I was in the first trimester of a particularly sickly (for me) pregnancy. I had absolutely no desire to teach or even think about schooling our children.
I lobbied my husband (which happens to be appropriate since he's a local politician ;) ) numerous times to send them to school. I'm pretty sure I would have signed them up had he agreed (he says I wouldn't have...guess we'll never know.)
How thankful I am for him! He's so unchanging and steady and knows how I can be - ready to try something else, especially when I'm weak.
He assured me that our kids were doing just fine during this period of time that I was unable to continue on with our curriculum. I knew they were learning how to do the laundry and the dishes and be servants to their mother who laid on the couch most days. He also pointed out some things that I'd have to do if we sent them to school - things that I currently didn't have to stress over (and I'm not just talking about having to unload the dishwasher by myself. ;) )
|Putting the silverware away - you can tell I didn't have him pose for this pic. ;)|
You know what? He was right.
We've completed four weeks of school (since I was sick) and overall it has gone really, really well.
I know how it feels to desire that the "burden" of educating your children fall on someone else's shoulders.
I know how it feels to have homeschooling be perceived as a burden and not as a blessing.
I also know how it feels to be on the other side. The wondrous other side where I find almost everything about homeschooling alluring.
My feelings can be rather unpredictable at times. I can't make decisions based on my moods. (Shocking, I know.)
Below are some of the reasons we have chosen homeschooling over other educational options (in no particular order).
Disclaimer: I've always hesitated to put our reasons down online because I have so many close friends and family that have chosen other educational options. However, I hope they know by now that I respect them and trust that the Lord is leading each of them in their decisions. That said, These are OUR family's reasons. This isn't a judgement on your educational decisions. (You can read this link and know that my hope has never been in homeschooling.) Just as you probably have a list of reasons you send your child to his or her school, this is a list to HELP ME REMEMBER our reasons when I'm feeling extra low.
* We desire our children to have a foundation that is based upon godly morals and principles - an education that does not take the Creator out of the created. In our house, every subject ties back to the Creator God.
* We knew that I could most likely develop stronger bonds with our children if they weren't separated from me every day for 7-8 hours. Also, the kids could develop stronger bonds with each other seeing as how they have no choice BUT to play with each other for the majority of each day. Even if they'd rather not... ;)
|Youngest with Oldest|
* Our immature children don't need to be around other immature children for 7-8 hours per day, every day with very little mature adult interaction. I was a teacher. As much as I enjoyed those kids and would have liked to give them my attention, it couldn't always happen. Short conversations with pats on the head here and there were par for the course. I felt badly that I couldn't help direct and "love on" them more, but it just wasn't possible.
* I enjoy being around my kids and they like being around me right now too. I didn't feel like giving that up so soon.
* We can tailor their education to their needs. Also, with only a handful of students, it doesn't take all day to teach them what they need to learn. They have more time for exploration, life-skills training, volunteering...or more important things like, shooting each other with Nerf guns. ;)
* We can vacation when we so desire. We can also take the day off when it's warm in the Spring or when we stayed up too late with friends. We can do school while everyone else has a snow day, decide to take a snow day when no one else has one, or take the day off when our friends are also off. In short, the word FREEDOM sums it up rather nicely.
|Went on a work trip with Nate during the week in mid Sept. and surprised the kids with an overnight stay at an indoor water park.|
So, when I'm feeling like I don't want to continue or I'm just in a "homeschool funk", I hope to re-visit these reasons (and even these reasons). Maybe they'll help give me the right amount of encouragement to...
Keep on Keepin' On.
P.S. I don't think it's a good idea to homeschool in a bubble with just your immediate family. Homeschoolers should be part of a real, live community (online community is good, but not as good as live relationships). We are part of a church family that has those who homeschool and those who don't. We're also part of a large homeschooling group that does field trips and play dates. This gives us accountability and encouragement. Community is so important.
If you want to read more of my thoughts on homeschooling, you may be interested in:
how we deal with the dreaded Socialization question,
or how we overcame our disagreement about how we'd educate our kids,
or even how we organize our homeschool.