Monday, August 25, 2014

School Daze: 10 Reasons Why We Are A Homeschooling Family

Last Monday was my first day back to work.  Boo.

I got up early and went off to my week of teaching training and preparation.

Manny and JoJo got up and went off to pre-k at a church school.

Kat and Louise got up and got ready for their day at home with Daddy.

And Grace and Haven......rolled out of bed into their classroom.

After spending all summer planning on sending Grace and Haven to 2nd and Kindergarten at our local public school, we just couldn't do it. We had been feeling a lot of pressure to go public, to do school like other people do, to stop "over-protecting" and "coddling" our kids (and let me assure you that is not what this is about).  But on the night before registration I sat filling out forms, and release statements, and lots of really intrusive questions, and I felt worse and worse.  So Brian and I mulled it over some more and then we mulled it over with Grace and Haven and we all decided that we are a homeschooling family.  Maybe not always, maybe not next year, maybe not every one of our kids, but for right now homeschooling is absolutely the right choice for us.  And here is why:

10 Reasons Why We Are a Homeschooling Family

  1. We Love Our Kids--and we really like them, too!--  I know, lots of people like their kids, but we really like them. We waited a long time for them, it took a lot to get them home, and we like to hang out with them, a lot.  That is not to say that they don't drive us crazy very often sometimes. In a traditional school setting our kids would be spending more of their waking our away from us than with us.  Not cool.  
  2. We Want to Be the Biggest Influence in our Children's Lives--no, we are not right wing, religious wacko isolationists.  We live in a big city with lots of other people and we leave our house a lot. But there are many negative influences in public schools that I am not ready to unleash on my kids.  I don't want my kids to be caught up in consumerism.  I don't want them to worry about wearing the right brand of clothes. I don't want them to hear foul language. I don't want them to learn about smoking, or drug use, or sexual behaviors, from their peers.  I want to share adult things with them when they are old enough to handle them.  And I am fairly certain I won't find Grace selling drugs to Haven out behind the school house.
  3. Our Children Like to Be at Home and They Like to Be Together--my kids are a tight knit little group of people.  Especially Grace and Haven.  They are BEST BEST FRIENDS.  And I love this.  And I hope it never, never changes.  They do have other friends. Friends at church, friends in the neighborhood, friends from playgroups. They all play well with other children.  None of them are aggressive or pushy or obnoxious with other kids.  But when given a choice, they choose their brothers and sisters over anybody else. I LOVE this about them!
  4. We Can Live Life and Teach On Our Schedule--If we stayed up late watching a movie together and we want to sleep in, its OK.  If someone gets sick (or 8 someones, as often happens) and we need to spend a day on the couch, its OK. If Brian wants to load them all in the van and take a field trip, its OK. We can spend time together as a family around my work schedule, not their school schedule.  We can do 4-day a week school or year round school.  We can change directions in curriculum in the middle of the year.  We can spend as much or as little time as our kids want on any subject they want to learn more about.
  5. We Saved Hundreds of Dollars On School Supplies and Clothing--HOLY Smokes, school supply lists are insane and expensive.  I was sort of freaked out when I saw just how much I was going to spend just for Grace and Haven.  When you add in the new backpack, lunch bag, sensible shoes, new clothes, etc. EEK!  Then all the t-shirts, and fundraisers. If you project into our future and multiply by six, it just might break the bank! Instead, we just had to buy a new box of colored pencils and we are pretty much good to go :)
  6. We Want to Give Our Kids Time to Be Kids--we want them to run, and play, and play and run, and sing and dance, and read what they want, and say what they want, and not be trapped in a tiny room in an uncomfortable desk with too many other people in the room.  We also don't want our kids to be tested to death or home-worked to death. Their bodies are not ready to sit still.  Their minds are not ready to be restricted by standardized tests.
  7. Our Kids are Different Than Your Kids--And yes, every kid is different, but ours have a few very obvious differences and we don't ever want the beautiful, extraordinary, diversity of our family to be something that holds our kids back or gives them any reason to doubt how wonderful they are. With all that has been in the news the last few weeks about how hard it is to be a black man in our country I especially don't want my kids to have to face that kind of ugliness too soon.  The idea that Haven would be labeled, singled out, or in any way treated as less wonderful than the white boy sitting next to him just kills me.  It may be inevitable, it may happen someday, but it doesn't have to happen when he is 5 years old.
  8. Our Kids Will Be Safer and Healthier At Home--Safer psychologically and also, safer physically. We can feed them healthier foods and provide them more opportunities for exercise. And we can nourish their hearts and souls in ways that no classroom teacher can. When I asked Grace last night to give me one reason she was happy to be homeschooling she said that she doesn't like to be rooms with big crowds of people.  It takes her out of her safety zone. Our homeschooling environment gives her a sense of security that lets her thrive and learn.
  9. Our Kids Are Learning Lots of Things That Other Kids Don't Know--Grace already knows how to use a sewing machine.  Haven and Grace are both learning to cook.  Our kids are teaming up with another homeschooling family to do science labs twice a week.  Grace can tell you more than you probably want to know about your intestines or Venus fly traps.  Our kids are free to explore what gets them excited!
  10. Because We Can--Brian and I are both certified teachers.  We can do this.  We've done it for 34 years collectively for hundreds of other people's kids.  We are thrilled to now be able to do it for our own.
There are lots more than 10 reasons why we've chosen to home school and our reasons are constantly changing and growing.  For right now, it just feels right to our kids and right to us.  

They probably wouldn't let Haven wear this to public school :)
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