We are two medical doctors who planned on homeschooling before we even had kids, as soon as hopes of living close to my family faded away. Whaa, whaa. We are entering our fifth year, and we absolutely love it still. I laugh when people say, “Well, I suppose you can go back to work when you put them in high school!”
Personally, I’m just biding my time here in this trying elementary school period. I can’t wait for the good stuff: trig, calculus, physiology, and chemistry!
“Put them in school…” I don’t think so! We’ve got a clause in our will about continuing homeschooling!
The list below doesn’t even begin to capture all the reasons we enjoy homeschooling, but it’s a start.
1. For ease of travel planning. Homeschooling allows us to schedule our trips without a fear of truancy or teaching our kids it’s okay to skip out on obligations.
Homeschooling allows us to up and leave whenever we want to go visit family in another state. No begging partners to get spring break or Christmas vacation off.
2. For foreign language introduction at a young age. We’ve all read that language development occurs most easily in children, how learning
one language facilitates the brain’s ability to learn other languages, and how children who learn a language as a child don’t struggle with an accent.
I want to give my children the gift of language; Spanish is a part of our curriculum. The ability to share with more people, gather ideas from more people, learn from more people, help more people, and read another culture’s literature is invaluable.
3. For accelerating learning in areas of academic strength. Homeschooling allows a parent to closely observe strengths and move ahead when indicated. I closely observe each one of my children, like I used to observe the vital signs in my ICU patients, using all the clues to tell me what’s going well and what’s working. There’s no boredom from unneeded repetition of already mastered material. We plow onward.
4. For decelerating progression and working on areas of academic weaknesses. For one child of mine, there was a few years of angst when it “just wasn’t clicking.” Slow in phonics, reading, handwriting, and poor concentration in math.
The glory was–I could slow down and wait. Take different approaches. Look up or ask for help. We found a great place called “Core” in Sumter, SC where they helped her with pencil grip and hand strength for handwriting. Rather than force phonics and silent reading, I read aloud to her. Her verbal understanding was [is] phenomenal. Math, we continue to work on concentration. Homeschooling shines when you’re a parent who takes interest in tailoring learning to each child.
5. For socialization among people of all ages. It doesn’t make sense that society funnels kids of one age into a classroom of 30 kids with one adult. At recess children are around 100 other kids just as silly as they are, with very minimal supervision. On the other hand, at our homeschool functions, we have eighth graders teaching drawing to elementary school kids and fifth graders helping second graders arrange “electrons” in their proper orbitals in our once monthly chemistry class. In our home, my 9 year-old learns to amuse my 4-year-old so I can teach my middle daughter. At the grocery store, the girls interact with the cashier. At nursing home visits, the kids make crafts with eighty year olds. On Tuesday nights, they get to dance their hearts out with kids their age at ballet class. On Friday mornings, us moms try to hold periodic coffees so the kids can play together and “get socialized.” My kids are learning respect for ALL ages, young and old, and, I hope, learning that each person has a gift to teach us.
6. To allow time for extra kinds of learning.
- Sewing lessons (from an acquaintance)
- Spanish lessons (from a tutor)
- Drawing lessons from You Tube
- Piano lessons, specializing in playing by ear and chords and scales (from mom–that’s me)
- Specific delves into areas of history that they find fascinating
- Nature walks
- Arts and crafts of their own choosing
7. To provide an atmosphere in which personality strengths and weaknesses are observed and molded, in a loving and caring fashion, without belittling, mocking, or teasing. Here in my home, I hope to give the kids the tools they need to not be undermined by the world and what other people think about them. We socialize enough that my kids have been made fun of, talked about, had hurt feelings, gotten angry, and been irritating. But I am there. I see it. I help them acknowledge their role in the drama. Or the fairness or unfairness of the other people. Together we work to help them understand a little better what’s happening and how they’re feeling.
8. To allow a diverse curriculum: Spanish, Latin, poetry, art, piano, sewing, cooking, math, science, classical reading, intensive phonics, grammar, and so forth.
9. To avoid the rat race of pick-up, drop-off, remembering lunches, remembering party days, remembering to bring home or take back books and homework. School has a lot of unnecessary “busy-ness” which makes it pretty stressful for parents (and kids). I really feel this gets minimized in homeschooling. Recently I had to deal with having just one kid in preschool. The snacks, “dress-up” days, field trips, and parties were difficult to keep up with. I couldn’t even imagine having all three in school.
10. To provide instruction in day-to-day habits, such as making beds, making lunch, sorting and folding laundry, and watering the garden. Sad to say, I don’t think I ever did a load of laundry before I left my mom’s house. For the first year of college, I was washing my clothes in Downy only. I thought it was detergent. A crying shame.
11. To share the quality time of day together before we’re all exhausted in the evening.
12. For one of the biggest challenges in my life. “What do you mean?” you ask. E-mail me.
Mission statement: To raise daughters who are physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.