Monday, 25 January 2016

Homeschooling 101: Why?

So you're thinking about homeschooling. Maybe even pulled out the kids and now you're "deschooling" (see post on specifics of how and why here).  But where do you start?

Start with exploring the reason why you are considering homeschooling your children. There are plenty of reasons to homeschool, and each is equally valid. Most parents have a combination of reasons. But the reason why you are homeschooling may help determine the how-tos.

My journey to homeschooling began over 9 years ago, as of this writing, back in 2006, when my first daughter was 3 years old. Because she has a December birthday, I was supposed to register her for JK that fall. But she was just 3 years old. I looked at her and couldn't imagine her in a school classroom. She was still just a baby! She'd only just weaned off a pacifier, and she still wore pullups at night.  Kindergarten? No.

So I kept her home, since kindergarten wasn't mandatory, and began working with her myself.  She was a bright kid, and she already knew all her letters and could count to 10 -- all the typical kindergarten things. I began with phonics, and sounding out words. We working on writing out her name, and counted everything we could find. It wasn't hard -- just a continuation of what I was doing already with her.

2007, and she was 4. We were still having lots of fun at home, so I decided to keep her home. Besides which, I was in college, and just engaged, and to be honest, it was just easier to not deal with the back-and-forth to school daily. So we continued working on things at home.  And to my surprise and pleasure, I came home one day to see her reading a book. By herself. To her stuffed dog.  No it wasn't a book we had read so often she had memorized.. it was a newer book. She had just turned 5, and she was reading!

In the meantime, I was reading about homeschooling. I learned about the origins of the current set up of public school, how institutional schools have changed over the millennia, and reports on the current issues in the education system. I read books written by former teachers, research reports on reforms needed or made, and everything I could on child development. I began developing a horror of the institutional school, and wondered if keeping my children home with me was the best choice throughout their educational years.

It continued until 2009, when she was diagnosed with severe ADHD. Now I was even more convinced that homeschooling was the best option for my daughter. And I had a newborn, so even more than ever, I didn't want to deal with that twice-daily bundling up of children for school.

As you can see, my reasons for homeschooling changed, as my knowledge and circumstances changed. We've grown, learned more, and developed the systems and styles that work for us as a family.

My reasons for homeschooling include the closeness of family -- not wanting to miss anything in my children's lives, building those relationships for life -- and because of the tailoring of curriculum to suit my children best. I can offer an individualized education for each of my children, something that traditional school, by its very nature, cannot do.

Perhaps your reasons are different. Maybe its a reaction against the local school your children have attended -- bullying, lack of support for a special need, too much testing, inappropriate curriculum -- or maybe its a more personal reason such as religious worldview or a health issue that makes it very hard for your child to attend school.

Whatever the reason, consider the heart of the matter. Why are you wanting to homeschool? Write down your reasons, your "why". When the tough days come: the days you're sick and wish they'd all go away, the days you feel overwhelmed, the days no one wants to listen and you are all frustrated, the hard days that you don't always read about on the mommy blogs.. when those days come, that "why" will be your reminder. And you won't give up.

Because it's worth it!

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