The more I research, and the more we think and talk about it, the more Pablo and I want to homeschool our children. It is honestly not something I ever thought I would do, but as a teacher, it only makes sense. I could never, in a billion years, allow my children to go to public school in the neighborhood we currently live in. Over my dead body. If, for some reason, we are still living in this house when the time comes, our options would be a free Montessori school that has a lottery, private school, which is costly, or homeschooling.
There are so many misconceptions about homeschooling, some of which I even believed myself. When you really get down to it, it is a wonderful opportunity that sets children up for a lifetime of success by teaching them to be life-long learners. As parents, we are all teaching our children from the day they are born. I think homeschooling is a lifestyle that we are already leading.
Homeschooling has some great outcomes too. Homeschooled children statistically do better academically, get higher scores on the SAT, and excel in college.
Here are some of our reasons for wanting to homeschool:
- Freedom: By homeschooling I can teach my children in an environment that suits them. We can go out and explore the world. They won't be confined to a desk all day. They can learn with their hands, and experience more outside of a classroom setting. By homeschooling, I can tailor lessons specifically to their interests to make them more appealing and fun. How hard would that be if you were teaching 30 students?
- Individualized instruction: Every student learns differently. Some children are visual learners, while others may be musical, tactile, or kinetic learners. As teachers, we are always trying to differentiate the lesson plan to accommodate as many learners as possible so that every child has the best opportunity to learn the material. As you can imagine, it is difficult to meet the needs of every child when there are 30+ students in your classroom with 30 different personalities and needs. As a homeschooler, I know what my child's strengths and weaknesses are. I can work longer on problem areas and give them one-on-one instruction. Doesn't that just sound more productive?
- Socialization & Co-Ops: Homeschooled kids are social with people of all different ages, not just a bunch of kids who were born in the same year. By joining a homeschool co-op, you can pull resources and offer children a chance to be social with a diverse group of families. By being part of a co-op, you can team up with other parents so that the children are getting the best teacher for each subject. Let's face it, I would be doing my children a huge disservice if I were to attempt to teach them math.
- Bullying & Peer Pressure: Homeschooled children are less likely to experience teasing, bullying, and peer pressure. I remember how difficult the middle school years were for me. I experienced so much pressure from my peers and then I was receiving counter pressure at home from my parents. I remember feeling like I was constantly being torn on two directions. It was so stressful. It wasn't exactly conducive to a good education either. My social circle took a lot of my focus and energy, often resulting in unacceptable grades.
- Self Confidence: Statistically, homeschooled kids have less behavioral problems, more self confidence.
- Soaring Spirit: I want my children's spirit to be nurtured and fed. I want them to be comfortable in their own skin and to question everything; be independent thinkers. I don't want them to be in an environment that could squash their bright spirits. I don't want them to feel like they need to conform or be untrue to themselves. I want them to be GREAT.
- Productivity & Focus: Often, in a public school setting, a teacher will have to deal with behavior issues, resulting in wasted time and less instruction. It's difficult for anyone to focus on classwork or a lesson when there are disruptions from their peers. In a homeschool setting, children can have more focus. A lot more material can be covered in a shorter period of time because the instructor isn't dealing with a lot of behavior issues.
- And finally, I love my kids. I would be honored to teach them and spend my days exploring and learning with them. It's a sacrifice, but the rewards and outcome would certainly be worth it.
So there it is, folks. I'm not sure what the future holds for us. There is still a lot to figure out and lots of time to do it. I do know that this is where my heart is. Whether our family can swing living on one income for longer than these first few years is yet to be determined. Things like retirement and a bigger house do need to be financed and saved for, so we shall see. There are certainly wonderful public schools and very qualified, bright teachers out there, too. So, if by chance, we don't homeschool, I am sure we can find a nurturing, open-minded school that would suit their needs just fine.
For now, though, I'll day dream about spending afternoons digging for clams for a Chesapeake Bay science lesson, painting murals in the backyard, and exploring the wonders of the world from our dining room table.