Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why I homeschool

It's almost rest time! That glorious part of the day where I eat without anyone asking to have some. I can watch a show while folding laundry without anyone talking over the characters. No one is fighting (well most of the time). No one is crying. I can do some house work, pay bills, prep dinner. Ah, freedom for about an hour.

While I do love rest time (please show me a mother that doesn't) I truly love having my kids around me. Two of my boys are old enough to be in school. My younger two could be in preschool. I could have much more freedom. My house could be cleaner, my dinners could be more elaborate, and my life could be much more organized. I could meet with girlfriends for coffee, have a quiet time with Jesus by myself, or I could even work part time and provide extra income for my growing family.

Instead, we choose to homeschool. I have learned to live with a picked up house that is not immaculate.  I have learned to freezer cook and menu plan so we can get dinner on the table in between lessons and play breaks. I have learned to be creative in our finances to accommodate a larger family in a single income home. In a world where two kids and two jobs makes sense we have stepped out of "the norm". And I love it.

This is our third year technically home schooling. My oldest is in second grade. I have one in Kindergarten and two in preschool . Already I am asked frequently when we will send them to school. At some point they will want to be around other kids, play sports, need a teacher, etc. Oh the joy of the defense.

I always say the same thing. "We take it year by year and kid by kid. So far this is working best for us all so we will stick with it as long as it is working." I try not to go into too much detail with everyone, but I really love teaching my kids. I love being with them. They are actually pretty cool little people. I love watching it all "click". I want to be the one to deal with the melt downs, temper tantrums, and hurt feelings. It isn't always fun, but it's always worth it. So, I want to share a few reasons why we homeschool.

1. I like to teach. 
Ok, so first you should know I have always wanted to teach. When I was a kid my poor sister was subjected to playing school most days. I would teach her everything I learned in school. I loved it. She not so much, but we aren't talking about her. I used my allowance to buy old text books at garage sales. I researched learning styles, birth order, and curriculum in my free time in high school. I've always wanted to teach. It was my major in college. It was a no brainer. I didn't want to waste all that energy so I'm taking it out on my poor children. :)  I love picking curriculum. I love reading aloud to my kids. I'm a nut for children's literature. I just have a passion for it. It was always plan A. Mostly because I wanted to do it.

2. I like to learn
I love learning with my kids. A lot of what we are covering is not new, but I sure didn't remember it all. I love exploring museums, going on field trips, doing experiments right along side them. Bonus is that I know what they are learning. We review at dinner. We talk about it in the car. They tell me their ideas on the subjects we are studying. It's great! It's messy, time consuming, and difficult, but great.

3. I get to teach my kids what I want
I love curriculum. I am slightly obsessed. I enjoy choosing the way that each of my children get to learn a subject. We as a family enjoy incorporating what we are learning into our day to day life. We especially love incorporating our beliefs into our education. They are connected. If we are going to study history let's study Biblical history. It is all important information. If we are studying earth  science let's study who made the earth, and how awesome He is evidenced through His creation. Handwriting is going to happen we may as well use it to teach memory verses. My kids love that it all connects. No need to compartmentalize Christianity. The Gospel is more than just Sunday school and AWANA. It is at the core of our very being. Shouldn't we teach it as such.

4. I have boys
I decided before I even had kids (or a husband) that I wanted to homeschool. Then I had little boys. These crazy little bundles of energy see a desk as jail. We do math fact jumping jacks, we reenact battles with action figures, we do science experiments that are edible or blow up. We live school we don't go to school. We do nature walks at the park. We go to museums, zoos, and art galleries. We listen to audio books on our way to the grocery store where my kids do math to calculate our cost. They help me read recipes. We play games that challenge their minds. They read...all the time. They know us well at the library. My big boys are at least one grade level ahead in most subjects and a little further in others. They are thriving academically, emotionally, and spiritually. I don't think they would be doing as well in a mainstream school environment.

5. I love the freedom
We wake up some days at 8 am. The kids all pile into my bed. We cuddle, wrestle, giggle, and enjoy time together. We do chores and get dressed, have breakfast, play, and relax before we start school. We go on vacation when we want. We are not restricted to a school schedule. We aren't bogged down by homework in the evenings. We get to enjoy time as a family. We are already plenty busy as is. I cannot imagine attempting to get every one up and out the door early. Then there is pick up, homework, extra curricular activities, etc. We already have house church, sports, co-op, Awana, Church weekend services, friends over, family outings, errands. Who has time for school!

6. It makes us closer
Believe it or not we really like being together. My soon to be eight year old still hugs me in public. My kids are each others best friends. They have other great friends, but they genuinely like each other and enjoy playing together. Not to say they don't fight some times, but they are close. I think a part of that is that they are not only siblings but peers. I love seeing them love on each other.

I could keep going, but I will spare you much more of my novel. There are so many benefits to our family. I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach and train my children the way I feel is best for them. It is such a blessing.

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