Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why we choose to homeschool - part 2

Last Tuesday, I wrote about why we choose to homeschool - part 1. The main idea was that we want to play a bigger role in preparing our kids to live in this world. Basically, we want more time with them...bottom line.

Today, I would like to share our thought process in the decision to homeschool. What this post is NOT about is bashing public education and anyone's decision to send their kids to a public school. I have worked in the public schools and can tell you first hand that teachers are overworked and underpaid. I know what it is like to bring home piles of homework and planning materials. It's definitely a job that is difficult to leave at work.

This post is also NOT about comparing you to me or your family to ours. I realize that every family is different and has different needs and different situations. This is the decision our family has made and I am grateful that we are able to have me stay home and teach the children. We plan on doing this for the long haul (18+ years), but you never know what the future holds and I don't take it for granted. Things could change in a heartbeat should life throw us a curveball.

What I hope this post does do is challenge your thinking a bit. To cause you to reevaluate your decisions. Are you already homeschooling and are you content with that? Great! Are you sending your kids to public school and you know that is the right thing for your family? Great! Are your kids in a private school and is that rocking your world? Or.... are the educational decisions you have made not turning out so well (on different levels) and it's time for a change?! A readjustment of sorts!?

As I mentioned last week, we had our hearts set on sending our kids to a small bilingual charter school in Oklahoma. Well, several moves and several children later, we have reevaluated things. Honestly, a HUGE weight in our decision to homeschool was seeing the dynamic of many homeschool families. [Once again, I am not criticizing non-homeschool families : )] We have observed a different magnitude of respect, cooperation and teamwork. Not to mention greater focus areas on life skills such as relationships, finances, and domestic skills.

Some questions one might ask and that I have definitely asked myself in the process are:

What about your free-time (lack thereof) or time to yourself as a mom?
Wow, this is a big one! The thought of having children home everyday almost all day might send some to the "funny farm". I've thought about it a lot, too. Would I like more time to myself? Yeah, sure, but it's not worth the exchange to me. I've also had the first 30 years of my life to myself and will have a lot of time (with hubby too) after they leave [insert sobbing] in just a few short years.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves." Phil 2:3

What about your career?
I may have mentioned before that I got my "dream job" just two short years before having our first child. Teaching English to international students. I love it! I gave it up! I miss it! Being around people from other cultures and teaching are HUGE passions of mine, but I'm confident that I will do that again someday. I also can't think of any better students to have than my own children.

Isn't it difficult to survive on one income?
Being that my husband and I have worked many jobs in the areas of service, like non-profits and ministry for our entire marriage, we have become accustomed to living on a shoestring budget. We do our best (not perfect) to live on less than we earn and make the best of what we have. We are both pretty frugal and thrive on good deals. Our families have also been such a blessing and have helped us a lot. We are grateful!

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19

Don't your kids need socialization?
I am an extreme extrovert so I understand the need/desire to be with people. Our family thrives on spending time with family and friends. We seek out opportunities to be involved in extracurriular activities, community events, and love being involved in church and ministry. No one here is suffering from seclusion ; ) Besides, their Heavenly Father is an ever listening ear.

"Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:8

Won't your kids be ... ahemmm "different"?
I sure hope so! I want them to be themselves and who God has created them to be with their unique personalities, gifts and talents. I want them to glorify/please Him in all that they do and not follow the crowd in an attempt to please others. We hope to do our best as parents to help them recognize their uniqueness and follow the passions God has put in their hearts.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

Won't they be very limited in the activities they choose?
To me, it's quite the contrary. Most of our children have received passports by six months of age. Two of them have traveled overseas twice. They have lived in and traveled to several different states and cities. They are almost bilingual, they love sports, art, music and nature. The opportunities are endless. This is definitely a huge benefit in my eyes in relation to homeschooling - FLEXIBILITY!

On several levels, we have the benefit to learn in various settings and environments. We can cater to different learning styles and choose our curriculum. We can travel for extended periods and even move, when needed. We love this part!

My heart is that this post has confirmed the educational decisions you are making or caused you to reevaluate and change your path.

Either way.... learning is a lifetime journey. Enjoy it with your children!

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