I’m really excited about sharing our journey as we explore homeschooling since so many people have expressed interest in hearing more about it. We are at the very beginning of collecting information, but having talked to several friends that homeschool and attending The Greater Homeschool Convention‘s southeastern conference in Greenville this past weekend, I can say we are pretty excited about learning more.
Before I jump in, please know that this post is only about why we are exploring homeschool, not why anyone else should. We feel this could be a really great fit for our family and just like any decision in food, fitness or life (Jen wrote a great post on the topic yesterday), it’s most important for you to decide what works best for you.
In that same vein, can we talk about the choices available for education these days? I’m a complete novice in this area, being that my oldest is 4 years old, but having friends with older kids, I’ve overheard discussion on everything from private to public to charter to University model programs to homeschool. Who knew?! Another interesting fact is that in North Carolina, the number of students enrolled in homeschool has now surpassed the number of children in private schools. It clearly seems to be a growing trend, at least in our area of the country, which is leading to more resources and co-ops emerging that are tailored to homeschoolers. Even Discovery Place, our local kids science museum, offers classes for homeschoolers taught by trained science and math instructors.
For a little background, I went to public school and David went to a blend of public then private. I had a great experience and think I turned out just fine (though others may question that statement- wink), so this choice clearly isn’t a result of a negative experience. I actually can’t remember exactly how homeschool first came up for discussion, since it wasn’t something I knew anything about growing up. However, having kids leads you to research all sorts of things you’ve never thought of before (my google has seen some crazy search items!) and homeschool happened to pop up as one of those things. Before we knew it I was hearing about all sorts of people and friends who chose homeschool, watching TED talks and researching options.
Now with that lengthy introduction, here are a few reasons we are leaning in that direction for our family.
Ability to connect academic lessons with real life experience. I love the idea of helping my children learn by making as many connections to a subject as possible. The idea of “studying” butterflies- their symmetry, patterns, life cycle, etc- then going hunting for cocoons in the yard and visiting the butterfly house thrills me. Learning fractions? Let’s get in the kitchen and cook together. Perhaps when the girls are a little older it will be learning about the Civil War, then visiting Gettysburg. I know for me, the more real life connections and applications to a concept, the better I am able to comprehend and hold onto information.
Flexibility of schedule. For day to day life and for any future plans, the ability to manipulate our school day schedule and “do school” from anywhere has a high appeal.
Ability to devote more time to the child’s interests/talents/passions. Hailey is still a little young, but already shows interest in art, piano and dance (I know, I know, don’t all kids?!), but I really get excited about the idea of having more time to help her explore those areas in addition to traditional academic subjects.
Being able to move through subjects at a pace that fits her individually. I like the idea of tailoring academics to a style of learning that works best for her. I want to help foster more in depth learning in areas she is excited about and interested in it, as well as be able to help her tackle areas in which she may not be as naturally proficient.
Having the extra time with them. Any parent ever will tell you that the days are long but the years are short. I can’t even believe I have a FOUR year old. Life is happening right now and happening fast. I’m pretty open about how much I love being home with my girls, and having more time to be with them and helping them grow is enticing.
The ability to tailor both academics and ethics/morals in the direction we feel is important for future success and happiness as they grow into young women.
Like I said, we are at the beginning of our journey. We’ve established why we are interested and are now in the researching phase. We have found a program we are excited about the possibility of for preschool/kindergarten. However we still have more people to talk to and another conference to attend before making any decisions. I know there will be challenges, just like with any educational choice, and we are committed to taking things day by day. Just like any parents, we are trying to make the best choices for our family.
I’d love to hear from you.
Many of you have told me that you currently are (or are interested in) homeschooling your children. I’d love to hear why you chose to do so, what method/curriculum you went with, what you enjoy, what challenges you face and how it’s going overall (quite a lot to ask, right?!).
If you’ve gone another educational route, I’d love to hear the same!
This continues to be a great conversation I’ve had with many of my girlfriends as we all try to find the best fits for our families, openly weighing the pros and cons of each. I have friends that have children in public school, charter school, homeschool, private school and the university model who are all thrilled with their choices.
All (respectful) comments are welcome, as I love nothing more than a real conversation and would love to hear your thoughts.