What is homeschooling?
Well, I can start by giving you the bare-bones, basic information: homeschooling is the process whereby you educate your children in your home instead of a school setting. But that doesn’t really take you through what it’s really like. There are a million teaching styles, learning styles, and curricula out there.
Homeschooling comes in many forms, and people do it for many different reasons. The one I was familiar with, when my oldest was young and miserable in school, was that only the most zealous and insular religious groups did it. Because of this perception, I am embarrassed to say that I put it off far longer than I would have if I had done more research – let’s be honest, if I had done ANY research at that point in time.
Yes, some people do homeschool because of their beliefs, and that’s important to them, and I respect their reasons. But what about us? We had a child who was hyperactive to a huge degree, who wiggled and twitched and drummed on his desk when he was concentrating the hardest – and which got him sent to the principal’s office more times than I can count because the majority of teachers have never been required to take a class or even a workshop on working with ADHD children or any other learning challenges……..but the schools keep putting them all together along with, in the case of my son, deaf children, children with Down’s Syndrome, autistic children, and more. It’s not fair to the teachers and it certainly isn’t fair to any of those children. How is one person supposed to deal with 30+ students, roughly one third of whom need special help, but aren’t provided with any sort of assistance in the form of aides, guidelines, or anything else?
So, to make what could become a very long rant short, we pulled our son out of school at age 12. I had zero idea what I was doing. My sister in law, generous soul that she is and planning to homeschool her own young children the year after, borrowed curricula from friends to show me, and answered my 10 million questions, at least half of which probably made her roll her eyes and shudder inside. I bought a few basics, crossed my fingers, and hoped I couldn’t mess it up too badly.
Here’s the thing, though: Not only did it not go poorly, but my son blossomed. No longer afraid of being mocked, punched, or humiliated, he leaped through three levels of math that first year that brought him up to grade level. He began sleeping, for the first time in years. He started to eat again, and over the next year he went from a twitchy, constantly angry little skinny insomniac to a strapping healthy child who took up rock climbing, soccer, and reading voraciously. His energy was put to good use and he did his schoolwork sitting on a hippety hop.
That same year, our then-4 year old daughter began sobbing and carrying on whenever she went to daycare. Since we knew and liked all of her teachers, we went in to talk to them and found out that she was multiplying numbers when her classmates were just beginning to identify them. We pulled her out and began teaching her at home too.
A couple of years later, we found out that she is dyslexic and has terrible vision. I only mention this because her bff was diagnosed with the same challenges at the same time, and although extremely bright, was put into the “slow” classes (their term, not mine…..imagine being a child in that class and hearing that?!). She has, over the years, been led to believe that her handicaps make her less of a person, less worthy, less intelligent….and her actions now, at 16, are based on those things that were drummed into her head in a school setting. Our youngest, age 6 at the time, demanded to go to school…..and was bored stiff and demanding to homeschool again after 3 months.
So what is homeschooling, and why should YOU consider it?
Homeschooling is the freedom to give each child you educate one-one-one attention in a way that the school system can never replicate. It doesn’t matter what challenges they have, or you have, or nobody has. Really!
Homeschooling is the ability to consider each child’s needs and find a way to teach them that makes learning an enjoyable experience for all concerned.
Homeschooling brings family members together in a way that I never would have considered possible. Our children are 8, 7 and 15 years apart (they are now 24, 16, and 9). We have been homeschooling for well over a decade and they are the best of friends, and friends of my husband and I too. We all actively seek out each other’s company, want to spend our waking hours in groups most days, and – most importantly- all three of them are confident, capable, and well-educated human beings……who happen to spend most days in their pyjamas. 🙂
What is homeschooling, then? Homeschooling is joy, freedom, and the confidence in knowing exactly what your child is learning, how they are being treated throughout the day, and that they know you have their back even on the days where you make them re-do that paper properly. I know that not every family is able to homeschool, but if you are in a position where you might be able to consider it, I strongly recommend that you do so.
This post is part of iHomeschool Network’s Beyond Academics blog hop. Click on the image below to see what others had to say about homeschooling!