August 7, 2013

Why We Homeschool - Part 1

Well, August has arrived, and so, for those of us with school-aged children, you know what that means!  It's time to begin thinking about SCHOOL again!  Even though we have home-schooled all summer, August is still bringing the anticipation of a new school year.  Our family is about to leave for a three week (can I add much needed) vaca!!!  It's the perfect way to close out this last school year, and we will begin fresh after Labor Day week.  Because we are beginning so soon after a long vacation, I have been up to my eyeballs in school prep these last two weeks, and, just like every other year, there have been several nights I have gone to bed close to tears.  As a matter of fact, my eldest (I refer to her as the eldest when she's being a smarty-pants!) informed everyone at supper last night that I was in a bad mood because I had "obviously been working on school too long today."  :)    I LOVE homeschooling my kiddos, but I will also admit that it is (in this season of my life right now) the most overwhelming part of parenting.  And so, these last two weeks, I have had to remind myself of why I am doing this.  

(A disclaimer:  As I tell this story I use the word I quite often, but please know that the Mr. and I have both discussed and come to these conclusions as a couple.  Without his complete support, I would never be able to do this!)

Believe me, when I first began this journey of homeschooling, I never dreamed I would be doing it long-term.  I began homeschooling Evvie in K-5 for the very spiritual reason that I had no other practical choice.  Our church has a wonderful Christian school, but it is an hour drive one way, and we just could not justify driving that distance for half a day of school.  So, I began teaching her so that she wouldn't look like a dunce when we put her in 1st grade there!  That...was my reason!

That year of "homeschooling" ( I put it in quotes because it was really more just teaching her how to read than actual homeschooling)  was an eye-opening experience for me.  What I had never wanted to do, I began to enjoy!  The more I taught Evvie, the closer we grew.  The more time I spent reading with her, the more time she spent snuggling with me!  I had had 4 children in 4 1/2 years and was busy keeping up with them all!  I think this was the first time that I began to realize how much my little girl needed my personal attention!  As we began to grow closer, I began to realize that this homeschooling thing wasn't so bad.  Maybe I could do it for a couple of years until Andrew was in first grade.  Then, having two to place in the Christian school together would make it worth the drive. :)

Fast forward two years...I am now teaching Evvie 2nd grade, and my little Andrew has begun "kindergarten."  I have fallen more and more in love with the idea of teaching my kids at home.  My life had settled down - a little - now that my kiddos were a little older, and I began to feel like this was something I could do and do well!  I began reading home schooling books and magazines so that I could learn how to be a more effective teacher and mom.   By the time Andrew and Evvie finished that school year, I was completely sold on homeschooling them through their elementary years because I enjoyed it so much.

The next year became a year of nitty-gritty work.  Evvie hit third grade and began to want to "go to a real school."  Andrew began first grade but was struggling to keep up with the curriculum I was using.  It was a LONG year, and we fought many obstacles and attitudes (mine and the kids!).  That was the year that I began to wonder WHY I was doing what I was doing.  I asked myself over and over, "Is this best for my kids, or am I causing them to miss out on life?"  By spring break of that year, I was DESPERATE to find some answers.  I wanted my kids to remember homeschooling as a wonderful part of our lives...especially since that was what consumed a great part of our day!  I knew there had to be something that I was missing.   That year sent me on a search like no other.  I was determined to figure out why I was making this choice, and I was determined to either find complete confidence in this choice or quit!  That was the summer that I finally figured out WHY I wanted to homeschool...
Wishing you a day full of blessings,

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