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To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool?
I can’t make the decision lightly. I have made a hundred lists and prayed a hundred prayers–asking for guidance, “Lord, if this is my calling–if home school is our path–then show me the way. If it’s not, then close the door tightly so that I know for sure.”
- We can work at our own pace
- Free to travel as long as we “school” for 180 days
- Kids will know how to learn outside a classroom setting, which will be very helpful in college
- We can go above/below designated grade level as needed
- No Common Core
- Opportunities to focus on passions (hobbies or a trade in the future)
- Use the money previously set aside for tuition on educational experiences (museums, service projects, state parks, missions trips…)
- We can choose what books the kids will read so they will learn to read for pleasure.
- My younger boys will be able to sit in on Ethan’s lessons and hopefully learn something
- Grow and strengthen brotherly bonds
- Grow and strengthen my relationship with my sons
- Less time spent in an actual classroom
- We can find the gaps in their learning and will be able to put focus and energy exactly where it needs to be to close the gaps
- Children can learn practical life skills (cooking, cleaning, finances)
- As the parents, we will have the final say as to what our kids will be exposed to. No outside influences.
- No popularity wars or pressure to have the latest and greatest clothes, shoes, video games, cell phones…
- I will probably enjoy learning alongside my kids
- We will be able to do verse memorization and devotions as school
- Save money–private school is expensive, yo!
CONS (with solutions):
- Kids will be un-socialized
- SOLUTION: We live in a very enthusiastic homeschool community. Co-ops organize field trips, science fairs, talent shows spelling bees, skating parties and other play dates. We are also very active in our church and have social oblations on the weekend with family and friends. Kids are always around others their own age.
- Too much “red tape” I don’t like the idea of someone looking over my shoulder all the time and if I homeschool, there must be some government agency checking in all the time making sure I’m not screwing up my kids, right!?
- SOLUTION: Indiana is a very homeschool-friendly state. You do not have to legally inform the state that you are homeschooling. If you are currently in public school, you just need to transfer your child to a private school–your house is the private school. If your child is currently enrolled in a private school (as Ethan is) you don’t have to do anything. I notified his school out of courtesy, but I wasn’t required to. The only thing other homeschooling moms in my state recommend doing is keeping a calendar of the days you do school and to make sure you complete 180 days. So there really isn’t any “red tape” in my state. Sweet! (This site is very helpful in determining your state’s requirements for homeschooling)
- Kids will miss out on electives and extra curricular activities.
- The local Christian university offers weekly PE classes during the school year. They also do art and music classes! I would love my kids to learn to play an instrument, so that is an option as well. At some schools they can even play high school sports but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, we are happy doing summer sports.
- What if I can’t (or just don’t want to…haha) teach a certain subject?
- Weekly co-ops meet at local churches and they teach different subjects. I still have to look into this option in more detail. I don’t know that we’d do it for first grade, but I can imagine once the kids are older, this would be more appealing–especially when you have multiple children at different grade levels.
- As I said before, the homeschool community is very active and I have made some good friends in the community already. I know that if there was something I was struggling with or if I had questions or concerns, they would know just how to help me. One of my friends already offered to meet weekly/monthly to do science class. Awesome!
- I will never have a break from the kids!
- There might be a small (read: large) part of me that just has to get over this. But in a practical sense, I think having a sitter come once or twice a week for a couple of hours would benefit both me and the kids–and it’s still cheaper than therapy private school tuition! Maybe even a cleaning lady once a month, too!? A girl can dream, right!?
Right now I am watching all 3 of the boys playing “fireman” in the driveway. The siren noises, the thump of their feet padding on the pavement beneath their cozy coupes and the sound of their voices when they pretend to be grown men. Oh my heart–I could never imagine–even for a second–missing this if I didn’t have to. Thank you, God for this opportunity to stay home with them each day. I am so thankful for this gift even though I am reluctant to accept it most days. Thank you for the grace and mercy you show me when I fail as a mom and help me to show that same love to those around me. Amen.
And the decision is….
After all the prayer and all the research we have decided to homeschool Ethan for first grade starting in the fall. We still plan to send Grant (he’ll be 4 in August) to preschool 2 days a week because I think he will really benefit from the structure of a classroom setting in a way I can’t reproduce at home…yet.