Why I’ve Decided to Homeschool
This summer I am deciding if I’m going to unenroll my daughter from public school and homeschool her next year. But if you were to ask me for my answer today it would most definitely be yes. Yes I am.
I’ve told a handful of friends and my husband and the first question is always the same.
I have so many reasons. But the strongest one is because I want to. I’ve always had that option as a top choice in the back of my mind. All this time I’ve just been making excuses for why we should give traditional school a try.
So she could get socialization and make friends. Because I loved school. So I could get a break during the day.
I wanted to homeschool before my daughter started kindergarten but told myself she would be missing out if I didn’t let her go. Some of my friends told me kindergarten was so fun and I didn’t want to take that away from her.
But this year came and went and it was fun, I loved her teacher, loved her school, but like a brick wall on the last day of school it hit me in the face. This was fun. But I still want to homeschool. Public school certainly is a place she can do well. But just maybe not the best option.
It’s as if she has been a bird stuffed into a box lined up to 17 identical boxes. Sure, she can fit in too; but she’d do much better with the freedom outside of that box. It’s just the way the system is set up. And maybe learning how to conform to a system is important at some point but, she not even 6 yet. I think she will be ok to wait awhile.
Yea, but but WHY are you going to do this?
I feel like when you’re talking to a homeschooling parent we feel the natural desire to explain why we can’t, don’t, or won’t homeschool our own kids. When I’m describing the reasons for our choice it’s definitely not against anyone who chooses differently.
I’m a sucky school mom
If I’m being totally honest I feel like I sucked this year as a parent with a kid in school. I went to the parties and parent meetings in the evenings, I read the amazing 7 Mindsets book the school is using as a program, and I sent supplies and tried to keep up with other news. But I dropped the ball on so many things. Some silly (I forgot to order her field day shirt) others more serious (I didn’t realize she was having problems paying attention the last quarter). Then add in the fact that she missed quite a few days for family trips.–I’m a terrible mom. At least that’s what I told myself repeatedly this last school year.
I wasn’t exactly sure how hands on or hands off I could or should be in the classroom. I didn’t want to be distracting. But perhaps the more I was there the less distracting I would have been.
Maybe more time helping at the school would have made a difference. But it just wasn’t always plausible with my son and schedule.
Speaking of which…
At the beginning of the school year I thought the seven hours my daughter was away at school would mean lots of extra time for work. And since school started at a gruesome 7:25, she’d be home fairly early and we’d still have the rest of the afternoon to go out and do things.
The reality was by the time she got home, ate a second lunch did her homework, and whatnot, we were exhausted. Not including other after school activities like dance and girl scouts. We wound up dropping a dance class because she was not practicing or looking forward to it. Plus it’s more shuffling around during the day.
Counting the hustle and bustle of getting out the door and to school in the morning (which we were tardy an embarrassing 15 times-(but to my credit the 10 minute earlier time switch mid-year didn’t help)), the rushing to pick her up after getting her brother, and time spent on homework and projects in the evening, it’s about a 2-3 hour ordeal. That’s all the time we need to do a full homeschool day with one-on-one (or one-on-two) attention.
But really, HOW are you going to do this?
Honestly I’m still figuring this out. I still have a full-time workload and deadlines up the wazoo. But my husband is supportive of us giving it a go this summer then seeing how we feel come fall.
It may mean cutting back on work for me, or adjusting my schedule so that we have enough time for learning and trips in the morning, then the afternoons I’ll work on my projects and deadlines. But I’m ok giving up some spending money if it means I can make this a priority.
So you’re really serious?
As a heart attack! But I’m giving myself some grace. Time to have fun with it and test the waters this summer. A homeschooling friend of mine told me not to feel the need to dive right in, but just enjoy dipping my feet in for now. And that’s what I intend to do.
We’re still working out a routine and we are discovering new ways to learn different subjects. I’m researching like crazy, asking other homeschooling parents lots of questions, and toying with a free curriculum. I’m hoping summer is full of learning and fun, and that we can continue it right on into first grade at home.
It’s actually scary putting this out there and stating my feelings so strongly knowing there’s a possibility I’ll fail and send her back to school. But whenever I get into a deep conversation about deciding to homeschool my heart throbs and I get emotional. I feel like this is what I’m being lead to do. What I need to do. I just need to find a way to make it happen.
Congratulations on your decision. I homeschooled my daughter from 6th grade onward. She’s going to Texas State this fall with 42 hours of credit earned while in high school and one semester out of high school because I opted to graduate her early.
When I opted for this route, family and friends thought I was nuts. I heard everything from she won’t be social (she’s a theater kid, so no problem there) and that she wouldn’t get into college (that wasn’t even a problem).
I did have some early supporters, her father (my ex), my husband, and one former boss. They all reminded me that I did have a the ability to do it between background and life experience. Then I met some unschooling parents, and found my tribe. I allowed her to follow her bliss, and added in everything else when the opportunity arose. The “experiment” worked out well.
I also read John Dewey and John Holt. The research part of me had to have some literature that provided some hope it would be alright.
You’ll be great and she’ll do well!
Thank you!! Oh my goodness this makes me SO happy to hear! Wow, what a success story. You mentioned meeting unschooling parents. Do you feel like that’s a technique you followed? I’m so fascinated by all the different approaches!
It is more of a way of being than a way of teaching. There’s no set curriculum. It’s navigating the world via their curiosity. It’s filling in the gaps in background knowledge as you go along. I believe it helped my daughter be a more self-directed learner which I knew she needed to be in college and throughout life.
In Texas you don’t need a curriculum, just the commitment to mold a productive citizen. You get to choose how to do that.
I am beyond excited for you and think that it’s great that you’re putting it out there and trying!! There are so many resources out there now for home schooling that weren’t as easily accessible pre-internet. Even if it doesn’t work you can say at least you tried and you know what you like about each option. It will be awesome either way!
That’s totally what I’m thinking, thank you Martha! And yes, thank goodness for the internet and all of the resources available for us! I’d be so lost without it. Instead I’m borderline overwhelmed. haha. But I appreciate all of the options.
Good for you! I plan to do the same but maybe by the time all of my kids are school aged.
That’s so exciting! Keep me posted!!
you go girl, take that leap of faith…youll do great!!!
Great points Jennifer I feel at the end of the day good parents make the best choice for their family, end of discussion no matter what society has trained us to think. Great parents are open to all sorts of ways of learning. A class room with other children isn’t always the best route. Best of luck and I wanted to share with you the name of a fellow blogger and mom who doesn’t use a “normal” schooling system for her daughters but has an awesome approach to learning you may want to read up on. Her name is Akilah Richards. Stay blessed xo:)
Bravo on your brave decision! I was homeschooled during part of my childhood (2nd and 3rd grade, then 5th through 8th). It was a good and bad decision for me …. good because I was advanced and ahead of other kids in my classes at school (reading on a 7th grade level in first grade when a lot of other kids are just learning to read). The negative aspects really came from living in a clique-y small town where it was considered “weird” and feeling like a bit of a social outcast.
I think being in a big city with so much variety and so many rich cultural options will make it a great opportunity for you! I can’t wait to hear about it. With a one-year-old, we have a few years before making decisions about school, but it’s already on my mind a lot!
Wow! I know we’ve talked about this before, but it’s great that you’ve decided to go for it! I’ve still got it on my mind for Dominic… but I’m leaning towards letting him go to public school for kindergarten to see how he does and what it’s like. I feel like I need that experience before I can really make a decision about what I think is best for him.
Tim and I have discussed all the same fears you have… the biggest for me being the social aspect. He’s an only child and I want him to form strong friendships at school. I know they say there are social things outside of school… I just don’t know what they are yet. I have a lot of learning to do still.
Good luck to you friend! I can’t wait to hear how it goes.
Girl, that’s exactly where I was last year. And that’s what we did with kinder. But this was still pulling my heart so I KNEW I had to do it. Hopefully I don’t crash and burn. haha.
But addressing your social fears. I mean he has cousins and friends and surely will do after school activities right? Plenty of options for socialization.
I LOVED reading this, friend. I’ve been thinking about homeschooling since I was pregnant and it’s always something I revisit each year. My daughter going to a wonderful Montessori school, but I often wish she was at home with me so that we could structure our time the way we want. I love that freedom in my job and I’d love that freedom for her. I’ll be thinking about this a lot over the summer too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Congrats on your decision. I wasn’t a great school mom either when we tried it out a few years ago. Don’t worry about crashing and burning simply enjoy the moment. Best wishes!
I appreciate that so much Latonya, thank you!
Have you thought about alternative methods of school vs traditional? My 5 year old went to Montessori up until K. She is 5 and 1/2 and can read, and tested at a 2nd grade level. We have opted to go to First grade as she turns 6 on December 28. Montessori really helped her because it is so individualized, and moved at her pace. It is completely student led, and I was attracted to that in case she wasn’t moving at the pace of the other students. I am worried about her being bored now that she is going to Public school in the fall. I am not very organized, so I won’t ever homeschool her (plus I have a 2 year old and baby at home). I would rather pay someone to come in and “home” school her lol. It is an option though. We also have elementary Montessori here, and a mixed age charter school. I really prefer the school environment as opposed to home because they do a lot of public speaking and presentations, and I am not sure that can be replicated in a homeschool curriculum. We live in a top 30 school district in the nation, and they have assured us that they do attend to them individually, or group them according to their abilities (ex reading level). In the meanwhile, we send her to science camp on the weekends (my husband is a ChemE professor so we live in a College town that offers this opportunity), and she loves piano so she takes lessons to occupy/ challenge herself.
I’ve done a few stories on Montessori schools too Sara and while I do love that approach as well, I really feel like I need to homeschool right now. Maybe we’ll pull some Montessori techniques, but when I’ve been feeling this way so long I’ve just gotta stop making excuses and give it a go.
I’m not too worried about public speaking right now at her age but I’m going to reevaluate this each year. If we crash and burn I’ll be checking out other options haha. But it sounds like you guys have a great setup with your school and camp and everything! How fun! And i don’t blame you for not being interested in homeschooling. I’m not very organized and I only have one other little one at home. 🙂 I have a feeling we’ll all make it through ok!
We’re entering our third year hommeschooling and I love it. ( I have 5 kids–pre-K through 9th) But I will not lie, that first year is really a transition year and you’ll find yourself second guessing throughout, but you’ll be so happy if you stick with it. I always recommend new homeschoolers try to stick with it for two years. After that you’ll have a better idea. The first year is all about finding your groove, so you’ll need to cut yourself and your daughter some slack.
If you have a homeschool convention in your state, I highly recommend going. They are wonderful. Full of inspiring speakers and a chance to look at curriculum hands on, which is very beneficial. Joining a homeschool group is also helpful as a means of support for you and friends for your daughter. Don’t be afraid to switch curriculum if one is not working, that’s part of the freedom of homeschooling.
Also, socialization isn’t really a problem. My kids interact with children and adults of all ages on a regular basis. Yes, there are some weird homeschooling kids, but there are also some weird public school kids. Putting a child in public school isn’t a guarantee they will become well adjusted as an adult.
Trust yourself. You’ll do great. And if you want curriculum or reading ideas, I love to discuss them.
You are awesome Destiny! Thank you so much! I’d love to chat math curriculum. Yes to second guessing myself. Already happening. haha. I feel like I need to sit down with other experienced homechoolers and just get a rundown for how many minutes they spend on each subject etc. haha. But I’m also hearing from people I’ve already chatted with that they aren’t super strict about everything and give themselves some grace and have an eclectic choice of materials. Right now I’m starting out with the Charlotte Mason approach.
Yay for homeschooling! We live next door (literally) to an excellent elementary school, and really went back and forth about whether to homeschool or send my oldest to school in the Fall (he just turned five and will start K). I work from home, as well, and part of me reeeeeally wanted that break! But in the end we decided to homeschool. We are, however, keeping it low key and informal. I’m purchasing some Montessori things for math, and we’ll learn how to tell time and read, but mostly we’ll play outside a ton and do science experiments and fun field trips and read a boat load of books. We’re looking forward to it!
That’s sounds awesome Sarah! I just applied to be a part of a homeschool co-op and I hope I get accepted. It would involve a weekly field trip and lesson together and art projects. I’m still trying to find a good math curriculum we like. She seems to really enjoy and be good at math so I’m wondering if I’m not challenging her enough or if maybe we should be spending more time on it (versus going so fast). Definitely learning as we go. haha. But so glad there are so many groups around!
I homeschooled my oldest for kindergarten last year and we loved it. Well, we loved it overall, of course there were days when I felt like it was a terrible decision and what the heck was I thinking! I love how much more flexibility there is, and how quickly you can get the work part of the day over with when you only have one student to worry about instead of a whole classroom full. Good luck figuring out what you want to do curriculum wise, there are so many amazing options out there right now!
Thank you so much Tara!
My daughter is enrolled with a virtual public school and is excelling. They provide all the curriculum, materials, and schedule but I do all the facilitating. It works great for us because I am not organized enough to create a curriculum myself. She also has a teacher that does online classes twice a week. Our days are very flexible and she’s been able to work at her own pace… finishing kindergarten in 6 months. I went through k12.com to find a virtual school our area.
That’s awesome! Is it free? I wish I could find something like that here, or a hybrid option. It’s hard for me having to choose all or nothing right now. I’ll check that website though and see, maybe I overlooked something. I appreciate it!
So they have different options. Mine is free because it’s a virtual public school. They send everything you need for free too. We also do field trips monthly. If they don’t have a free public school option in your state then you do have the option of paying them for virtual private school. I’m unsure the costs for that.
Also, I just wanted to say that being there for ah-ha moments is one of the greatest things ever! I am the person that taught my daughter to read. No one else…. and that makes me incredibly proud to say. Homeschooling isn’t easy, neither is virtual school. We have good and bad days. But it is what’s right for our family and that makes it worth it.
I think you should do whatever’s best for your daughter and your family. 🙂 Some kids really struggle in mainstream school. Sometimes I wish I had been homeschooled. I was bullied at middle school and had a lot of time off because I just couldn’t cope with going. I was also late sometimes. I got on better at secondary (high) school) at first but ended up leaving at 14 due to depression.
Starting at 7.25 is very early! I would struggle with that. I’m in the UK and at my first/primary school (equivalent of elementary, I think) we started at 9am and finished at 3pm, middle school was 8.45pm to 3.15pm and secondary was 8.30am to 2.45pm.
Good luck if you do decide to homeschool! 🙂
I’m SO sorry to hear you were bullied mama. That’s just terrible. I so worry about that without babies, especially as they get older. I hope that’s something we can help our kids to do better with.
Yes, goodness the early hour killed me. haha
Thank you. 🙂 I think people are becoming more and more aware of bullying these days.
I hope your kids have a wonderful experience whether they go to school full time or are homeschooled. 🙂
After reading your post I’m left wondering is your child was not doing well in school or if you just want to teach her at home because you want to. My daughter attends public school and she excels there but I think that has a lot to do with the work I do with her at home as well as the amazing teacher she had this year. A lot of parents leave the education solely up to the school and the teacher and I strongly believe it should start and end at home as well.
Krissy I wouldn’t say she wasn’t doing well in school. In kindergarten they don’t get As Bs Cs etc but their report cars say if she’s meeting expectations for grade level and she was for everything but handwriting (which we are focusing more on now).
Homeschooling has definitely been something on my mind since before starting her in school, so I guess you could say I just want to do it because I want to. I absolutely loved her teacher and school and principal, it wasn’t them, it’s me 🙂
Also I 100% agree that people leave the educating too much up to the school, and I’ll admit I did that a lot, especially in the last quarter of the school year, which is a big reason I’m wanting to just do it all at home. We can knock it out in less time and I get to see all of her “ah ha” moments first hand.
I am really looking forward to reading your journey. It’s something I am toying with but have a couple of years to figure it out.
Hopefully I’ll be able to share more. I’m excited for this journey too. Thanks for you comment Chelsea!
If you’re looking for resources be sure to check out HSLDA. They have a lot of good info. Also, used curriculum is way cheaper than new and usually just as good.
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Hi! Congrats on homeschooling! My family was homeschooled growing up and I plan to follow suit… My guy isn’t two yet but his with his energy I have serious joy looking forward to a flexible school plan. Need to run? Great! Take a break and run! Then we’ll get back to reading. <3