This August, we tried something crazy and amazing and incredibly terrifying.
We started homeschooling our five-year-old for Kindergarten.
In many ways it felt like we were walking off a cliff. Literally. Educationally. Socially. Having both attended public school through twelfth grade, not only was this idea completely outside the realm of normal for my husband and I, it was completely outside the realm of normal for everyone we knew.
While we’ve been met with tremendous amounts of support from the people who matter most in our lives, it’s been hard for me to shake that feeling of different every time the word homeschool comes up. I totally get it. It just makes for some awkward conversation.
I’ve been on both sides of this fence.
At first it wasn’t that I felt different; it was that I felt judged.
For a very long time I thought homeschool was a less than great idea. The people I knew who made this choice for their families just rubbed me the wrong way every time they laid out all the reasons why homeschool was the best, the only, the right option for their child (and every other child they made it seem). I may have said I would never, ever homeschool because of these less than encounters.
Until my oldest was getting closer to starting kindergarten in a public school that was less than what we hoped.
My husband and I talked extensively and weighed our options. We researched and considered possibilities until it became clear homeschooling our oldest might be the best choice for our family after all.
I wasn’t completely on board until I started meeting families, talking with moms, and even adults who had been homeschooled as children, who completely shattered the reservations of my heart that had been built up over the years. These families very openly demonstrated to me that homeschool is not a one-size-fits-all, or the end-all-to-all-be-all. They were honest about their struggles and joys, their questions, what they loved, what they might do different the second time around, and they helped me believe there could be much good through this journey for my kids. And for me.
I needed someone to tell me what they were NOT saying when they told me they homeschool their kids to help me find my own perspective. Maybe you can relate.
Now these are the things I’m NOT saying when I tell you . . .
1. I’m not saying public school is bad.
I have quite a few friends that are public school teachers who are real and true gifts to the students they teach.
One of the most influential and cherished teachers in my life was a public school teacher.
Public school, when executed well, for the right child can be a very good thing.
2. I’m not saying I’m better than you.
We both have to do the best we can with what we have for our kids. That’s going to look incredibly different for each of us and that’s ok. It’s the way it should be.
3. I’m not saying I won’t make mistakes.
I am most certain that I will.
But I’m equally as certain I’d do that with or without homeschooling.
I think mistakes are just the dues we pay as parents that earn us the right to eventually become grandparents.
4. I’m not saying this is easy.
Homeschooling is hard. It does not inherently come natural to me, but every morning I wake up and do my best because I know this is the right decision for my family right now.
Lest you think this makes me some type of super mom, please see number two above, and also note that there is very little cleaning that gets done in my house on a regular basis.
Or ever, at all.
5. I’m not saying this is perfect.
Nothing is perfect. Not public school. Not private school. Not homeschool.
There are advantages and disadvantages in each system, and our job is just to maximize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages for our kids as best as we can.
My mom did this by joining the PTA. My friend did this by moving her family into another district. We are doing this by homeschooling.
6. I’m not saying this is forever.
Some families know right from the get-go this decision to homeschool is for life. God bless those families. We just aren’t one of them.
What I know today is that kindergarten works well enough for us to keep at this for 1st grade. Where we go from there, I don’t know yet. We’re taking each year as it comes.
7. I’m not saying I don’t love this choice right now.
For every moment of sheer exasperation, there are more-than-I-can-count moments of inexplicable joy.
Homeschooling has forced me to stop, to interact, to listen. To share beyond what the schedule of the day is going to be, or what playdate we are going on and with whom, to really engage my children in ways that have surprised me a thousand times over.
This experience has been surprising and good and everything our little family needed right now.
For that I am incredibly grateful.
What are you not saying when you tell someone you homeschool or use public or private school?
The post Seven Things I’m NOT Saying When I Tell you I Homeschool My Kids appeared first on Real Life at Home.