How Did We Get Here?

When I was teaching in NB, I thought about homeschooling only on a few occasions. One of my husband’s colleagues, a hospital pharmacist, homeschooled his children. A few years prior, I had had the opportunity to interview him for a paper I wrote in college. I had only a vague understanding.

There were several families that had enrolled their children in public school after educating them in their homes for a number of years. The ages of the children, the number of children in the family, and the number of years they were educated at home varied amongst the families. However, the one thing they had in common was that all the children were excited about learning, were responsible and well mannered. Model students, really. I became intrigued.

When Sweetie was born, I knew immediately that I would stay at home with her. In the beginning, this transition was very difficult. I struggled with my decision to be ‘just a mommy’… I struggled with my identity.

My plan was to return to the classroom when my own children started school. As those years got closer, however, I began to think about our options. Other parents were comparing elementary schools, considering private, magnet or charter schools. The common questions I heard were, “Where is Sweetie going to preschool? Have you thought about Kindergarten, yet? Will she go to your neighborhood school? Are you going to try to get into Amity Creek or Westside Village? We are on the wait list at High Lakes.” Words that could have been scripted for a movie! She is only 5 – what does it really matter!?

I started to pull away from all this discourse and began to really give thought to educating my own children. I asked several of my teacher friends about their opinions and they stated the typical, “What about socialization?” The one argument that I thought the most about was, “Your strength is science. How are you going to teach the areas in which you are less comfortable? Their education won’t be as well rounded because they won’t have been taught by a variety of teachers with varying strengths and weaknesses.”

Sweetie’s birthday falls just 2 weeks after the cut-off. She would thereby not start public kindergarten until 2008. In April of ’07, I had registered her for preschool for the fall. However, as September approached and as we began to do projects for the fair, I knew she was ready for kindergarten. Her best friends and her cousin were starting kindergarten and she wanted to as well.

Another colleague of my husbands, coincidentally, another pharmacist, homeschooled their children through junior high. I asked them everything that crossed my mind. The idea of homeschooling became more fascinating to me. I started doing a lot of research. When I discovered Charlotte Mason and her approach to education, I knew immediately that I wanted to give homeschooling a try. 2007-08 became an experiment. If it worked – we’d continue. If not, Sweetie would start Kindergarten in the fall. No loss.

For Sweetie, I want to homeschool because she is bright and perceptive. I want to challenge her and not hold her back. I want her to continue to have the opportunity to explore areas of interest to her – living history, crochet and needlework, archeaology, nature study, and art. I want her to grow to be an independent, confidant young woman. I fear her self-esteem could be wounded – her true self altered to please others.

For Buddy, I want to homeschool because he is active and spirited. I fear that in the classroom setting he would be labeled as ‘attention-deficit’. He has Congenital Nystagmus and I don’t want others to judge him as my brothers were. I want him to have the opportunity to explore areas of interest to him – animals, construction, and nature study.

To my delight, homeschooling has been a challenging and very rewarding experience. We begin our 2nd year more knowledgeable. More connected. More prepared.

How about you? Whether you homeschool or enroll your children in public or private school… how did you come to your decision? Leave a link in the comments and I’ll add you to the list below. All participants (excluding me, of course) are eligible for a prize – see my Friday Freebie #3 post for more details.

Click on one of the following links to read similar posts by other families:

Are You Going to Kindergarten? by Teacher of One
Our Adventure in Homeschooling by Alex
A Rocky Start to Homeschooling, Then I Found the Path by Barb
How & When Did We Decide to Homeschool by Neely
When and How Did You Start Homeschooling by Cellista