Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our Journey With Homeschooling: Beginning to Now

When I was growing up, I wanted to be two things: a Mom and a Teacher.  I would role play as both for hours every day I was able.  I'd get lost in my world of teaching and childcare and I remember having so much fun.

As a teenager, I met my ex-husband, then my boyfriend and threw away my dreams of teaching, but not my dreams of having children.  Before long, I was married and had two beautiful babies to love and raise.  As they grew, I began to realize that one day they'd have to go off to public school.  I wasn't ready but then are we ever really?

One day my then-hubbie came home talking about homeschooling.  His boss homeschooled his kids.  So I immediately began researching.  I asked others about this newfound idea of homeschooling which I thought was totally impossible and crazily outrageous at the time.  I discovered that even my sister had considered it though she was enrolling her daughter into public school because she didn't think she could commit to teaching her daily.

As days passed, I prayed about homeschooling and I researched everything I could to learn more.  I found Vine and Branches Home Educators, a local association and contacted them for more information.  They offered a class which I gladly took, helping prepare those interested and new to homeschooling for the journey ahead.

Every where I went I found homeschooling materials from the dump to normal stores I shopped at.  For me, that was it.  God was telling me to homeschool my children.

Over time, I've been told that I must be Super Mom to have my kids around all the time.  I've heard others say that they could never do that or that they weren't smart enough to teach their children.  Yes, my background interest in Public School Education helped my homeschooling decision but even without that interest I could still manage.

I have had a truancy officer knocking on my door and DSS.  Showing proof of my state's laws and being prepared for them helped to end those situations quickly.  Sometimes other's perceptions of how things are supposed to be do more good than bad, especially when it comes to homeschooling.

I have even done the brief sending my children to public school and my children and I both agree it was the worst experience of this whole journey with homeschooling.  They didn't like it.  I didn't like it.  Needless to say, it ended quickly, though with a lot of emotional scaring that's had to be dealt with since.

When I met Josh, he was completely against homeschooling.  His family is rooted in the public school.  He knew nothing about homeschooling and he didn't want to learn.  He didn't want my children to be different or appear different to everyone around.  He just wanted me to follow the rules and send them off to school.  Now he's making the assignments and helping out with lessons too.

I like to say I've been homeschooling for 12 years - the age of my oldest child - but I didn't actually start homeschooling until he was 3-4 when the public school decision was breathing down my neck.  So we've actually been doing this for 9 years now.  It's not been an adjustment because it was simply a continuation of having my children home from birth - simply continuing to do what we already were.

Once I took the got-to-get-the-kids-ready-to-go-to-school ideal out of my head, things went pretty smoothly.  It has taken me a while to get the school-must-be-just-like-public-school ideal broken and I still find myself comparing my children or panicking when it doesn't seem enough compared to their public school friends.  I'm working on that though.

This has been a crazy ride, but a well-loved one and it's a decision I wouldn't change for anything.  I would make it again in a heartbeat without a second thought.  Will my children ever go to public school?  Not if I have my way.  Their home education is so much better, so much more fulfilling then anything they could get in that classroom.  And the moments we have together are just icing upon the cake.

This has been my experience with homeschooling.  Not every experience turns out this way.  Not everyone can homeschool.  It takes a lot of patience.  It takes a lot of love.  But overall, if you can do it, it will be an experience you'll never forget.

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