“We do not fear the unknown, we fear what we think we know about the unknown.” ~Teal Swan
When friends, family, or acquaintances ask about our children or show interest in their education, there is often a shock factor that comes with us admitting that we homeschool. Faced with judgement and disapproval, it was hard not to walk away from those conversations without questioning our decision. Thankfully, every day that I teach my children, I am reassured that this is the life for us.
Let me start by saying this, homeschool was not our original plan. My oldest 2 children attended public school in New Jersey before we moved to Florida. When we searched for a home, the school district was at the top of our priority list. I met principals, toured facilities, and researched extra curricular activities. I was confident in the district where we ultimately settled. So for us, homeschooling was not a result of discontent.
Our choice was ignited primarily for the benefits of scheduling. With hubby working weekends and nights, our family time would no longer suffer. Also, my oldest two kiddos are the product of my first marriage. With their father about a thousand miles away, they shouldn’t have to worry about lack of perfect attendance if they’d like to visit him as well as the rest of their family.
With regard to the public/private education system I would like to preface my criticism with this: I have a tremendous amount of respect for our educators. Teaching is HARD. Having patience with children everyday, at any age, is HARD. There’s this quote that especially holds true for children “They’re only special to you because they’re yours.” Funny and so true. My qualm with the system as a whole, is that it’s a blanket system. Public education was conceived to ensure that all children are educated without discrimination, so that families that require two or more sources of income aren’t at an educational disadvantage. And to that end, it does as good a job as can be expected. But, dare I say, I want more for my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I wore my badge proudly: Parent of an Honor Student, Citizenship, Student of the Month. Somewhere along the line though, it dawned on me that my children were not being educated to their fullest potential and that feeling would just nag at me, until finally, I researched the ins and outs of homeschooling. It then became abundantly clear: the lessons that I want my children to learn do not just come from textbooks practiced by a third party. The most significant, most crucial lesson is how to stay motivated to reach maximum potential, how to strive and break away from the pack, to push ourselves until we fall, and when we fall, how to get back up and persevere. Homeschooling allows my children to learn at their own brisk pace, and when they fall, who better to nurture their spirit than their family.
Which brings us to the one looming judgement that puts everyone on the defensive: socializing. Usually a two part criticism: #1: knowing how to deal with bullying is a good life lesson & #2: how do we meet people and make friends. Excuse my bluntness, I don’t care for my kids to be subject to bullying. Being forced to deal with bullying is not a life lesson. Children are just children and I consider them fragile. I don’t care to have anyone – peer or adult – tarnish their self worth only for it to have to be built up again. I want them to have time to learn about themselves and understand what it is they stand for. At this juncture, they have the opportunity to do so without judgement or peer pressure. And in the meantime they are given opportunities through sports, dance, music, and an outstanding local homeschool group to befriend those that are deserving, help those in need, and avoid those that are toxic. Additionally, now that a social calendar is a priority, our kids have a more hectic schedule and more quality friends than ever before. Friendships are mutual, not forced. And when we have large gatherings, our kids’ circles are brought together because of their efforts and coordination, and they are very proud of that.
So, if following our homeschool journey is what you’re up for (out of curiosity or as a resource), don’t be a stranger. Check out Homeschool 101 for lesson plans, craft ideas, holiday fun packs, schedules, and more!
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