Ever since I can remember dreaming of having kids, I remember wanting to homeschool them – back when homeschooling wasn’t even a thing. (But that’s a post on it’s own!)
I think I must have secretly wanted to be a teacher – without having to actually go through the trouble of becoming one. I also knew how important education was to me, and I didn’t want to put that huge responsibility onto someone else’s shoulders when it came to my own kids.
I thought about (and still think about) how my own education had failed me. From excluding the quiet kid, to not having to do much work and breezing through school with little effort. Then came university and my complete unpreparedness for it. School had set me up to continue on to university – but that was the extent of it. I had no idea how to get financial help, how to cope with crazy work loads – I didn’t even know how to study!
So when I think about all these things I’m pleased I took the homeschooling route with my own children. And if I had to go back to my eldest heading off to playschool to the time when I made the biggest decision of our combined lives, I would choose to homeschool again. Without a doubt in my mind, I would choose homeschooling over a “formal education” all over again!
1 – There’s no glorification of busy. When I think of parents who rush around carting their kids from one extra mural activity to the next, waiting while they swallow their lunch in the car in between swimming and karate I don’t only feel sorry for the kid, but for that mother as well. With our own kids we make sure we are sending them to interest-based extras. We are currently doing soccer, swimming, and madrassah. We do bowling as a family, and library day. We might add in art with a homeschooling group one morning per week. Our lives are the perfect balance of calm and busy.
2 – For the love of learning. They LOVE learning. On a Sunday evening at 7pm we sometimes find ourselves doing maths problems, or reading a first reader. When learning is not forced on you at certain times of the day, it becomes a fun activity. They also like that they get mum’s full attention during learning time.
3 – School takes 45 minutes! I love seeing the reaction on peoples faces when I tell them that we finish our schooling for the day in under an hour :D
4 – We’re always learning. When we go to the botanical gardens we sometimes try to learn the names of all the trees…
5 – Play is so important – if there’s one time we compromise bedtime it’s when the kids are in the middle of imaginative play. That means if the imaginative play is so intense, mum and dad pretend they forgot to check the clock. This is the only time bedtime is ever extended.
6 – My child is never forced to understand a concept. It might be that they are just not ready to comprehend the multiplication of numbers. If they don’t get it right then, it’s fine. We’ll go on with English and come back to maths again tomorrow.
7 – Baking, gardening, helping out with the baby, cleaning, etc, are all part of school.
8 – We follow an interest-led approach to learning. After a day at the aquarium, we learn much more about ocean life then if we hadn’t seen the actual sea creatures the previous day!
9 – Mum’s always learning new things! I also don’t profess to know everything. I’m not smarter than my kids, I’m just a mum, learning with my kids every day, but making sure they don’t ever assume that they are smarter then me :D
10 – Dealing with a toddler is part of the process. It doesn’t take away from our experience, and hopefully when they are parents one day, they won’t feel that a baby is a hindrance to getting things done.
11 – They see mum working on her own interests and business every day. Mum doesn’t go to work because she’s taken on the responsibility of being the primary educator and housekeeper, but that doesn’t mean she can’t pursue her dreams, too! If I were pursuing my dreams while they were at school they would never see this.
These are just a few reasons why I choose to homeschool my children, and why I would choose to do it all over again.