I want my kids to be awesome: Is homeschooling the answer?

My heart pounds every time I stop and ponder about the fact that my daughter is starting kindergarten next year. It’s more than a year away, but still, I feel like it’s happened too quickly. It seems like just a few months ago I was taking pictures of my pregnant bump, and now, she’s almost four. Soon, I’ll have a memory that spans an entire generation as her first day of kindergarten overlaps with memories of my own.

The only thing is, many things have changed since I was in kindergarten. Schools are crowded, classes are bigger, and people are… Dare I say… Crazier.

Ok, maybe I’m overreacting about the last part, but I do sorta feel like influences aren’t like they once were. Part of this could be the innocence (or ignorance) that shrouded me much of my life.

I remember the first time I had heard people bought, sold, and used drugs in the bathrooms at my high school. I was completely shocked. It was my last semester of high school and to be quite honest, I had been avoiding public restrooms since middle school.

While I’m not worried about her fellow kindergartners offering her a joint in exchange for some Halloween candy, I do wonder if, in general, I could teach her classes better.

Think about it… One-on-one attention versus learning with a class of 25. We can move at our own pace, and focus on subjects that interest her. And I’m no Einstein but I’m pretty sure I’ve got up through algebra down. I may need a refresher on long division but you can learn just about anything on YouTube these days.

It all comes down to this question I’m trying to answer: How can I help make my kids even more awesome?

I always loved school, learning, and the social aspect of it all. I loved making new friends and starting new classes. Come to think of it, not much has changed; I guess that’s just my personality. I think a lot of who people turn out to be just happens to be who they are. I can influence my children as much as I want but they’re going be who they want to be.

My parents always drilled into me that I was going to go to college. Neither of them went, but they wanted that for me. I don’t remember when I decided BYU was where I wanted to go, but once I had my sights set on that, I was determined. I knew I needed good grades so I studied hard, and did what I had to do.

I think because my husband and I both graduated from college, our children should have a good shot at going. I mean, I don’t know the exact figures but I’m pretty sure the statistics lean in their favor.

Senior picture My sister Lauren just got accepted to BYU Hawaii and I’m so proud of her. It’s a school I dreamed of attending but never tried because fear, (and a lack of a broadcast program). She’s graduating high school a year early this month. I explained to my daughter how her Aunt Lauren is graduating, and how it’s a BIG DEAL. We shopped for some gifts and cards to send her.

Choosing the perfect Hallmark gift.

If shopping in a Hallmark store with two kids who want to touch everything sparkly, shiny and breakable isn’t nerve-wracking, I don’t know what is.

Choosing the perfect Hallmark card.

The singing squirrel and plush giftcard-holding owl were their favorites. I got her a picture frame and we chose a card. My high school graduation paled in comparison to my college one, but both are worth celebrating, and something I want my kids to remember, and hopefully aspire to do.

Hallmark graduation squirrel gift. So adorable for a high school or college graduation present.

I am glad that there are good influences in my children’s life. People like my sister Lauren, and I hope that I can continue to surround them with others. Is homeschooling a good start?

It seems as though the homeschooled kids I’ve met have a good track record for being very smart. Sure, some of them are also socially awkward, but these days there are so many more groups, clubs and recourses, kids aren’t as sheltered as they once were.

Luckily I still have a year to decide, and this fall I think I’ll give it a dry run with home pre-school. As long as my schedule continues to be as flexible as it has been, I think I’ll be able to give it a good try. If I crash and burn I can always send her off to kindergarten next year. And even still, if public school doesn’t fit us, we can always try homeschooling or private school or something else. Whatever gives my kids the best chance at growing to be awesome.

I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions. Some of the products featured in this post we selected, courtesy of Hallmark. All opinions are my own. You can find out more cute graduation gift ideas by visiting Hallmark.com.

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  1. Hey! So about homeschooling….something I am newly passionate about! I have to say, 1. A homeschool diploma is just as accepted as a public high school’s. her SAT scores will prove her smarts. 2. I never wanted to do it. Quite frankly a part of me was looking forward to a 7 hour break in the day! Then the summer before kindergarten rolled around….God tugged on my heart, I spent all day praying hard for a clear answer and God gave it to me. Homeschool her! So I said “heck, I can’t mess up kindergarten!’ And we went for it. We are nearly finished with the year, I have taught my girl to read, tell time, about money, the continents….and I have discovered a real passion for teaching! It has been the BEST year so far. I am hooked. My daughter says she will never go to public school. We will take it a year at a time but for now? I am all in. I truly love it. And Honestly? If my kids grow up and want to be missionaries instead of going to college, I’m okay with that. My prayer is that they love Jesus with all they have…if they don’t have that then they don’t have anything. Not to say that I don’t care about their education, I want them to have the best education while in my care! Anyway….sorry for the rambling! You’re welcome to pick my brain if you are serious about it!

    1. I feel like I’m exactly where you were. I guess a year early. Luckily I have time but I’m really leaning more and more in the homeschool direction. But I feel kinda the opposite about kindergarten. Like what if I can’t teach her how to read? What if I am too hard on her or get frustrated with communicating things and then she gets behind? Part of me thinks maybe waiting til she’s past elementary school will be a better idea. But then I worry she won’t want to leave.

      I’m agree that homeschool diplomas are good too and yes, their test scores seem to speak for themselves. I hope they decide to go to college if they’re pursuing a career that needs it (like neuroscience 😉 ) but you’re right. A love of Christ is most important.

  2. We are just finishing up Kindergarten at home and I have to say we had a BLAST! I was homeschooled myself (and so was my husband), so I knew and was excited about what we were going to be doing. I have to say that things are much, much better than when I was being homeschooled – there are SO many resources at our fingertips now! If you don’t know something, you can go online and find out. It’s amazing. 🙂

    I’m using a curriculum called Heart of Dakota for first grade next year and can’t wait! This year I didn’t use an all-in-one curriculum with a teacher’s guide telling me what to do every day (like I will have next year with Heart of Dakota), I wrote down what I wanted my daughter to learn by the end of the year and we worked on those things at our own pace. It worked out so well, and we had FUN. I can only imagine if I had sent her to school and she spent half the day there, then had to come home and do homework with me (yes, parents are still responsible for their child’s learning) she would have thought I was crazy and probably hated school. If you do decide to homeschool, I will be very excited to see your updates!

    If you want to see some of my Kindergarten posts, they’re here: http://kindredspiritmommy.com/category/homeschooling/kindergarten/
    And here’s what I used (it looks like a lot but I only ended up using some of that – anything she wasn’t excited about I put away for later or threw away): http://kindredspiritmommy.com/how-our-kindergarten-will-look-this-year-final-curriculum-choices-with-photos/

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you’re loving it and the changes you’ve noticed over the years. The resources that are readily available are exciting to me. I love learning about new things and teaching my kids. I like that they aren’t routinely compared to their peers. But then I wonder it they’ll be sad to miss prom or high school sports. I guess like commenters have been saying its best to take it a year at a time. Thank you so much for your links! Once I’m off my phone I’ll definitely be checking that out!

  3. The choice to homeschool or not isn’t an easy one. I homeschool my daughter, and my son is a preschooler, so his time is coming. I didn’t start homeschooling my daughter until 6th grade. To me, all the hard part was done. She already knew the basics, and all I needed to do was build from there. Like you mentioned in your post, we followed her passions: theater and cake decorating. It turned out that you can dive into quite a lot of traditional subjects when those two are your main focus. In her fifth year of homeschooling (10th grade) she started dual-enrollment at the local community college. So far, so good. She is happily missing the drama of high school that most of her theater friends are mired in. And, more importantly to her, she is accepted by the people she is taking classes with.

    All this to say, I love homeschooling! Though I am nervous about teaching the basics to my son, I am willing to give it a whirl. Worst case scenario, I can enroll him into some of the local homeschool co-ops in town. I’m fortunate to live in Austin, TX. There are lots of co-ops and other groups to take my children with moms (and sometimes dads) leading the groups with experience and many times advanced degrees in the subject.

    Full disclosure: I unschooled my daughter. Unschoolers are an entire sub-section of the homeschool population. I also have taught at college and universities for over 20 years. So, my daughters big compliant as we got started was I was treating her like one of my students. This was code for I expected her to produce work at the college level. I don’t think she is too damaged from my expectation. <3

    Good luck with your decision. Whatever it is will be perfect for you and your children.

    1. Hahaha. I also worry about my expectations being too high for my daughter. But I also think that could be part of why it’s appealing to me. I worry id be stressed about her out-performing her peers and ugh! I don’t want to be “that mom”.

      I’m also in Austin so I’ll hafta pick your brain about the coops you speak of. Sounds like your son and my daughter may be around the same age too!

      So happy to hear positive stories of homeschooling. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sp excited to read this! We’ve always been at around the same stage in life, with you a few months ahead since Lil J is a bit older than my daughter, but they’d both be starting K at the same time. We are planning to homeschool as well, and I can’t wait to read about your journey this year homeschooling prek and as you decide what to do about K. 😀

    1. How exciting!! I would not be surprised if by like 2050 half the population is homeschooling. Ok… Maybe not that much but maybe a quarter. It’s on the rise! Hopefully I can figure this out!!

  5. Great post! I understand completely where you are coming from. My children are in 2nd and Kindergarten and I have a strong desire to homeschool/un-school them. It’s such a hard decision but honestly I feel that I am capable preparing them better for life than their school. Just my opinion. Looking forward to reading your journey.

  6. This piqued my interest because I am in the same boat as you. I did a homeschool preschool curriculum, and loved it! But I work 3-4 days a week and juggling was very difficult. Plus I write and coordinate my show from home at night – so the time needed to prep for the next day’s lesson wasn’t there.

    I am torn about my 5 year old starting Kindergarten this fall. I’ve registered her at a local Charter school, but something is tugging me to explore Homeschool.

    Good luck with your decision! As with all parenting decisions, follow your heart and gut and you can’t go wrong!

  7. The schooling choice is a huge one. our three kids are in public school and doing well. But I have friends who are homeschooling and love it. I don’t think socializing is a big issue anymore because there are so many homeschooling groups now. in fact, most homeschooled kids I know are more articulate and mature than the ones in school. Either way you decide to go, I hope you find the avenue that gives you peace. Your kids are adorable.

  8. I have been homeschooling 18 years. You may have been joking (or not) but homeschooling is no guarantee for good, awesome kids who dont get involved in bad things. Many people think this, but i have a son i homeschooled all the way through who has done almost everything i didnt want him to. I have sent my remaining 4 of 5 children to school and my youngest will be going in the fall. I am tired. Its a hard job.

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  10. I’m definitely planning to homeschool my daughter. My experiences in public school were not great (my main problems being with how teachers were emotionally abusive towards certain students—and got away with it). Socializing is great, but I don’t think it should be mixed with learning, and trying to balance both (especially in middle and high school) can be very difficult for kids. I want her to love learning, so I think minimizing the stress that can be associated with trying to gain the approval of other kids at the same time, is the best way to accomplish that.

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