Why I Homeschool (And You Can Too!)
A lot of mothers I know get overwhelmed at the thought of teaching their kids at home. The first few grades are simple and the biggest factors are really patience and consistency. More and more is being expected of our young kids in school. I taught at a preschool for two years and did after school homework tutoring with kindergarten and first grade. They are expected to sit quietly and join in on group learning for hours out of the day. They usually came home with a few sheets of additional work in an effort to get parents involved. It’s not a terrible thing, but it is inefficient for the child. I would rather apply the specific lessons my kid needs and keep them with me for most of our 12 hour day.
When I taught after school help and art at the Boys and Girls Clubs, I saw kids that only saw their parents for about 4 hours of the day. Five- and Six-year-olds would come to the club exhausted from an 8-hour school day and then spend another 2-4 hours with kids and teachers there. I loved the Boys and Girls Clubs. I know parents had to work and didn’t always have another option. But I also saw how hard it was on the kids. I saw 5-year-olds that knew way more about peer pressure, sex and cussing then they ever should at that age, and I also knew it wasn’t coming from their own homes. They spent almost all of their time with other kids, learning from them.
These young years are formative in building the character of your child — especially before the age of five. I’m planning to send my kids to school when they are more prepared to think for themselves.
There is a Lot More Support
I know public schooled and private schooled kids can do well. I have many friends that have gone this route and I don’t have any problem with that. But, I want to make it clear to parents that are wondering — schooling at home can be simple!
There are so many books and tools available now. I was homeschooled until I went to college, and back in my day there wasn’t nearly as much support. We used to get the side-eye when we told people we were homeschooled — like they wondered what bunker we had climbed out of. I always got asked the awkward question, “But how are you socialized?” as if I wasn’t talking to them fluently in English. It usually came right after they had complimented how respectful and smart we were.
Homeschooling is much more common now and people are more familiar with the idea. Now, when someone hears I’m homeschooling my kids, I usually get the “Oh, my ______-in-law’s kids do that!” or something along those lines. I’ve even had people take it as a sign of luxury that I can stay home with my kids and teach them myself. I actually agree with that one.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed with the Options
The real trick is not to get overwhelmed with tools like Pinterest. Schooling at home isn’t a frolic in the craft aisle of Hobby Lobby. It’s staying on track with a few simple workbooks and then interacting with your kids a lot. Keep it simple and consistent.
The best part of homeschooling is that you get to stay with your kids all day. Of course, if you are a tired mom like me, the best part of your day often feels like the after hours activity you do with a glass of wine when everyone is finally in bed. But, in the long run, these are the days you are going to look back on with pride and mostly fond memories.
Preschool and Kindergarten are years where they learn social interaction, structured play, hygiene, focus and a thirst for learning — who is more fit to teach your kids those things than you? Of course, homeschooling really isn’t for everyone, but don’t avoid it because you are nervous. I’m here to tell you — you can do it! Just make time for learning every day and those spongy little minds will do the rest.