My friend Sam asked me long ago why I have chosen to homeschool my girls. I was going to write a blog post about it and then I chickened out.
What if I offend someone?
What if people thought our family’s reasons silly or dumb?
What if I can’t get my heart across and it all comes out jumbled and people think I have no business homeschooling?
What if I offend someone? I realized a family’s decision to put their kids in public or private school does not offend me, so why in the world should my decision offend anyone else? Right?
I think I worry too much. Okay, I know I do.
What if my decision is deemed silly or dumb by someone else? Well, that’s fine. I make plenty of decisions people think are silly or dumb. And I’m sure I’ll make more.
Getting my heart across. There are only a handful of readers here. Pretty sure all of you have been with me since my beautiful mess blogging days. So I think you’ve read enough of my heart and my jumbledness to know me.
The reason I’m finally writing about our family’s decision to homeschool is because last week (my week from hell) I made the decision to put my girls in public school. My oldest is 11 and by public school standards is behind in math, however, I told myself she is a smart girl and will quickly catch up. She will be fine. My youngest will be fine.
And I will have all the hours of the day to clean my house, paint the projects, and play with my chickens. And with them off at “real” school, I will not worry anymore about being inconsistent with teaching my girls, or yelling when for the 726th time they do not understand something we are working on. I will no longer feel too stupid to teach them. There would be someone qualified. Educated. And certified – instead of just certifiable like their mother.
The decision weighed on me, though. I had gone to bed, Josh was gone for work overnight again, and I was just alone with my crazy. I started thinking of the reasons, six years ago, that we chose to keep our kids home with us.
I wish I could write them out all pretty and in order of importance, but truly I write this as if we’re hanging out with a cup of coffee and a scone, and I just tell you my thoughts as they come. Jumbly, out of order, and sometimes with a bit of, “oooh! Look! A butterfly!” So, here goes.
At an early age I noticed my big girl was a follower. She wanted (and still wants) to do what everyone else is doing. Whether it be good, or it be bad, if everyone else is doing it – she wants in. If there comes a day where the girls go to school, I want them to know who they are first. At least somewhat. I want them to be rooted in themselves, their faith, their values, our family. So that when that day comes and they are tempted to do or say something they shouldn’t, that maybe they’ll think twice. I know my girls best, and I know that if my big girl were in school with other kids not sharing her values, that she would likely throw hers to the wind. However, the last couple of years, I’ve noticed her knowing herself a bit better. Knowing who she is, Whose she is, and her value. I truly believe that is being established in our time together at home.
Ooh! That brings me to probably the biggest reason we choose to homeschool. Family time. I love how much time we get to be together. The memories we’re making. The memories my girls will have with each other. Now, don’t get me wrong, all this togetherness makes us all a bit stir-crazy, and sometimes we wanna strangle each other, but 99% of the time, we just love being together. Jaylee and Alison spend almost their entire days with one another. Not that long ago Josh took Jaylee on an overnight trip and it was just Alison and me for a day. I thought for sure she would be loving life being the only child for a day.
Guys, I cannot tell you how many times in the span of a few hours that she asked, “when is Jaylee coming home?” Or, this one, “I miss Jaylee.”
They drive each other crazy, but they are best buds.
They each have a close friend that is their own age, and I am thankful for those two girls (and their mama), but at the end of the day, at night time, in bed, it’s the two of them sharing all the sister secrets.
I may not being doing the greatest job teaching math, but I will never regret keeping them home living and loving together all of these days.
We also choose to homeschool so that we can choose what our children are learning, so that they have a one on one education, and if they decide they want to learn about something in particular – we can study that thing (always seems to be something ocean creature with my big girl. Ask her any question, she’ll have your answer).
That’s probably not an exhaustive list, but those are the biggest reasons. And while remembering these reasons, I realized they haven’t changed. I still fully stand behind our decision. We have some family and some friends who may quietly shake their heads at us, but we are doing what we believe is right for our family at this time. I get discouraged and I get overhelmed, as I’m sure public and private school teachers do at times, too, and sometimes I wanna throw in the towel. But I don’t wanna quit forever. Just for that moment, or that day, or I suppose, that week. But I am in this for the long haul.
I have a handful of friends, my mom, and my sister Megan who encourage me on my bad days. Who support me. Who remind me why I do this.
And then there is Josh. He’s so funny. He tells me I am smart and completely capable of teaching our girls. Smart is like the last word in the whole world I’d use to describe myself, but I am thankful he believes in me.
The raising and educating of my girls is a gift. I may not always see it that way, but when the overwhelmed and discouraged brain fog lifts, I am able to see it and cherish it for the gift that it is.
In a few days I’ll post about what our upcoming year will look like. I’m really excited! We’re changing things up a little bit.