Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why We Homeschool: Part Four

Finally, today we have the last installment of this series!
If you're interested read parts one, two, and three.

As we neared the end of Camilla's preschool years and Kindergarten approached, Todd and I agreed that Christian School would be better for her than public. It was easy to settle on THE school—one that would provide a classical Christian education from Kindergarten through eighth grade. (We still think this is a spectacular school, by the way!) 

In the Fall of 2012, she started. It was a bit of an adjustment, getting up earlier, the morning rush to the bus, having lunch packed and uniform ready every day . . . but she loved school and was learning. I made the most of the little time we had together at the end of every day. She had to go to bed earlier, so we could get up and start all over the next day.

I found out I was pregnant. And then, a few weeks later, I wasn’t anymore.


My world crumbled and I saw the precious faces of my children—their lives whizzing by so quickly that I just wanted to stop them. Stop time and enjoy life and not rush through it. I wanted them to have time to play and work and relax with our family. I wanted Camilla and Adrian to have time to play together and know each other. I knew I wouldn’t get another chance to spend this time with my six-year-old. The time was now. As November turned to December, I found that I would do a little dance of joy whenever school was cancelled. I just wanted her home.

So, that’s the emotion of it. Here’s my bullet list:
  • ·      Young children, in grade school, do not need to spend most of every day in a structured learning environment in order to learn.
  • ·      Young children need uninterrupted time to play, use their imaginations and interact freely with one another.
  • ·      I want my children to learn to contribute to the family by doing household chores. Camilla didn’t have much time to do this when she was in school.
  • ·      I want my children to spend time together, to know and love each other and to feel connected as a family unit with us as their parents.
  • ·      The flexibility afforded us by homeschooling is important to our family culture and gives us the ability to set our own schedule.

I love having them home with me, but I’ll be the first to admit that it's no easy task. It is great to see Camilla interact with her brother and sister all day long. And wonderful to see her learning and growing academically and as a whole person. We have our stressful days, though. Days when I think it would be easier to outsource this. And days when I wonder if I'm providing everything she needs. We’ll decide how to educate the kids on a yearly basis. It's looking like Camilla will be home again next year for second grade. Adrian went to preschool two mornings a week this year and even if he does the three-day program at preschool next year, he'll still be home most of the time and learning with us as well.
Learning is exhausting!
I realized something recently as I was listening to a podcast during which Tsh Oxenreider interviewed Susan Wise Bauer. Bauer was amazing and brilliant and she said something about homeschooling that stuck with me. “You don’t have any responsibility to defend your choice. You just have a responsibility to live it out productively and for the good of your kids.” I love that. It’s refreshing and freeing and makes me think maybe I wasted my time on this series. Or perhaps my purpose has changed.

You all don’t really need to know or understand our decision regarding educating our children. We do what works for us right now. But rehashing some of our thinking regarding these decisions (which we’re constantly making and changing) may have helped some of you if you’re considering alternative education. Or maybe it opened your eyes to see something you hadn’t thought of before.

Bauer said in the same podcast, “There’s no such thing as a perfect educational experience.”


We’re all just making the best choices we can about this, hoping and praying that in the long run our kids will reap the benefits of our blood, sweat, tears . . . and prayers.

2 comments:

  1. Alison, you took those bullet points right out of my head! They resemble our primary reasons for choosing to homeschool our kids. The difficult days (weeks?!) often have me questioning our decision but when we come out on the other side with stronger relationships, greater patience, and a better understanding and respect for one another, I am more confident in the route we've chosen and grateful for the opportunity.

    I have not listened to that podcast, but am thinking it would be a good one for a laundry-folding evening. Thanks for being transparent in discussing your reasons for homeschooling.

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    1. Great thoughts, Ariana. I have to remind myself when I struggle over the decision that it's a privilege to even have the choice. And then I am grateful. Thanks for your comment!

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