Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Dozen Reasons We Homeschool

It has been very hectic around here lately - between trying to get the house rearranged, clean out things for my Aunt's arrival, and sorting piles that have been sitting since before Christmas, when friends moved in with us, and ended up staying for almost 6 months.  It is amazing how much just keeps piling up and up!

So, here are my top dozen reasons why I chose to homeschool.

1.  Our Christian Faith - I wanted to make sure my kids were well grounded in their faith before being bombarded with the world's ideology.  I believed that when God said to "teach these things diligently to your children", that He meant it.

2.  I love my kids - and I just can't get enough of them.  After struggles with infertility and miscarriages, I just couldn't fathom missing out on anything and wanted a close relationship with my kids.  Kind of selfish - but there you go.

3.  I love to teach - really love to teach.  But with my shy personality and failing eyesight, teaching in a school setting was a major challenge.  I'm sure I didn't do as well, especially with the parents, as I needed to or wanted to. ..... BUT .... I could certainly teach my own children.  And I found such a huge joy in watching them learn and finding new ways to engage their personality and learning style.

4.  No long commutes - I don't drive, so either the Ref would have to drive them to a private school, or they would have to ride the bus.  Our bus comes by shortly after 6am, and doesn't arrive back home until nearly 6pm.  That would leave little more than time to feed them and tuck them into bed before getting them up to put on the bus the next day ... and we are not morning people.

5.  Flexibility - We can school where we want to - and when we want to.  School never actually ends for us - even a trip to the grocery store can turn into an extension of what was learned because I know what they are studying.  When we had to move in March, it was easy to shut down school for a month, and pick up right where we left off once we were settled.  When my mom suddenly died, we were able to scale back the schoolwork and spend time with the family.

6.  Silliness - We love to laugh and joke and giggle.

7.  Field Trips - we don't take many with the price of gas right now, but we do have the freedom to go anywhere as often as we want to go.  Sometimes a friend or family member offers to take them on trips with them ... and they get to go without worry about school.

8.  Teaching on their level - Since there is no class to stay with, they can go faster than the schedule or slower.  The class isn't going to pass them up and require them to take it over the following year.  We just keep chugging along at that child's pace - expanding a topic if we need to or skipping over large chucks that they have mastered already.

9.  Extra Material - We have lots of time for home making and home care skills.  Some weeks are spent working on projects, like our garden.  They get to do painting, moving furniture, organizing, chores, and hundreds of other things that we do every single day.  I've never once heard my kids say, "But am I going to use this when I grow up?"  Because they watch us use it day in and day out.  Plus, they get to do volunteer work at jobs that interest them, at times when most kids are at school.  Song volunteers at a horse therapy place, she gets a lot of extra attention and instruction because there are only a hand full of kids who come.  She is there all day long, and the staff has picked up on her mild learning problems, and have her doing therapy to "train the horses".

10.  Specializing - We don't use a lot of curriculum anymore.  Nor do we always follow the curriculum.  The girls have bends that are prominent parts of their personality.   Story loves to do hand crafts - knitting, crochet, necklaces, and she loves to write.   Song loves music, plays the violin, and loves to sew.  Homeschooling allows them extra time to get good at things that they wouldn't have time to do otherwise.

11.  Health - The kids are outside more often, and get more exercise.  We are not around a ton of germs every day.  Song's asthma has been more manageable, and Story's ADHD has been dealt with by allowing her outside time to run instead of medication.  I have been able to watch their diet more closely, and be more in charge of teaching them to eat healthy.    Also, there are days a girl just feels blah ... you know .... and they can take a nap if they need to.

12.  Social Skills - Now it is true that my girls are somewhat clueless about the latest styles of hair, make up and clothes, nor do they think shopping and spending Daddy's money is a national pass time.  But they have wonderful friends ranging from toddlers all the way up to the 90's.  They can hold a conversation with most adults easily, though I'm still working on remembering not to ramble.  But they also can handle young children easily.  Which doesn't mean that they always USE their knowledge ... but they CAN.  They don't really know what a bully is ... nor do they have to deal with peer pressure.  They are who they are - opinionated quirks and all.   I find it pretty cool that some of the teens who know them, really like to come hang out, just so they don't have to worry about hair and shoes and boys and purses ... they can just BE, and often that means running and playing tag or climbing a tree or just being silly.

Now our last 4 years have been quite rough - with the Ref only doing odd jobs and reffing only 6 months of the year - so we've really had to cut back a lot on what we get to do.   But being together has made the struggle so much more bearable.  My kids are not perfect, nor is our school day perfect.  There are a dozen things every day that I would have liked to have done or said differently.  But the teamwork and companionship I have with my two daughters is priceless.

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