Many people assume that we started homeschooling because we have a child who needs (and thrives in) the one-on-one, flexible, hands-on learning environment we can give her at home. That’s not true. Our homeschool journey began a few years before she was due to start school, and it took my husband and me by surprise. (It might surprise you too!)
Our Homeschool, The Beginning (Why We Homeschool)
I had it all planned. My older daughter would attend the elementary school just a few blocks from our house. When the weather was nice, my younger daughter and I would walk her to and from school. In the afternoons, we would chatter away about everything she had done that day, returning home to freshly baked cookies and glasses of milk I had prepared earlier. We would do her homework each night with no tears, I would tuck her into bed, and she would drift off to sleep. The next morning we would do it all over again.
Of course, I knew that our life wouldn’t be this idyllic, but I was allowed to dream, right?
I grew up in public schools. I taught in public schools. Both my husband and I had family members serving in the public school system as administrators, teachers, counselors, and aides. We had turned out okay. We believed in the system. It was the only choice for our kids.
Or so we thought.
When BookGirl turned three years old, I began to think about kindergarten round-ups, which of our school district’s elementary schools would be the best fit for her, and of the school day scenario I’d imagined in my mind over and over again.
And I began to question everything.
I couldn’t understand why I was doubting if public school was best for her. Homeschooling kept coming to mind, but I knew very little about it, other than the fact that my best friend had homeschooled for one year in high school and that kids facing disciplinary action in the public schools I taught in would often withdraw before their hearings to “homeschool.”
I replayed my perfect day tape in my mind often, excited about the prospect of partnering with great teachers in my daughter’s education. But homeschooling kept coming to mind. Finally, one night I confessed to my husband, “The more I think about BookGirl starting kindergarten, the more I think about homeschooling. Why is that? I don’t even know anything about homeschooling!”
To my shock, my husband replied, “I know. I keep thinking about homeschooling too.”
I quickly replied that I thought we should “pray about it,” but I knew we were sunk. If we were independently thinking about homeschooling BookGirl without even understanding what homeschooling was, what were the odds that God would let us off the hook?
We continued to be haunted by the idea of homeschooling, so we finally gave in and decided that the year before BookGirl was supposed to start kindergarten would be our “trial” year. I would work with her on age-appropriate concepts that I wanted to make sure she knew before kindergarten anyway, and we would see how it went. In the meantime, we would try to figure out what homeschooling was all about.
That first year went well, so we dove in with both feet. Here we are, eight years later, and still going strong. Our homeschool doesn’t look like it used to (public school at home). My understanding of homeschooling as a lifestyle of learning has developed through the years, and we now have a good mix of curriculum, field trips, and other life experiences to round out our days.
It’s true that we began homeschooling in response to a still, small voice we couldn’t ignore, but we have discovered new reasons every year why it really is the best educational option for our family.
To read more about why families homeschool, check out the stories of the bloggers of iHomeschool Network!