Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why we Homeschool Post

Doing art and learning about "Van Gogh" from the Ipad.

The kids' first day of home-school. Dec 5, 2011.
So many many people have asked me about my decision to homeschool, so it's time for this post.

Our main reason for pulling Jackson out of school was so that I could spend more time with him. He is such a great kid. He's at my all time favorite age right now. (He'll be 7 in March). It seemed like he was such a hard toddler/preschooler and then as soon as he turned 5 and went to school he turned into an angel. I had been looking forward to school so much, but just when he was getting to be a blast to be with, he was gone 7 hours a day!

Another key ingredient to our decision was that I am teaching piano lessons several evenings a week. This is a huge blessing to our family for me to be able to teach piano lessons. I absolutely love sharing my talent, running my own little small business, and feeling a part of my community.

The negative is that on piano days I would see Jackson for about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon and about 30 minutes at bed. And all of that time was rush, rush, rush.
I love the less rushed days.

Our days are still hectic and very busy, but definetely not as stressful. Now there is time for my kids to just relax, play with legos and snuggle on the sofa, as well as do morning chores and practice the piano.
I'm not running around spending time in the car and always having to stop what I'm doing to do drop-offs and pick-ups (We pulled Avery out of preschool too.... I'm wondering if that was a mistake? It was like a party for her, she loved it so much. And she is definitely giving us a run for our money.We are doing about 5 minutes a day with her with reading- and she has learned so much, and she participates with Jackson as much as she is willing. She's so stinking smart, and also so stubborn. Love those four year olds!)

We were not necessarily unhappy with the public school. Jackson loved Kindergarten. He made lots of friends and did well.  However, whenever I would go and "volunteer", I just felt so unsatisfied. I kept wanting to spend that time with my kid, but found myself either cutting things out, or sitting at a table while kids shifted through getting about 5 minutes with my kid's group. I felt that I really wanted to be part of my kids' education. I love learning, and reading and the natural excitement that kids have for learning.
Jackson is also really bright, and I knew that in a class of 28 kids, it's hard for any teacher, no matter how amazing they are to truly tailor an education to meet every child's needs. This way Jackson can spend more time learning about the things he loves, and we can also have more time to work on the things he needs help with.

We have several friends who homeschool. Their example has given me the courage to try it. They have wonderful families and good kids, and they are polite and bright and talented and well-behaved.

As for socialization, as I feel the ability to communicate and interact with people is the most important thing a child needs, in the end I feel like kids will turn out to be like their parents, regardless of going to school or home-schooled. I hope we can expand our circle as we get to know more people in this area. There's a huge network for home-schooling here. I am surprised as I have told people I am homeschooling how many people have thought about doing it and how not one person has told me (yet) that I'm kind of a freak for doing this.

I'm considering this our "trial" phase. If after about 6 months we feel like this is a good fit for our family, then we will do it long-term. If we decide it's not a good fit for our family, then we will probably go back to the public schools. I just love the idea of homeschooling so much that I hope we can make it work for our family.

I'm just getting my feet wet with all of this. And trust me I've already had a few minutes of insanity when I have questioned it all (I knew that I would, though!)
I love having time in the afternoons to sit and read to the kids. We're reading "Where the Red Fern Grows" and they beg for it, and I found myself getting teary-eyed in Chapter 2! The kids are like little sponges and love any little extra fun things that we do. Jackson is learning to get his "every day" work done quickly so we have more time to enjoy doing reading, poem memorizing, history and art. I am amazed at how much he loves learning, and Avery is not always a willing participant, but when she does want to participate, she loves it so much too!

There is absolutely not enough time in the day to do all I would like to do.
The baby needs fed, the floors need vacuumed, there is always laundry to be done, and food to be shopped for, and decorating the house might just not happen for awhile.
But I feel like at the end of the day, I'm trying my hardest to give the best, most important hours of my life to my kids while they are young, while they want to be around me, while they are so impressionable. To me, to have that precious time with my kids is worth it all.

Okay, I just inspired myself to do it!
(I had a very LONG bath tonight after a very LONG day!!)