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Archive for February, 2011

We began homeschooling 4 years ago… We knew very little about homeschooling, and only a few homeschoolers.  Although we thought homeschooling was a great option, we didn’t consider it for our family.  But when our 2nd daughter was part way through grade four, we decided to take her home.  I had been spending a lot of time at night helping her with homework.  And when there were tests, I often needed to make sure that the work she was studying was actually completed.  She was in a noisy class, and had difficulty paying attention and getting her work done.  I was sure that I could quite easily get done everything she was doing in school in a couple of hours…

This decision we made when she was in grade four was a long time coming.  She didn’t like school from the beginning.  When she started grade three, I would drop her off crying.  One day as I was driving out of the parking lot, I felt a pounding on our vehicle – and there she was at the back running after me.  I wasn’t sure what to do. There’s nothing harder for  a mom than seeing your child in distress, so we did think about homeschooling. After a week or so though, she seemed to have resigned herself to going to school and we continued with it.  Although she still didn’t enjoy school, she was okay when we dropped her off, and she enjoyed the time with her friends.  So at the end of the year, we decided to enrol her  for grade four.  Again, she disliked school, and seemed to have difficulty working in a classroom situation, so we finally made the decision to take her home, and  began homeschooling.

I  have a tough time with change; it’s hard for me.  I like having a routine that I can count on, and I don’t like unknowns. But we really felt this was the best option. We said we would homeschool for the rest of the year, and that was as far into the future as we looked.

I still remember that first morning of homeschooling.  I dropped three of my children off at school, and returned home with a grade four student and a toddler.  I wondered if I had made the right choice.  But we sat down at the kitchen table and worked together, and that became my new routine.

I quickly found out that homeschooling really is a lifestyle.  It isn’t something that you can “do” for a few hours in the morning, and then go on with your regular routine. Homeschooling becomes your regular routine, and all the other parts of your life need to be fit in around it.

During that half year, I read everything that I could get my hands on about homeschooling. If someone mentioned a type of curriculum or learning style, I looked it up.  And through the process of homeschooling, I began to see so many more benefits to it, besides the academic ones that had first led us to this path.

So that fall, we decided to homeschool all of our children.  Once again, I was scared.  Was I making the right choice?  Would my kids make friends?  Would they learn what they needed to?

Looking back, four years down the road, I can answer “yes” to all of those questions. Homeschooling is a busy lifestyle.  Often I feel like I’m pulled in a dozen different directions, between kids who need help, laundry that’s piling up, housework that needs to be done, and meals that need to be made. Despite all this, I’m very happy with the choice I’ve made.  I’ve often thought that no matter what I choose, I’m going to be busy with something. And what better to be busy with?  I get to spend the best part of each day with my kids.  I get to be the one who has the satisfaction of teaching them to read.  I get to be the one they come to with their big questions – questions I don’t even always have the answers to.  And I get to share my life with them, and my faith.

There are a lot of benefits to homeschooling.  Academically, nothing quite beats working one on one with your kids. Sure, when you have five kids like we have, (or even if you don’t!) as a mom you really feel pulled in a lot of directions. And you wonder if you are doing enough.  You hear about some other homeschool family who seems to do everything, and you compare. As a parent you are taking a lot of responsibility for your kids education.  And there is no one else that you can pass the buck too – you are the teacher.

But is it worth it?  Absolutely.  There are days when you wonder how you can possibly get it all done.  And then you realize that you absolutely cannot, and that’s okay.  It isn’t easy, but nothing worth doing is.

If I’ve done my job well, I’ve ignited a passion for learning.  I’ve introduced them to some great authors and books.  I’ve spent quality time learning with them each day. And most importantly, I’ve taught them about God, his plan for their lives, and showed them that walking the path that God gives us is not always easy, but is so worth it.

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