Saturday, January 6, 2018


A title I never thought I would write yet here I am! (Also a semi-controversial topic which I almost always stay away from writing about haha.)

As I begin the second half of our school year I've been able to reflect on the past few months of this adventure called homeschooling.
My daughter began kindergarten in the fall and we planned to have her return to the public school down the road where she attended TK the previous year. She seemed to like it and I certainly enjoyed the time with 2 kids instead of 3! She was struggling with a variety of issues but I never assumed those had any correlation to school or that environment -- and still don't make that assumption.

As last summer started I began to mentally think through the idea of jumping on the homeschool train. To back up, this was not the "plan" my husband and I thought would be best for our family. Even though we were BOTH homeschooled by amazing parents growing up and received amazing educations, we felt it was best to have our kids attend public school for several reasons. We really wanted to be out in our community and connected to those living around us. We also wanted our kids to be able to bring Jesus to the world along with us and not separate ourselves out into safe little bubbles. And then there was the reason I hate to even admit but it was that homeschooling just wasn't something that interested me. I don't have any formal teaching education and I was excited to use that time while my kids would be at school to work alongside my hubs at our job, grocery shop, clean, etc.

Before I go any further I want to be so so clear -  where you choose to have your children receive their education is an incredibly personal decision. It's only one that can be made by parents for each child. If there's something I dislike as much as mom shaming (well maybe not more but it's up there) is school shaming. I have witnessed both -- the notion that homeschool is the best and only way and you basically don't care about your kids if you choose public school. And the opposite - those that homeschool are taking their kids away from opportunities and resources and community to be schooled by a parent who's not qualified. Even as I write this post I'm like "oh man I don't want anyone feeling like what I chose for my kids means that they should be making the same choice", or that even my reasons for choosing to school my children at home apply to anyone else.

SO......All these things were going round and round my head over the summer (Yes, as in this last summer, weeks before school started back up). I felt my daughter was slipping through some cracks at her current school (again, no shame, they are a terrific school!). I was bummed that apparently kindergarten has changed from what it was when I was 6. Homework, sight words, writing, etc are now the norm (and she was in TK!). I remember lots of coloring, alphabet learning and art work when I was in kindergarten -- but now that's for preschoolers. It hit home for me one day when she came home from school and said "Today was the BEST day! We went outside for a walk!" ............which is so sweet but I was thinking ahhhhhhh you should be outside walking and running not sitting in a classroom for 6 hours every day. She just seemed to need more/different. At the time I was incredibly certain I could not provide that lol. I won't even mention some of the very basic things I have had to google (how have I forgotten so much since College??) So just to clear any assumptions that I am just super awesome and therefore would rock homeschooling. Wrong.

But even though I was feeling completely under qualified to provide "perfect" schooling for my child, I did feel that I had enough knowledge and support to give it a go. Plus, I kept saying, "it's kindergarten! Basically I can't fail this even if we do colors and alphabet all year". What is truly amazing to me is that I began this process with her in mind. I wasn't someone who ever wanted to homeschool. The idea of being at home the majority of my day teaching my most challenging child new concepts was daunting. So what's crazy, is how much I've loved it. I've fallen in love with going at our own pace because this means I get to go slower on things she has more difficulty with and allow her to be "ahead" in areas where she excels. It's so easy to customize for each child. We have a life that involves traveling overseas and I love the flexibility of taking our work with us and learning about the world and other cultures as we go. So many of the issues she was having last year have lessened or gone away completely. Of course that could be a mix of things but I do wonder if a classroom of 28 kids was just too much for her. I love that we have so many amazing resources as homeschooling families now and she can be involved in classes that I could never offer at home and we can incorporate the arts (music, dance, art classes) into our school day instead of working them around the edges. I love that our day starts with the Bible - and that she can color her way through the stories. I love that my kids are learning together alongside one another and that when it all feels overwhelming we get to take a break and get outside and find cool leaves or flowers. I could go on but this time that I thought would be so so hard has been such a surprising gift to me.

Are there days where it feels like too much and I'm failing? YUP! When my toddler is throwing a tantrum at my feet and my 4 year old wants to be involved in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g while I'm trying to teach math can make me feel like how will I do this when I am schooling more than one child! But just like with parenting, if I had jumped straight to 3 kids I would have a nervous breakdown haha. You start with one and take it day by day.

yes my youngest is standing on a folding chair :$

I think the common fear in new (and maybe experienced) home schooling parents is the fear that we aren't doing "enough". Are they behind in a certain subject? Are they writing enough? Are we doing enough variety? The concerns are endless and I am learning to let those go, within reason, and follow the laid out path we have. I think you also have to know yourself and as with anything be wise in your choices of input and resources. If I listen to too many podcasts, read too many articles, or compare to what others are doing it's easy to begin feeling bogged down and aimless. Honestly, I asked those around me I trusted for good curriculum, checked them out and went for it. I knew if I spent hours reading about different ones I would have a hard time knowing what to do. Everyone has a different teaching style and approach and that's the beauty! 

This has been our journey with public and private school this last year. Clearly by my years and years of experience homeschooling have given me the ability to write about it hahahaahahahaha. But I do stand by whatever is best for your family and the things you have going on in life to do only that.

Public school? Awesome! Private? Awesome! Homeschool? Awesome! No one likes to feel insecure about the choices they make for their kids because (unless you're not like me :/ ) most of us are already in some way concerned that we are doing "well" or "enough". Let's encourage each other and spur one another one to do good things! I'm exciting to blog my way through these fun years of schooling and the many ups and downs they come with.

Snack time :) 

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