Flexibility. That’s why we homeschool. There are plenty of other benefits that I could mention, but our main reason for deciding to do this was for the flexibility it afforded us.
I had friends in North Carolina who homeschooled and they had asked if I planned to as well. Nope. I was going to enjoy my quiet time once each child entered the public schools, a system I had trained for four years to work in. As a former teacher, I don’t oppose public schools on the whole. I’m a huge supporter of teachers and the work they do. I am sympathetic to them for the ways the government makes their jobs unnecessarily difficult (can I just say PAPERWORK and teaching-to-the-test).
We moved to Columbia, SC when Matt joined the Army, Hayden was 4. Kindergarten was on the horizon but we were so overwhelmed with the new lifestyle that we didn’t give it much thought. Until we found out we’d be moving during his kindergarten year, that is. Because Hayden was so timid at that age, we really didn’t want to spent months getting him comfortable in a classroom setting only to move him mid-year and have to get him settled into another classroom in another state.
So, we decided to just homeschool kindergarten and take it year by year from that point. When we got settled in Colorado, we decided that we would be able to handle 1st grade. That year went great so we decided we’d give 2nd grade a chance, and that year we would be adding Carson as a Kindergartener. By that point I was a seasoned homeschooling mom and I knew what I was doing. (Haha! If you homeschool you know what a funny statement this is! The reason it’s funny is because most homeschooling moms change things every year, and sometimes mid-year!) So, I knew how to homeschool, even though it changed frequently. I guess a better statement would be that the newness had worn off and I was confident that I was giving my kids the best education they could receive, according to my own educational-value system.
By this point we had really seen the beauty in homeschooling. The ability to pack up and go whenever we wanted to. Once we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Mt. Rushmore to visit friends while Matt was deployed and then we spent the next few weeks studying the history of the monument and some other neat things of that era.
So, the following year we had a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, and a kindergartener and knew two major changes were on the horizon: an overseas move and a new baby. With these two exciting things in store we started school very early (July) in order to give ourselves 2 months off to move and then another month off to welcome Parker.
While we lived in Germany and had a new baby, we took the chance to travel whenever we wanted. (Read: when the crowds are all in school WE TRAVELED!) LOVED IT!
Back in Colorado I wrote a Facebook note about how I homeschool. Much of my philosophy is included in that note. You can find it here:
Facebook Note: Homeschooling My Way, Part 1 (Sept 2009 – Grades 3, 1, & K)
A year later, I updated it to more closely match what I do today. You can find that blog here:
Blog: Homeschooling My Way, Part 2 (Sept 2010 – Grades: 4, 2, & 1)
If you read the two previous articles that I just linked to, you’ll watch the progression of my opinions on homeschooling up to that point. In the past five years I have changed some of what I believe and am writing about that now.
Blog: Homeschooling My Way Part 3 (Sept 2015 – Grades: 9, 7, 6, & K)
Little-known fact: I am not only a homeschooling mom, I am also a product of homeschooling. Yep. I was homeschooled for 3 years: 7th, 8th, and 9th. That was back before homeschooling was widely popular and there were no co-ops or clubs to be a part of. I remember that I would work hard for a few weeks to get ahead and take a ski trip or beach trip with my grandparents. I love to share that when I reentered the public school system the administrators had no idea what to do with me. They plopped me in regular classes. A week later they moved me up to advanced classes. A few days later they moved me up to AP (Advanced Placement) classes. Yep, my mom did a great job! So, I have been on both sides of homeschooling: the student and teacher. I have also been on both sides of public schools: student and teacher. I am well aware that this is a very personal decision and it should be entered into with prayer and wisdom. I don’t believe that homeschooling is for every person. I’ve seen it done poorly and the student would have been better off in the public school system. I’ve also seen kids in pubic schools that would have been better off at home. I firmly believe in every parent’s choice to do what’s best for their child. For years I have been a member of HSLDA, in part because I like the umbrella of protection it affords me.
So, there it is. We take it year-by-year and kid-by-kid. But so far, we love it.