On Homeschooling: A Letter To All Our Friends

to subscribe to “Smartter” Each Day, use the form below:

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurner

homeschool pinnable

In about seven months, a million little five-year-olds will zip their backpacks, kiss their mommies, and go to school, real school, for the first time.

My son won’t be one of them.

Truth be told, I’m embarrassed about it. I feel like I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m weird, and unnaturally attached, and a glutton for some sort of parental punishment.

I want to say, No!! My kids will be social! And I’m not weird! I’m wearing skinny jeans right this second, for the love! 

But instead attempting to prove our family’s coolness (a vain attempt, I’m afraid), I’ve put my thoughts in a letter. To you.

To you who aren’t homeschooling. To you family, and friends, and stumbled-upon-here readers.

It’s a *truce* sort-of-letter. A maybe-we’re-more-alike-than-we-think letter. I just turned 32 this year…maybe in my old age I’m softening and getting more liberal, and I just want us all to get along. Or something.

In the interest of all of us understanding one another, I want to start by telling you the story of how I got here.

The first time I seriously considered homeschooling, I was sitting in my living room, about five months pregnant with Sam, my first. I was reading this book, a homeschooling manifesto of sorts.

Y’all, it was beautiful, how she describes their homeschooling life. How they dig up gardens in the backyard, and travel to the Grand Canyon, and take casseroles to sick people, and go visit museums and grandparents and hiking trails.

I guess I got a little caught up in it all, because I was nearly in tears and halfway through a passionate oral presentation of the first chapter when my husband begged me to please, please, could we birth this child first? Before we decide?

Those husbands. So practical.

It wasn’t just the book, though.

I was a teacher for five years. I had plenty of time to slowly develop my list of things that I didn’t like about school.

003 (6)

Among them:

  • Lots of busy-work, wasted time.
  • Too much sitting in desks, especially for energetic kids.
  • The growing mentality of “I hate school/I hate learning.”
  • That it was just so long, with hours of homework after.

It wasn’t all bad, of course. But I’m just telling you that the allure of homeschooling started from what I saw in the classroom.

I realize I’m not the only person to see these flaws, to want school to be the best that it can be.

Lots of moms and dads are working to change these things… Some of them are creating new curricula, or starting charter schools, or doing their darndest to make their kids love life, jam-packing all kinds of learning into after-school and summer hours.

I know you’re doing this. I see you, all of you.

And I am, too, see. I’m fighting this little fight too, in my own corner. Yet somehow, it doesn’t seem as noble, does it? To only improve education for my family?

So I guess now I’ll tell you about Sam, the kindergartener for next year.

008

Many of you know Sam’s story - he has life-threatening allergies to milk, egg, and peanuts.

What this means in practical terms is that quite frequently he breaks out in hives on his hands or face. I examine him, looking for signs of difficulty breathing, or swelling, or coughing. Then I rinse off the area, sometimes a shower, and apply a cortisone cream. He’s usually back to normal after that.

This happens a few times a week. (Not mentioning all of the label-reading, table-scrubbing, and hand-washing in between.)

Well, the other day I was relaying one of these “daily hives events” to my husband when I got really fired up.

Honey, this is it.

It’s official. We’re homeschooling. How is some teacher, with 20 kids, going to notice Sam’s rashes??? How’s she going to wipe him down safely? How’s she going to know he’s coughing because of asthma or not? No teacher could handle this. I hardly can!

Honey, we’re crazy for delaying this decision. Let’s just say we’re homeschooling next year and be done with it.

Normally I get all excited and Todd calms me down, but this time, he agreed. He totally agreed.

Why am I telling you this story? One random kid with an allergy doesn’t prove anything about homeschooling, does it?

Not exactly, but sort of.

See, what I’ve realized – about me and all of us – is that there’s more to the story. I resent being written off (perhaps in my mind, but still) as some sort of crazy homeschool hermit, because we have our own reasons – good ones – for making this decision.

And I’ve realized the same about you.

There’s more to your story, probably. How you need help with that little one, how this school is a good one, how she needs friends, and on and on.

So let this be our truce:

  1. Give me the benefit of the doubt, and I will, you. Passionate as I am, I still struggle over this decision, worry how I can do it, hope it’s the right thing.
  2. Ask me about our school year, and tell me about yours. Ask me what I hate about homeschool, ask me what’s been so wonderful. Tell me how scared you are to send your little one off in a bus full of strangers, and then tell me about how she’s already reading, and loves it. I want to hear about your school, and I want to tell you about ours, too.
  3. Pray for my child. Pray he makes friends. Pray he doesn’t think he’s the center of the universe, and that somehow one scatterbrained teacher can direct his learning where it needs to go. I’ll pray for yours, too. That she’s safe, that he makes great friends, that his teachers see when he’s struggling, and can help.

003

If you have children, what factors led you to your education decision for your child? Would you ever consider homeschooling?

 

to subscribe to “Smartter” Each Day, use the form below:

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow "Smartter" Each Day on Pinterest!

Follow "Smartter" Each Day on Facebook!

banner ad

 
Share this with a friend...

Comments

  1. Our children have the opportunity to attend a school with partial immersion Mandarin. 1/2 their day is taught by teachers from China speaking in Mandarin. It’s an incredible opportunity for them. They will be fluent by 8th grade. There was nothing else to consider once we found out about that program.

    I would consider homeschooling, if we had no choices other than a poorly functioning public school. We have endless amount of great choices in our community. I know I could do it if necessary. I taught for 7 years. I see where you’re coming from for your son with his allergies.

  2. I homeschool my children. My older two actually do school, and my younger two sit at the table and work on their fine motor skills. There are lots of reasons that we chose to homeschool, but the biggest one is that we want God to be in every single area of life. We want our children to know that He created the trees and the birds and us, and that without Him everything would fall apart. We want them to learn what the Bible says, to memorize Scripture. We want them to see how He worked through history, bringing the world to where it is now.

    The flexibility of homeschooling is another great reason. My children can progress as quickly (or slowly) as they need to, and we can focus on things they enjoy. And when we want to take days off for visiting family, we can. I love it that, when my parents come to visit, we take a few days off school and focus on their visit. It’s wonderful!

    The added bonus is that I get to spend all day with my children! All day!! I would miss them so much if I sent them off to school every day.

  3. I wish I could homeschool mostly because I think public school anymore is just “free” babysitting. Having said that though, both myself and my husband have to work full time so it’s not an option for us. Unfortunately, private school is completely out of our budget as well so our kiddo is stuck going to public school. I hope my daughter is the same way I was towards school which was basically I went, did my work, did my homework, knew it was a stupid necessity, and then learned a lot more outside of school with my mom.

  4. Jamin Parker says:

    Our community was blessed with an amazing charter school a few years ago. I cannot imagine going back to “regular” school at this point, although my two babies will have to at some point. I love the very small classes and personal attention each one of them receives from their teachers. I would love to home school, but I think I’m too much of a free spirit to be efficient. I admire those determined enough to do it. Best wishes to you all!!

  5. We are currently homeschooling our 5-year-old, and it was the right choice for us. Like you, I was a classroom teacher first, feeling the struggle of wanting to give my students the BEST education (tailored to THEIR needs) and instead being pinned into a box (teach THIS lesson on THIS day so they can pass THIS test). I can only read about how much harder things have gotten for teachers, students, and parents in the last five years. :(

    I currently babysit a boy who has the same allergies as your son, and so I know how constant your vigilance must be.

  6. what a beautiful letter. I hope it is received well amongst your family and friends. I did homeschool all four of my sons and last semester was the first one in 27 years I did not teach a child. I signed up to follow you so I could be a cheerleader for you and pray for you. It will be the best and hardest thing you ever did. But you will not regret it.

  7. For me it was a decision for their little hearts. No, I can’t improve the classroom for every child in the country, and I can’t even guarantee that my child’s education will be better for being taught at home. But I know that it is HARD to lead your little ones to the Lord and cultivate a heart for Christ in your kids when they spend 8 hours a day with someone else, who may or may not love the Lord too. I want them home with me, where we can talk about Him in everything we do.

    Enjoy it, Jessica! Our first year has been a fun one…and super hard too. :)

  8. Rebecca Pitre says:

    I am 53 years old and home schooled my children for the first few years. Yes there were some who thought I was an over protective mom and my kids would be weird, but down the road, lived Elwood, an old farmer with a wealth of common sense. So I asked Elwood what he thought about my decision to prolong their entry into school. He said, “People are throwin their kids into school way too early these days. Off the little ones go crying and screaming cause there not ready to leave mom yet. ” Then he laughed,”Heck we were at least 7 years old before we were sent to school and by that time we were happy to get a break from chores on the farm.”
    Here’s another thing to ponder if you are wondering if homeschool is for your child or not. I think most dog owners would agree that the first few years of a dog’s life are crucial to their mental state. A dog’s spirit can very easily be “broken”, if put in the wrong environment. This broken spirit manifests itself in many negative ways. The same attitude we take toward our prized pooch, should at least be considered when it comes to our children.

  9. You’re so sweet Jess! It was around this time last year where I declared via FB that I too was going to homeschool. I was 99% certain! LOL. I was so excited and would research curriculum for many hours. I talked to my sister (who homeschools her 3 kids) constantly and just LOVED the idea of being in control of EVERYTHING pertaining to my kids. What they ate, what they learned, when they learned it, where we went, etc. I figured I should probably give it a trial run before I go off and buy all the fun homeschooling curriculum materials. The summer before Silas kindergarten year we started. I taught him the beginning stages of learning to read and started with 10 frames for math. Turns out what I thought would turn out one way turned out a totally different way. I lost my patience a lot, I was disorganized, I had a baby who was literally crawling up the shelves and standing on the very edge 3 feet off the ground among other crazy things…. Silas liked it but desperately wanted to go to school with the other kids. He was not feeling me teaching him for the school year. After a few months I realized I’m not cut out for this. I prayed about what to do and God not only opened the door to a very awesome charter school, but gave him the teacher I literally prayed every night he would get. I don’t love everything about his school experience but I love a lot of thing! I’m very involved and talk to his teacher a few times a week. I know it’s where he’s supposed to be. He still goes hiking, plays sports, has family time, learns about Jesus and we have to constantly deal with heart issues. For some reason I was thinking I wouldn’t have time to deal with it all, but God always makes a way when it’s His plan. Homeschooling is awesome.. I cry about how wonderful it is when my sister talks about it. I would do the same thing considering Sam’s allergies. That is a serious situation there. Thanks for sharing your heart on here! Judging is for the birds. Lets just be happy for one another and support each other in what God is doing in our lives! Much love :)

  10. Yay! I love this! I also began thinking about homeschooling when my first was quite young- he WAS born, but barely :) I also have teaching experience and struggled a bit with the decision. But once I made it, I felt such relief! Our oldest is just 5 and officially “starts” this fall. While many people in my life, well, to be honest, think we’re a bit crazy, I’m not letting it get to me. Sometimes I wonder if, by me choosing a different path, they think I am judging the path they chose? I don’t know, but I try to stay positive. I know this is the right decision for my family.

  11. I will also be homeschooling our peek/kindergartner next year. He’s got a summer birthday so I want ready to send him off to kdg anyway. Them someone told me abou homeschooling and I decided I don’t want him in a public school anyway. I think we are going to love it. I am praying foGod to give me a passion for educating our three boys.

Speak Your Mind

*