That summed up my thoughts on homeschooling when Natalie was born. I was determined to never homeschool, having gone to school for education myself, I was devoted to a traditional school environment for my children. I loved school, and I wanted my children to have the same wonderful experiences that I had growing up. I had amazing teachers who encouraged my love for learning – and I went to a public school for most of my life.
So when did the change come? Anyone who knows me knows that I am a homeschooling mom. Well, I’ll admit that my intial reasons were out of reluctance. The Christian school we could send her to was further than I was willing to let her go. I wasn’t ready for her to go. (Selfish, I know.) Not only that, but we could not afford to send her to a Christian school.
Why not public school? I realize that it seems hypocritical to say that I loved my public school yet deny it to my child. But here’s the deal: Public schools are different wherever you go. And public schools have changed drastically in the last twenty years. Not in a good way either. So that was never an option for us. I know and acknowledge that kids can get a great education at public schools, but I was not and am not willing to risk it. Just my personal conviction on it.
So we started homeschooling. She wanted to go to a real school at first, because she watched her friends going to school. She likes to do what her friends do. But still, she thrives and does very well. This started to change my reluctance to homeschool. I was revived in my love of learning too.
I was (and still am) finding tons of fun ways to teach my children. I enjoyed making lesson plans. It has been fun to get to put my teacher’s heart to use in my own flesh and blood. My younger children are begging me to begin schooling them too, because they see Natalie enjoying her experience. And this is what my goal is and has been: I want my children to love learning.
We have a lot of highly educated people, but how many of them love learning? How many of them know the art of learning? I find even in teaching a junior high Sunday school class that most kids do not have a love for learning or even a desire to know things. Important things. Necessary things. I have so feared that my children will be like everyone else – not really enjoying the learning process or even knowing how to learn. It has been satisfying to nurture that love for learning in them.
It isn’t easy though. Actually, there are times I feel bad for Natalie because she does not have my undivided attention… I have three other children who are pre-school age and younger! I keep telling myself, and her, that this will change as they get older and she gets older. And I am sure it will.
All that to say, my thoughts on homeschooling have changed drastically. I have found that the way you homeschool your children is unique to your family dynamic. Many people are surprised when they learn that we homeschool, because we don’t “seem the type”. We certainly don’t fit the stereotype. (And by the way, it is okay if you do too.) Our kids are outgoing, involved in church and sports (we have a great YMCA here), and have many friends.
I have a lot more thoughts on homeschooling. And I am sure that I will share different aspects with you, not as a pro at this. I am still in the beginning and learning stages (do you ever get past those?). But I am starting to feel comfortable sharing more about this part of our family, now that it is here to stay for awhile…