Education is the most important thing to me. As a parent, it’s important to me that my children understand the importance and value of education. Education is the only thing that no one can take from you. I’ve really been questioning my decision to homeschool. I’m not sure if I’m made out for this. All mothers have the guilt of questioning all of their decisions and situations and how they affect their children. After reading some things about homeschool I have been reassured that this is a positive decision. As much as I beat myself up over whether or not things are going perfectly or look like a traditional classroom, I’m reminded that homeschool is not traditional and it will challenge all my beliefs.
I thought the kids would be at their desks for the majority of the day, quietly working, while I could prepare things and maybe get a workout in. I had such high hopes. Again, that’s just not going to happen and now that I’m homeschooling, I realize I don’t want it to happen.
Now that I’ve been researching more about homeschool, it feels good to know that other families experience this same transitional period. We all have to figure out what we want and kids often go through a “deschooling” or “unschooling” process. Being a teacher, I had to go through this too. Our unschooling process has brought many realizations about the differences when moving to homeschool.
The schedule went out the window. We are now following a more flexible schedule. Originally, I laid out a schedule that would include all of the subjects and have us doing school for 6-7 hours per day. Schedules that me and the kids had in public school accounted for all of the teacher duties and teaching large quantities of students. Teachers and students have to handle hallway transitions, bathroom breaks, lunch, recess, attendance, behavior issues, and paperwork. All of this takes up a large part of the day. We can definitely cover things in less time and don’t have all of those tasks to handle. Teachers are amazing people who are undervalued for all of the things they have to do in one day. These things don’t have to be accounted for in homeschool, it frees up a lot of time and gives us a lot of flexibility. Our biggest change was realizing that we did not have to keep a rigid schedule or we would all be banging our heads against the wall if I forced the kids into one. We would probably have to install a padded room.
When you are teaching students one-on-one subjects get covered A LOT quicker. Tutoring is a great example. When a student has trouble understanding or falls behind in a subject, they get a tutor. As little as an hour per week can catch a student up in the subject to be successful. When we were following the schedule, I had 45 minutes to an hour scheduled for math or reading and we covered the topics in 20 minutes.
Experienced Based Learning
A lot more of our learning takes place through everyday events and situations. Most students don’t learn best sitting at a desk doing worksheets. One of my strengths as a teacher and also being raised by a family of educators is to always see the educational value in all experiences. There is a lesson to be learned at the park or grocery store. We are frequent visitors of the library. It’s hard for me to get away from the view that they must be doing paper-based lessons all day. Even though I’m providing them with more experiences, I still feel some weird unnecessary guilt that they haven’t done enough “worksheets” or we don’t have papers to prove what we have learned. We all learn the most through experience and it makes it the most memorable. The teachers and lessons that I remember and learned the most from were the ones that gave me creative projects and allowed me to think for myself. I want to teach my children how to think, not what to think.
Convincing Other People
A lot of what I’ve read from other home school families, is that other people will be very concerned about your decision to homeschool. I have experienced this. Homeschool is quickly growing and there is a lot of research to defend its benefits. It also definitely is not for everyone. I have to remember that in time my family and friends will see the benefits and I will improve as a homeschool teacher. A mother is a natural teacher and I just happen to have degree in education as well. I’m constantly reminding myself that I can do this, it will get better, and I am the only person who can make the best decisions for the well-being of my children.