More and more parents are opting to pull their children out of regular school and go the homeschool route. Formally reserved for the super religious, homeschooling has become more mainstream with a slew of crunchy non denominational devotees.
When our oldest daughter was little, my husband would joke that I should just homeschool her. My gut reaction was, “Hell no!” Fast forward a few years, and after horrendous experiences not only at public school but also pricey private schools, we have embraced the homeschool life.
Some homeschool parents are super strict and regimented. I am not one of those parents. We adhere to a more laid back school style, a mix of unschooling and sheer randomness. We have found that giving the children lots of time to be creative, use their imagination, get plenty of rest and playtime, and inserting serious studies for about an hour or so daily has made not only the kids happier but the entire family. When they were in public school, they would spend hours cramming information into their developing brains just to score highly on a test and then forget about everything they just learned. On top of this, they would each have at least two hours of homework to do when they got home. Countless hours at school and hours of homework each week, and they were barely retaining anything they were being taught. They were exhausted and crabby, and both were exhibiting signs of anxiety and burn out. Recent studies have found that there is zero correlation between overall learning, good grades and homework in elementary students (link below).
Initially we bounced around subjects throughout the day; touching on math, science, and English daily. By focusing on one subject at a time and giving them more freedom to research things that interest them, their love of learning has flourished and they’re retaining information more so than ever. Our two oldest are well on their way to being fluent in Spanish, while our 11 year old daughter spends hours upon hours each day reading about subjects that interest her and our 8 year old can point out every country on a map and recite all of the associated capital cities like he’s getting paid to do so. They have also watched us open businesses; and understand about licensing, expenses, labor laws, and social media presence as it relates to a successful business. Many college level students haven’t had the luxury of exposure to owning and operating small businesses as our children have. We also seize the opportunity to travel as often as possible, which is so important to personal growth and opening the mind by experiencing other cultures.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” -Mark Twain
The number one concern I hear from people is that our children will not be conditioned and ready for college-basically insinuating that by choosing to homeschool we have thrown any hopes for college away. The opposite is actually true. Top universities such as Harvard and MIT relentlessly seek homeschool students because they possess a willingness to learn, take initiative, and are more well rounded than most of their traditionally educated peers (link below). There are also scholarships specifically designed for homeschool students.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but I have been blessed with the ability to stay home with my children and devote the majority of my time to them. This is something I’m super grateful for every day. There are absolutely times I want to escape for a few hours and just be Ashley instead of Mommy, and I would argue that most parents (especially stay at home parents) feel the same way. Overall, we are very happy with our life choices and I know that my time with my children will be over in a blink of an eye. I will never regret spending as much time with them as possible.
I must bring this post to an end, because the kids are staring me down waiting to watch a show about the true events of Thanksgiving (btw, History taught in schools is rarely accurate) and then read James and the Giant Peach (our current read aloud book). They actually WANT to do these things!
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and if you are a homeschooling parent or interested in doing so, don’t hesitate to comment below.
Here are a couple of books available at Amazon about homeschooling. Just click on the pics to follow the link…