We decided to homeschool our three younger children this year. We do not have official plans beyond this year as we feel it is a decision we want to make every year, for every child. My high schooler would rather die than be homeschooled so she is in her junior year at our local public school.
I’m not completely new to homeschooling. I homeschooled my oldest for two years (5th and 6th grade). It was what we needed at the time but I was very disorganized and we were both ready for her to go back to school after those 2 years (if only I had known the middle school wolves I was throwing her to!).
The bigger challenge with this time around is I am homeschooling different ages (my three are 9, 6 and 4 years – 4th grade, 1st grade, and Pre-k). I also have a 2 year old I watch during the day. My bigger advantage this time is that I am far more organized than I ever have been in my life.
We are in our fourth week of homeschooling and it’s going well. I have had a day or two where I felt like I am not doing enough, but then I remember the vast amounts of time I have to teach them and they show me all they are learning – and then I calm down!
I also have dealt with personality differences, attitude adjustments (theirs and mine), and the need to reset how they view my authority in their lives.
Mostly, I can say that this has been an amazing blessing in our lives. Now all of you veteran homeschoolers don’t start shaking your heads, saying, “It’s only 4 weeks in! Don’t get to cocky.”
Believe me, I’m not. I just truly feel that I followed God’s call in this avenue of our lives and God is blessing us through this.
One thing I have noticed is the difference in my children’s behavior. Learning is no longer limited to school hours. They are able to dig deeper when they are intrigued by something or let it be at surface level if they just aren’t that into the lesson.
Yesterday our history lesson taught a bit about ancient Egypt and mummification. My kids wanted to explore more so we did. Then they used those concepts as they played. This is something that the time constraints of a classroom can’t allow.
I also feel there is an amount of peer influence. The opportunity for learning and exploration has always been available in our home. But I wonder how much my daughters’ peers influenced their perception of learning. The television shows aimed at these kids look down upon learning, make school out to be dreaded and poke fun at those characters who show interest in these things. I know the majority of my 9 year old’s friends from school watch these shows (The Suite Life, Jessie, Hannah Montana, etc). I also know they have begun to act like these characters: embracing fashion, marketers ideas of beauty (a 3rd grade friend was wearing mascara last year!), dating, wanting endless money without ever doing work, hating work of any kind (including learning).
Just months ago my kids seemed to be buying into the idea that learning belonged in school and it was only supposed to be fun if you were rewarded with skittles or went on a field trip.
Now, my 6 year old has begun finding dead bugs and cicada shells and is gluing them to paper (and her older sister is labeling them for her). They are building pyramids out of Legos and pretending to embalm doll house people.
A friend and I were discussing that this sort of things is why so many people say homeschoolers are “weird”. The thing we discussed is, it’s that they are different than the typical kids you encounter every day and people often don’t know how to handle that. But being different from the world, that’s not a bad thing. That is what God asks of us, to not conform to this world.
I want to teach my children that learning never ends. It can’t be confined within set hours of the day…or years of life.
Let’s all keep learning, and not be conformed to this world.