(If this clogs up your reader, SORRY! I've got lots to say today)
Greetings, blogging friends! It has been a week since I last blogged -- how sad! But the truth is, "life" happened. And when life happens, projects have to wait. BOO!
I took last week to get stuff done. I had to get all my homeschool paperwork updated and get things ready (computer, spelling lists, etc.) for our new homeschool year. I attended a homeschool group meeting. I met with old friends. I prayed and encouraged some of our old friends caught up in hard times. It was a "life" week, for sure!
And this past week -- when seeing many kids go back to school both locally and in blogland -- I've really been thinking about WHY exactly we homeschool. I'd love to share with you our reasons; so today's the day!
We first started homeschooling in 2008. Our oldest son had been in public school for 3 1/2 years. We put him into Kindergarten when he was four years old turning five. He did great, kept up well, and continued on until the third grade.
When he was in second grade, he had the most incredible teacher. Mr. L was a Christian man who was passionate about the Lord. He and his wife were BOTH SECOND GRADE TEACHERS at the same school! So sweet. He was so tender with the students, and reflected his relationship with Jesus Christ every day in the classroom, whether it was by singing children's bible songs on the guitar with them or encouraging our son to invite children to our church and AWANA program. He would even come see my son in our church performances, though it was not his home church! I will always be grateful that the Lord placed such a Godly teacher in the public school system in our son's life.
It was that year with Mr. L that convinced us that we wanted our children to have a Christian education. We just couldn't afford it. So our son continued on into the third grade. It wasn't until his open house in March that we really knew we needed to bring him home to homeschool. We weren't comfortable with what was being taught in their textbooks. We felt that the challenges we would experience allowing him to be taught certain things that were against our convictions -- and then us trying to convince him what he was learning was false -- would be dangerous ground to tread on. So after much prayer and discussion, we decided to withdrawal him from public school and homeschool.
Now backing up for a minute -- I would have NEVER in a million years thought I would homeschool. I'm not a very patient person, and teachers require an extraordinary amount of patience! They needed to be knowledgeable in all things! They needed to be experienced! I'm none of the above.
There was also the issue of socialization...DUN DUN DUN. The "S" word. "Homeschooled kids aren't socialized." "All children need to be socialized and that happens among their peers in a classroom setting". These are things I've heard in regards to homeschooling. And it's a complete and total myth. But more on that later.
Luckily, in California our homeschooling rules are pretty laid back. There is a wonderful, informative site CHN that takes you step by step through how to withdrawal your child from public school and how to set up your homeschool. Wow! So after getting all that taken care of, we finished out the rest of third grade and then I bought a curriculum set that would take care of all of fourth grade.
Boy, was that year rough! Our son had spent 3 1/2 years learning one way. Coming home and homeschooling with a very different learning technique really threw him for a loop. There were tears, arguing, frustration. It was a HARD year. When we finished out that curriculum, I knew that we needed to find another one; that curriculum was NOT working for him, and not catering to the way he learns. So after searching and asking fellow homeschooling families what they used, we decided to go with Switched On Schoolhouse.
It was just what he needed. This is an amazing, interactive curriculum that totally caters to my son's learning style. We have been using it for 3 grade years now, and I've also started my youngest son on Switched On Schoolhouse for the 3rd grade. In addition, we do spelling and sentences to keep their penmanship neat and up to par, along with book reports and lots of book reading.
Now, onto our reasons WHY we homeschool!
- Our first and most important reason for homeschooling is to keep Jesus Christ in our education. I love the fact that Christian based curriculum always implements the Lord into the work, no matter what subject it is. We love the Lord, and want what we learn to be centered around Him and His Word :)
- We LOVE the freedom of a homeschooling schedule! I have always found the concept of children waking up extremely early to get into the habit so that they'll be prepared for doing it for the rest of their life kinda strange. The fact that they'll be doing it for the rest of their lives is reason enough to let my kids be KIDS, and get their rest. I find they're at their best when they sleep in a bit and are able to go about their morning at their own pace (sometimes a little TOO slow, which is when I regulate! hah).
- We LOVE the flexibility of homeschooling: When something comes up, we can just take the day off and resume tomorrow. If we wake up and decide that we want to go to the beach, we can do that! When a baby's been throwing up all night and mom needs a day to focus on her, we can do that. When something comes up that might need to take us out of town, we can do that. Now granted, we have to make up the school day to comply with our state's mandatory attendance regulation, but we just add a day to the end of the year.
- We LOVE being with other homeschoolers! When we moved to this new town and started going to our current church, we found a large sized homeschool group that likes to do activities together! There is a field trip once a month, and they're cool field trips too! October is the Science Museum here in Southern California...LOVE that place! And the support from the group is awesome. My boys really enjoy the friendships of the other boys in the group, which are also their friends that they go to church with. Win Win situation here :)
- We LOVE the controlled environment aspect of homeschooling. Another reason why we removed our son from public school was the unnecessary profanity and vulgarity he was exposed to. We're talkin' third graders with mouths like sailors! The bullying of other students, the "harmless, all in fun" name calling....it's just not a necessary part of my children's education. At home, they learn free from the anxieties of playground bullying, their flaws being pointed out daily and the adult-influenced vulgarities that their little ears just need not hear.
Socialization...the "S" word. The fact is, as long as your children have interaction with other children, their socialization skills are being developed and nurtured. They don't NEED to be in a classroom for 6 hours to have that skill developed. If you take your children to a playground, to children's church, to choir, to gymnastics, to dance class, to play places...they're socializing. For someone to say a child who learns at home vs. learning in a classroom environment will lack socialization skills is just silly.
I believe the Lord has entrusted me and my Husband with our children to do the very best that we can raising them up in Him -- to know Him, to love Him and to WANT Him as the Lord of their lives; and for our family, teaching them at home the required studies with God's fingerprints all over them is what works best. I'm NOT saying that homeschooling is for every family, because it's NOT. But it's what the Lord put on OUR hearts and our convictions, so we do it.
Oh, does it have its challenges! But it's worth it. I think it pleases the Lord. And that's enough for me.
So here's to another year of homeschooling!
So here's to another year of homeschooling!