I think this is the hardest to explain to someone who isn’t familiar with homeschooling. I used to be in those shoes. Never thought a thing about it. Just got up every day and loaded the kids up on the bus at the end of the driveway and assumed everything was just as it should be. That my expectations were being met. But then one day they weren’t. I had started working at school as a Certified Para-Educator when our youngest was old enough to head over there with me. And I loved the job. But I also got to know what was going on there everyday.
Lack of gumption! On the part of some of the teachers AND on the part of my children. My children were getting away with it because some of the adults operated the same way and allowed it. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of GREAT teachers, too. We still struggle with thinking that a weak attempt at something is going to be acceptable and they soon find out that it most certainly is not!
Common Core. When it first came out I admit that I was one of the first to learn everything I could about it. What was in it… What the expectations in the classroom were going to be… What things I could do at home to help my kids. But I quickly realized that Common Core does something that is very bothersome to me, as do any state-prescribed standards. They create a ceiling. A place for teachers to stop. A place for them to say, “Well, I’ve done my job for the year. I’ve covered everything on the list.” I think it’s safe to say that there are some things that are NOT on that list that I’d like my kiddos to know. I also think it’s safe to say that there are some things on that list that my kids will never NEED to know. And what if one of my kids isn’t developmentally ready for something during the year that’s it’s prescribed?
Socialization. Lack thereof actually. This is one question that I just wish people would trust me on and stop asking. Especially since it’s my kids that they’re so suddenly interested in. Sitting in a classroom with 20-some other kids that are within months of the same age is not socialization. Going to church is socialization. Going to weddings, funerals, concerts, community events and homeschool co-op meetings is socialization. Running into people we know and checking out at the grocery store is socialization. Learning how to socialize with people of all ages and different backgrounds is socialization.
Wasted time. I hate to think about all the time they spent learning how to stand in line.
No choice in curriculum. It’s no secret that my middle one had some trouble in math. She needed extra help. She LOATHED the math curriculum. It just didn’t work for her. What kid who struggles with math wants to open up a math book and see nothing but intimidating problem after intimidating problem every day? But every night she’d come home with the homework and we’d have tears. Tears because she hated it. Tears because she couldn’t understand. Tears because she was exhausted. She’d been out of the room for “extra help,” after all, during work time. Now I know… Some of you are thinking, “That’s life. Sometimes you just have to adjust.” And that’s very true. And normally I would agree. But if the end goal is to get the kid to learn then you need to be able to make some adjustments when they’re needed. We can do just that. We are able to find curriculum that our kids can find enjoyment in.
Stranger-danger. Gun-danger. It’s terrifying, it’s getting worse, and it’s happening everywhere. I couldn’t take that chance.
What We Want You to Know
We know that homeschooling isn’t for everyone and we aren’t trying to push it on you. Everyone has to make the best decision for their own family, ours included. We just want you to understand why we chose it for our family. Just be accepting of it, even if it isn’t a choice that you could/would make for your own family.
We don’t have set hours and we are always learning. If you ring my family up at Wal-Mart at 10:23 a.m. you really don’t need to ask if there was “no school today.” I’ve got it under control. And while we were there we discussed recipe proportions, sales tax, our budget for that trip, how the ground beef got there, and why in the world The Pioneer Woman decided to have all of her gorgeous new bowls made in China. Yes, this upsets my children as well. Because we’d really like to own some of that!
What We Love About Homeschooling
We work on our own schedule. Remember the 10:23 a.m. trip to Wal-Mart?! We do music lessons, homeschool co-op meetings, shopping, crafts, sports, and 4-H whenever we want or need. There’s still plenty of time at home for book-learning. Even if it happens in the evening or on the weekends. School is always in session.
Family time. As I’ve gotten a little older and the world has gotten a lot scarier, spending as much time with my family is my first priority. As I write this, it’s almost Christmas. ABC Family is airing the 25 Days of Christmas and we’re watching together with popcorn and hot chocolate every night. And that’s ok because we have the freedom to make time for that priority.