Becoming One of THOSE Families

I have wanted to post about this for a few weeks, yet I have not wanted to post about this. But it is becoming such an integral part of who I am now that I must share. So, here I go.

We are about to become one of those families. A homeschooling family. Yes, we are. From the time Liam was 14 months old until last Fall (3 ½ years of age), I had him in either Mother’s Day Out or preschool. I was fine with Mother’s Day Out; it worked well for us. But when I decided to put him in a “real school” and did so for a little over a year, I felt unsettled the entire time.

In September and October 2006, I really began wavering on keeping him in preschool. He already knew most of the curriculum they were teaching. I’m not trying to brag, but I’m his mom and have bragging rights, this kid is smart. He picks up on everything quickly, so he was already bored in preschool and running wild as a result. Bored in preschool, have you ever heard of it? I know, I should’ve tried some other preschools, but this was “one of the best”. But instead of doing the preschool shuffle, I knew the issue was much deeper for me. I finally admitted to my husband that I was concerned whether I would ever be happy with anyone else educating my son. After all, no one else loves him as much as I do. No teacher shed those tears over trying to adopt him. Thus, no one else could care for his educational well-being the way that I do.

I’m a former public school teacher. Homeschooling is such a topic of taboo within the public school system. During my formal teaching days, I hated the idea of homeschool. I thought homeschooling families were nuts. I imagined them all as social outcasts. I never imagined that I would even consider the idea of homeschooling my kids. Yet, here I am. And I’m proud to say that I will be responsible for my boys’ education.

What pushed me over the edge to make this decision? Several things:
1. Liam’s personality has a major flaw. (What? I'm going to admit he's not perfect?!) He is easily impressed with the behavior of those around him. I know that most children are this way, but Liam’s personality causes this to be of great concern for me. So why put him in a room with his peers for 8 hours, 5 days a week and hope that he’ll settle down enough to actually learn something?
2. I attended a homeschooling workshop at Creative Arts in Action a few months ago. I went to this Homeschooling 101 on a Saturday with great doubts in my mind. I thought for absolute certain that I would walk away from this discussion and tell Rick, “Nope, absolutely not. No homeschooling for us.” So, I walked into the workshop with my arms crossed and a stern look on my face. Yet, I walked out with complete resignation to admit that I have been wrong for a very long time. Part of this workshop brought in some homeschooling families as a panel, and the audience threw random questions at the parents and kids. I was awestruck at the kids’ abilities to articulately answer each question. I was amazed at their respectful attentiveness. Remember that I’m a former teacher, so I have a pretty good idea of how “most” kids behave, but these kids left all of that in the dust. I came home and told Rick, “We are homeschooling. This is the way to go for us.” And we haven’t looked back since.
3. Research is showing that the cohesion of homeschool families is greater than those participating in public and even private schools. Now, don’t throw darts at me. Your family may prove those stats wrong, but I want to do everything I can to keep my family intact. Satan would love to tear us apart, and we will face many obstacles along the way, but I’m going to do all that I can to keep us close.
4. Universities are no longer considering homeschooled graduates taboo. Many universities are actively seeking out homeschooled students to enter their programs as Freshman. In fact, Harvard has an entire department dedicated to this search. I don’t necessarily want my kids to attend Ivy League, but I want them to receive Ivy League caliber education with Christ-centered morals in tact. I want them to go to Aggieland with well-educated minds and grounded morals.
5. As a former teacher, I know how much time is spent idling in the classroom. There is no reason for my boys to be at school for 7-8 hours, when we can accomplish it in 3-4 hours at home.
6. I have discovered that homeschool families are not social outcasts. My boys will be participating in educational coops and extracurricular events to insure that they are being socialized. The great idea behind these homeschooling events is that my boys will be surrounded by students of all ages; thus, they will learn to work and socialize with more than just their immediate age group. They will also be socializing with their brothers and me on a daily basis, and I think we’re pretty good company.
7. We want to be able to travel anytime, and homeschooling allows us to set our own calendar.
8. Most importantly, I want to be the one to see them read their first words and solve their first equations. Just as I wanted to see their first smiles, crawls and steps.

So, there you go. I’m following my heart. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.


Jodie said...

Every family has to do their own thing. I have about as many reasons for putting my kids in public school as you do for keeping yours home :-) Not the least of which is that I don't feel qualified to teach them . . . you ARE a teacher and will do awesome! Our neighbors have 7 children ages 6 months to just 13 years - Mom homeschools them and dad works at home. Great family! Do what's in your heart . . . we all do what we think is best for our children :-)

Anonymous said...

Hello! I just wanted to say best wishes. I have had similar struggles recently. For now, we are going to start kindergarten in the fall. However, I am not opposed to changing if we need to. I just think it is wonderful for each family to think about what is best for their own children rather than just going with the flow! Good luck as you start your homeschooling journey!

oh amanda said...

You're so brave! I'm like you (I was a children's pastor at a church) and have always seen the negative of homeschooling. Of course, I know the very few off the charts awesome homeschoolers, but they were in teh minority. Anyway, as a new mom AND as a person with eyes in their head that can see how this world is going and the media, etc are, I can feel myself leaning towards homeschooling. Never say never, right?!

I can't wait to hear more!

Margaret said...

Yeah for you!!! That's just a great thing for you all!

Amberly said...

I found your blog through Wordless Wednesday and am enjoying reading it. We made the same decision about homeschooling a year ago. We withdrew our 1st grader the Friday before spring break. A lot of your concerns were exactly ours and it seems like we both had the same preconceived notions about homeschooling before. I've come to realize, like anything else in life, homeschooling is what you make of it. If your goal is to isolate your kids, you can certainly do that. But if your goal is to give them a Christ-centered education and teach them how to interact with people of every age, you can do that too! We've got a year behind us and I'm looking forward to the rest of the journey! Best wishes!

nina said...

I am so excited to read your news. You have listed very sound reasons and you will probably come up with 118 more before your sweet boys reaches first grade. I hope you will have a chance to read my blog. Several of the blogs listed on my blogroll are mothers of (home)preschoolers.