Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Homeschooling--Our Pros and Cons

Two summers ago, when I was seriously considering if homeschooling was a viable choice, I sat down and wrote out a list of pros and cons.

It is in no way comprehensive.  It's a basic list of the issues that mattered to me at the time.

A few more bits:

When I tell people that we homeschool one of the most common things that they say is, "Wow--I could never have the patience."  There is nothing more than parenting that has taught me that I am definitely lacking in the patience department.  And my patience level when trying to work through homework (even kindergarten homework) is not particularly notable.  For sure, one of the benefits to me about homeschooling is that because I know exactly how they should be doing a math problem (because I have the teacher's guide--invaluable), I don't have to try to figure out how they're learning at school.  Knowing what and how you're learning cuts down on a lot of that frustration.  Also, having a basic school routine makes the formal learning time quite efficient.  All this to say that for me, homeschooling requires far less patience than homework.

Another great thing about being on the inside loop of what they're learning is that it's really natural to find ways to reinforce what they're studying.  I know that I would not be reading their school books--but now I know everything that they're reading.  So when we're learning about whales and I see a cool article or video about whales, we watch it.  We don't sit down and analyze it and write reports--we just watch it because it fits and it's what we're interested in right then.  If we're learning about meteors we can lay outside and watch the show in the middle of the night.  If they were learning about that in school I probably just wouldn't be that motivated.  Also, I can cater to their strengths.  Right now T is just getting the hang of writing, but his thoughts are much more complex.  When he needs to express a complicated thought or story, he can narrate his ideas to me to write for him so that his current writing skills don't frustrate or prevent him from growing his language skills.  And if he needs ten minutes to run outside, we can make that happen.

Another consideration was that I knew that after a full day of school, M would be spent.  By the time she came home I would get the exhausted version of herself and quite selfishly, I didn't want that.  I wanted the best parts, too.

The pros and cons list helped bring some clarity to our personal decision.  I also read a ton of blog posts, news articles (some of the most helpful resources for me are HERE) and books, talked with other homeschoolers and even attended a few homeschooling meetings (once even accidentally ;) ). 

In the end, both options are very good.  (Neither are perfect--but both are good.)  But, when I considered it all, for us, for right now, I knew that I wanted to keep on learning with them--I wanted the time to live this part of life with them more fully.


**I am thankful for the teachers who love and teach students so well.  Education is unfathomably important and it is vital to invest in the lives of children.  I am grateful that when making this decision there are so many good options.

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