Monday, July 9, 2012

Never Say Never - Thoughts on Homeschooling

Well.  I never thought I would be writing this post.  Though I suppose I should know by now that I ought not say I will never do something as a parent if I don't know a whole lot about what that thing is.  That thing in this case is homeschooling. 

I have historically had the typical concerns about homeschooling.  "Don't homeschooled kids miss out so much on school experiences?"  "How can they be socialized?" And so forth.  My husband has at times suggested that we consider homeschooling, but I have resisted for these reasons.  Then recently I had a conversation with one of my brothers in law and his wife.  She is a teacher in 6th grade and he was telling me about what wonderful experiences she has had with homeschooled kids when they come into traditional school.  The conversation went on from there, and I'll spare you the details, but it started me thinking.  And asking.  And reading.  And it turns out homeschool is way more than I thought it was.

So, what really prompted me to think I might want to homeschool our kids?  This:

 We watched lots of princess movies with Grandma, which sparked some awesome pretending.

And lots of other stuff I have posted about in the past few weeks as we have been traveling.  The photos in this post are from some of the other fun experiences (in addition to those I've already written about) my girls had while visiting my parents.  See, we don't have any family living near us.  The closest family member is about a five and a half hour drive away, which is a little far for frequent weekend trips, and my parents live 10 hours from us.  My girls get so much from visiting with our families.  They get experiences at my parents' house and at the Farm and in Iowa that could never be matched by the experiences they would get in a conventional school.  Not even close.  My husband is fortunate to have quite a bit of time off from his job, which allows us to visit the people we love.  The people my girls need to know and make memories with.  So, we travel.  But traditional schooling would put an abrupt stop to that as soon as Miss begins Kindergarten.  The more I think about it, I'm just not willing to trade in the flexibility to travel and let me girls know their heritage and all the other things they can and do learn from our trips for conventional schooling.  I would if I thought that traditional school offered something truly valuable that they couldn't get through homeschooling.  I used to think that it did.  But I'm learning that that's not the case.  

Don't get me wrong.  I have absolutely nothing against traditional schools.  I'm not saying that homeschooling is necessarily better than regular schools.  I'm just saying that I have begun to realize that it is better for us.  I contacted another blogging mom, Katrina from They All Call Me Mom, to ask her about her experiences with homeschooling her kids (she has nine).  She was so helpful and gave me some great tips.  In fact, everyone I have contacted with questions about homeschooling has been exceptionally warm and kind and informative.  I have been able to find some local groups that I think will fit with the type of homeschooling I would like to do.  I'm reading some good books (right now I'm really enjoying "The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling" by Rachel Gathercole).  Essentially, I have reached the point where I feel confident that when the time comes for Miss to start Kindergarten, she'll stay home with me instead.  It's pretty exciting, actually.  

I have a lot to learn.  And a lot to teach.  But that's what moms do all day every day anyway, right?

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