- Our Schedule – as long as we make sure we get in 180 days of school, we are free to make our own schedule. We travel a lot and there’s a wonderful freedom in getting to take our trips all year round. When Thing #1 was in public school for Kindergarten and 1st grade, we really struggled with trying to line up Fly Guy’s time off with the school system’s time off.
- Our children can learn at their own pace. Be it accelerated (I hope!) or needing extra attention and time on a certain subject.
- We have more control over what our children are learning. There are many curricula out there and it’s kind of fun getting to look for the best fit for your family. We also hope to further instill our family’s morals and a sense of work ethic/responsibility.
- We can have more FUN by implementing lots of hands-on projects along with our curriculum. The artist in me just loves this.
- Shorter school days – there’s more time for the boys to play and just be kids because the school day is more condensed when you homeschool and there’s no homework (if they get all their work done during school time).
- We can tailor extracurriculars to their personal interests. Right now we’re big into mechanics, electronics, and space. So we can tie in math and science with these more “fun” lessons.
- Safety – although I don’t agree with keeping your children in a bubble, I like the reassurance that they are safe. When Thing #1 was going into 1st grade at a wonderful public school, one of the 2 first grade teachers turned himself in right before the school year for molesting boys. For the last 30 years. And he was the teacher I’d been hoping for because I wanted my son to have another strong male role model and everyone said such wonderful things about his teaching. To be fair to the school, he didn’t do things at school (it was on his own time) but it really shook the community and frankly, it shook me up too. It seemed a little too close to home. Add to this the school shooting epidemic in our society and I think that the safety factor is a very nice plus to homeschooling.
- We hope to instill a love of learning. Both my husband and myself love to research and learn new things so it’s important to us that our boys develop a life-long love of learning too.
Although I’m definitely excited for this new adventure we’re embarking on, I understand that there are some disadvantages that we will need to work with too. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- The #1 concern of ours is our oldest son’s shyness. It’s almost painful for him to talk to new people. I’ve known some homeschool families that have been very successful and some that end up with kids that are the typical “weird homeschoolers”. You know them. The ones who are obviously very bright and can converse with nuclear physicists but can’t seem to fit with kids their own age. We will be making huge efforts to keep our boys socialized with sports, cub scouts, and just plain-old-time to make and play with friends.
- By choosing our own curriculum, we have to make sure that our children are keeping up with the current standards for their age. Although it’s not always necessary for the early grades, we’re planning on doing end of year testing to make sure we’re on track. (Or dare I hope – ahead?)
- Another hugely scary factor . . . Me. Am I up to it? Do I have the patience to do this? Am I willing to give up my free time during the day? Can I teach my children and keep building a business? The answer to this is . . . I don’t know. We actually started our school year a little early (because we can!) and are just wrapping up our first week. Here’s what I’ve already found out:
Teaching my children is much more mentally tiring on me than I thought it would be.
It is also much more rewarding than I thought it would be.
There have already been some battles.
But there has already been a lot of fun.
I think it’s going to take a little time but we’ll get used to this change.