This week our family began homeschooling. Some of my greatest advice regarding homeschooling has centered on staying in line with specific goals. Before we began, Justin and I made a list of what we wanted to accomplish with homeschooling, and I am trying to check in with those goals and make sure that the process is successful and purposeful for our family. I decided I would try reporting online because for the many years I considered homeschooling I wished and wished to be able to see inside others' experiences with homeschooling. Maybe I can provide that for someone else here.
First of all, for clairification, reasons we DID NOT choose homeschooling.
1. Bad Schools - Our family lives in the boundaries for a great school. Our kids have wonderful friends with good values and had fantastic teachers. They had access to excellent programs and learned many wonderful things. When we made our choice, it was not between bad and good, or right and wrong. It was a decision of "better for our family right now."
2. Common Core - I don't have a problem with common core. Shoot me.
3. Those crazy liberals! That crazy curriculum! - Nope. Never had a problem with this. We love meeting different people and learning about them. We are great with figuring out how to hear things at school and come home to learn how that fits into our belief system. Plus, our kids are in elementary school, and this just hasn't been a problem.
Reasons we did choose homeschooling.
1. We have goals for our children beyond academics. Look, I loved school, and I was good at it. Achievement in school is big for us. Doing your best, going to college, learning, learning, learning! But there is so much more to life. I want my kids to learn so much more. Cooking, cleaning, sewing, taking care of family. And I just don't think this is less important, even though as a society we turn down our noses at it. I want my children to find proficiency and value in the tasks they are going to be spending their whole lives doing. I am glad I passed on AP Chem exam, but I still hate cooking with everything in my soul, and it is part of my life three times every day. Oh, the horror! I have a friend who loves cooking because it is Chemistry. How cool is that? I want to give my children more to find in these realities of life.
2. School eats up time. Sending my children to other people for five days of a seven day week and seven of the thirteen hours they're awake has never sat well with me. Add to that increased homework and I start getting a little grumpy. Add to that the fact that - of necessity - the teacher must share her time with 30 children and I begin to change my mind about the efficiency of the program in using all that time I'm handing over to them. We can finish academics in the morning and then use our time for other learning. We can do extracurriculars without running around with our heads chopped off. I do not want to plan my family's life around the one hour left to us each day when school is finished with its requirements. Free time! I truly think my little cherubs need some free time to imagine and create and play. And more then 15 minutes to eat!!!! What is up with that? They are children, and they are so smart. They learn through discovery and excitement. I want to give them time to do that.
4. We value family relationships. My children are so grumpy and tired after school (and starving) that they take it out on each other. Also, they have begun to buy into the idea that their friends are cooler than their siblings. I want my children to be best friends with each other. If I'm going to birth them, they better darn well love each other. This is probably the biggest one for me. We do have access to a homeschool group here, and we have already used it for week one. I have arranged for beloved school friends to have regularly schedule play dates. We will be going to volunteer with the elderly as a service. We are not going to sit home and stare at each other all day. But our primary relationships are with our family members. Already the conflict in our home has been greatly reduced.
5. We believe in spiritual education. The world is a heavy place to live, and there is so much garbage. I want my children to obtain a spiritual education that receives just as much emphasis as their academic education. As a recent conference talk says: I want them to be prepared in a manner that was never seen before. I've always loved the idea of the Jewish Yeshiva (which I'm probably spelling wrong) where children are taught about Faith throughout the day. We now start our days with a devotional and personal scripture time. We discuss at lenght those questions I always brush aside at bedtime because I'm exhausted and don't want to talk to people under the age of ten anymore.
Well, it's late now, so I will have to give my update on week one another time. Plus, the baby's crying....