James is of the kindergarten age. So instead of going through the ritual of sending my darling baby off to school, I decided to keep him all to myself and try to educate him that way.
|I could not get a good picture to save my life on our first day of school. There are so many funny things about this picture I can't even begin to explain...|
I brace myself a little bit every time I announce this. While a few people accept this method of education as completely normal, many respond with astonishment, skepticism, admiration, fear, confusion, pity and/or wonder.
So I have to explain and defend myself to some extent. But it's okay. I had to get over my own skepticism to begin with. You see, I married a homeschooler. If it had been any other way, I probably wouldn't have even considered it. But after years of hearing him explain his upbringing and advocating for this odd educational technique, I decided to do at least look into it. And I never really looked back.
It was already a huge step for me to leave the workforce when I had kids, but the homeschool thing just takes me to a whole new level of domestication. It's rather frightening.
So why, you ask. WHY?
It's not because I hate public schools or think they're going to ruin my children's lives. I love a lot of teachers, I admire their work, and I think my kids would be fine in a classroom. I excelled in public school myself.
It's not because I want to smother my children and hide everything evil from their eyes and ears for as long as possible -- although I have to admit I'm glad their exposure to topics too mature for them will be limited for at least a while longer. So call me overprotective if you want, but I suppose that's a matter of opinion.
It's not because I've had this lifelong dream to sing songs and draw rainbows and butterflies all over my house, reliving some lost childhood fantasy.
It's not because I think homeschooling is the end all be all, superior method of education for everyone and that my children are better than everyone else's and anyone who thinks otherwise can take a hike.
So here's why I'm choosing to homeschool, although I don't think I can fully explain it:
There are several good education options for my kids in my community. However, this option seems the best -- for us -- at the current time. I can provide my kids with a lot of individualized attention, help them learn at their own pace with their own style, explore their interests, and foster a love of learning. I don't know that we're going to do this for the entire K-12 stretch, but I think it's a good place to start.
Homeschool is an extension of our parenting. We can seamlessly blend our family's values with everything the kids are learning. This isn't just about being able to read the Bible or pray together during school hours. This is about talking about heart issues, life's challenges and the real world in every context (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Kids grow up fast and I want to take every opportunity I can to help them excel in life -- not just in academics and work, but in relationships and character. There are some wonderful teachers out there who can help kids in this way to an extent, but nobody does it better than a parent.
Oh yeah, and as I mentioned, Marc was homeschooled and I think he turned out pretty good. Plus if this just doesn't work (as homeschooling doesn't work for everyone), we fortunately have other options.
Isn't it great that we have options to help our kids learn and grow?!! I think so. We're trying this one first.
Now I know you might be thinking things like, "But aren't you worried they won't get enough socialization? I could never do that, I'm not that organized. I couldn't be around my kids all day. Have you been trained as a teacher? Aren't you afraid they'll miss something? Aren't they going to turn out naive and unprepared for life? How could you possibly teach while you have a toddler running around?"
Sheesh, it's just kindergarten. I'll let you know how it goes.