15 years I’ve been a homeschooling mom and I’ve loved every single year. I find it hard to believe I’ve graduated two kids from our homeschool. I never intended to do that but planned fully to go back to the classroom once all my kids were school-age. I loved being a teacher and I loved the camaraderie I had with my fellow teachers. I loved decorating my ladybug themed classroom and teaching next to my best friend (the one we named Anna after). We were so cute with our matching Belly Bumps! I still have that Ladybug book given to me during my Ladybug baby shower.
But after having three babies in three years, Matt joining the Army, and us finding out we’d be moving halfway through Hayden’s Kindergarten year, we decided to homeschool – “just for that year.” And we never stopped.
We have had amazing opportunities to follow history and walk in the footsteps of real historical figures like Kit Carson, Paul (the one of the Bible!), General Patton, Julius Caesar, and now, the Founding Fathers.
Along this journey we’ve walked with many other homeschooling families. At every duty station along the way we’ve been close with other families who have chosen to educate their kids at home, and we’ve gotten our kids together formally and informally on a regular basis. I generally cringe when asked, “But what about socialization?” My answer has always been the same:
“We have so many opportunities for socialization that we have to say NO to some in order to get our school work done! From soccer to church to co-ops and neighborhood hangouts… we socialize. Don’t worry about that!“~every homeschooling mom ever
Stuttgart had limited socialization opportunities but it was there. Until we moved to Fort Hamilton, Stuttgart was the duty-station with the least homeschool opportunities but even still we were content and made sure that the kids were getting enough time with peers. Sending them to school never crossed our minds.
Homeschooling during COVID was a B-L-E-S-S-I-N-G. I watched teachers heroically manage classrooms from home and they rocked it! However, the pressure put on parents to figure out how to manage their kids’ schedules and school work was overwhelming. I felt so bad that millions of parents now have that as their understanding of homeschooling! I assure you… what parents had to do last year was NOT homeschooling! Homeschooling is much easier than that!! I PROMISE! Anyway, I am thankful we were already homeschooling when all that went down and because we were already in our groove and absolutely nothing changed for our family, educationally. Except for the fact that we moved mid-pandemic and to this particular duty station.
A few weeks ago when asked if I was planning to homeschool again this year I said that I was. I’ve even pulled out the school stuff and begun preparations for the start of school. And then I read a friend’s blog post it unlocked something in my heart. She’s a fellow homeschooling mom whose passion for teaching her own kids is admirable… she’s a PRO and a hero of mine. If you want to read her words, check out her blog titled, “At Home On Purpose.” (And if that title doesn’t prove she’s a passionate homeschooling mama, nothing will!).
It took all of three minutes to read the blog post and another two to decide to investigate my own options for schooling Parker and Anna. I recognized my own kids’ experiences in her story about this Forth of July.
A single conversation with Parker, during which he said he was excited about the possibility of trying “real school,” convinced me that it was time to give it a try.
And so… Hamricks 4 & 5 are officially going to school in the fall! (With one caveat: if COVID closes school, we will probably do our own thing… we will most likely NOT do the online school thing unless it seems like shut-downs are short-term.)
I am totally at peace with this decision. Both kids are excited and just yesterday they each met friends going to their school in their grades.
This means I will only have one student next year, a Senior, who is going to be doing Dual Enrollment, earning credits toward his Associates Degree. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do with my time every day, but I’ll figure that out in time. I hope to be able to get back into running and maybe write a bit more. I would also like to take some baking classes to improve my cake and cupcake making skills. I could be a volunteer or a substitute teacher! Lots of possibilities!
We’ve always said that we take homeschooling kid-by-kid and year-by-year. I believe holding loosely to my identity as a homeschooling mom and truly wanting to do what is best for my kids has made this decision very easy, but I thank Kristal for her obedience to the Lord’s directing in her life and her willingness to share publicly what’s going on in her world… her words were the nudge I needed to follow suit. “Iron sharpens iron.”
In case you missed the main point: Socialization is a big deal for all homeschoolers, it’s just that most of the time we’re able to provide plenty of that in our day-to-day lives. Just not here, in the biggest city in the US. (Fun fact: If Brooklyn decided to leave NYC, it’d still be in the top five largest cities in the US!)
Check out the Facebook Memory from exactly 4 years ago today!