Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why I Love Homeschooling

As most of my readers know, we are a homeschooling family. Sergei is our only public school kid, and that was out of necessity for reasons that I don't want to delve into on here. After teaching him at home for a couple of months, we enrolled him at our local jr. high school. He is doing very well there, and even made distinguished honor roll this past semester! Here he is on his first day of school in November last year year...



But I do homeschool my younger two.


And I. love. homeschooling. I really do. But I didn't always like it (and there are even days now that I think I really don't like it, LOL.) The first year and a half (I've been homeschooling for three years now) were pretty rough at times. And there were many times when I was ready to enroll Ian in school, but now I just feel so in a groove and have found that it fits our family so well that I couldn't imagine not homeschooling. It's really a gift and privilege from God to me to be able to homeschool.



Homeschooling is not for everyone. But it's definitely for our family. Oh my goodness, here is one of my first posts here on my blog, back in September of 2008, in which I explained why we chose to homeschool our kids. Boy, has my life changed since '08! If you would have told me back in '08 that I would be the parent of a teenage boy at the age of 31, I would have laughed at you! You never know where God is going to lead you!


You know why I love homeschooling? Because it has become a natural flow, a natural rhythm in our home. I'm not interested in my kids learning material just to ace a test. I want them to learn for the sake of learning. I want my kids to desire to know things, to desire to explore, to desire to grow in knowledge.


There are many different ways to homeschool. I think that I probably fall somewhere in between the two extremes of unschooling and a highly structured program. We spend four or five hours each day doing lessons (and I anticipate that to increase next year when Lily starts kindergarten curriculum). A very large portion of that time is spent with our nose buried in books. And I'm not talking textbooks. I'm talking really interesting, super cool living books. Why, oh why, couldn't I have been taught this way! But you know what? It doesn't matter because I am learning all these things again at the age of 31 but in a much more impactful way.



I love homeschooling because it enables me to spend my entire day with my kids. Now, let me clarify that this mom certainly needs a break at times. I need time to decompress and be by myself to think and veg out. But if my kids were in public school, my time with them would be so limited.



I love homeschooling because it has made our family into an "everything is an education experience" family. Really, it has. And if you think about it, everything in life really is a learning experience. We don't necessarily need textbooks to teach us about math (although I do use a math curriculum) ~ we have the kitchen and the grocery store. There are lessons on morality constantly presenting themselves. Science lessons are constantly popping up for exploring. Life is our school.


I love homeschooling because it can be very child-led. I don't mean that Ian and Lily are running around this house giving me the orders (they will tell you quite the contrary of that, in fact), but what I do mean is that homeschooling allows me and my children to pursue their interests. And when you study and learn about something that really interests you, you go deeper because you want to, and so you naturally retain that information more than if you learn something just for the sake of having to learn it. Plus we have the time to do other activities such as sewing and cooking and exploring in the woods.


We're constantly checking out library books on different animals or reptiles or ballet. Or looking up different topics on the internet after something sparks our interest in a book we read. Ian has recently had a big interest in birds so we bought a couple of bird books, put a bird feeder right on our front porch for close observation, and are learning about the local birds in our area.



I. love. homeschooling. Some days are rough. Some days I'm impatient. Some days I'm short with the kids and say things that I later regret. Some days I wish that I could just get my house cleaned because I really can't stand the layer of dust any longer! : )


But most days I'm thankful for these moments when I can guide and instruct my children's hearts and minds. When I can instill in them not only a love of learning, but a love for their Father in heaven. When I can teach them things about Him that they definitely wouldn't be taught in public school. Those are the moments that count, and that's another reason why I love this mission of homeschooling.

5 comments:

Gary and Tina said...

Amber,

Thank you for this awesome post. I am not a homeschooling mom but I think it is great that you love it so much. Thank you for always putting things in perspective. Love reading your posts.

Tina

theboysmomma24 said...

What a wonderfully honest post. I am there with you , there are days i wanna call west hills hahaha..Keep strong in Christ he will lead us through. What a great mommy you are and a wonderful teacher
(sorry your son spilled those beans)

Heather said...

THANK YOU for posting this! My husband and I have just recently starting to consider the homeschooling route. I went back and read your post from 2008, too. They've both given me a lot to think and pray about.
I'm definitely wondering if I could handle it, if I "have it in me". Your post was inspiring, thank you!

Debbie said...

Great post! And I love the Mayflower boat! My son is going to be reading Wheel on the School later this year (saw it in your photo)--I love finding good literature to read with the kids. And...thanks for your comment on my blog. : )

Mandy @ Creekside Creations said...

Oh, I could have written this post!

Homeschooling a 7th and 4th grader has its challenges, and there are days that I think I might just go crazy! As long I commit it to the Lord and look at the big picture, I know we will succeed.

I really couldn't imagine doing anything else!