On Friday night, I got to attend Mom’s Night Out with the ladies in our new home school co-op. It was fun to get to know a new group of friends, and I feel so blessed to have these awesome moms in my life.
We had good food and good conversation, with the help of our hostess who had prepared some questions for all of us to answer. One of the questions was, “Why did you decide to home school?”
I listened as each of the ladies gave her answer. Some said they had “always wanted to” home school and finally got up their nerve to give it a try. Others loved the time spent with their kids. Others could see the benefit of using the “wasted time” at a traditional school to focus on other things, like orchestra or other special interests.
Somehow the subject changed before it was my turn to answer. “Whew!” I breathed a silent sigh of relief.
Sometimes I feel so out of place. I mean, I can’t say that I’ve always wanted to be a home school mom. In fact, I always said that I would do absolutely anything required of me to avoid it.
Although I can see the efficiency, speed and overall quality of this type of education, I don’t feel like it’s the “best” way to educate all kids. It completely depends on the mom, the kids, their needs, their determination and their commitment. In fact, after seeing how much work it is, I don’t know that I would try to convince someone else to do it.
Even a month into it, I can’t say I love it. There are other things I could be doing with my time that would better use my strengths. But it’s where we’re at, so I try to do the best I can. I know that my attitude will rule the day. So, I try to be positive, make it fun and encourage the kids that we need to take ourselves seriously.
So why did we decide to home school?
We reached a point where the other options weren’t working. It was pretty much our last resort. And it also seemed clear that this is what we were supposed to do. It was a leap of faith to give it a try and hope for the best.
For one of my children, learning in a classroom of 25 students in public school would be difficult. He is so bright in so many ways that he has become an expert at flying under the radar when he really is needing extra attention.
We loved private school, but his teachers there said they couldn’t give him the extra help he needed. He was getting stressed. Our family was stressed. And with several hours of homework, a long commute and tuition costs, we had all reached a breaking point.
At home, we are able to shift our focus to work on the trouble areas. We have time to do extra activities that would never happen in a traditional classroom.
If it were up to me, I would have enrolled the kids in another private Christian school that offered extra services for kids like my son. He is bright and creative, but needs help in one area.
But would you believe that at the same time we were making this decision, we also found out that I was pregnant? I could have worked like crazy this summer and fall to make enough money to pay private school tuition at this other school. But knowing that would coincide with my third trimester, it made a lot more sense to give home school a try.
So, here we are. I definitely think we are doing the right thing for us.
The kids are happier than I have seen them in a while. They love doing school at home. They love having time to run outside and play everyday. They love having time for extra activities we couldn’t have done before.
I love that I don’t wake up every morning feeling stressed that I have to get lunches packed and hit the road by 7 a.m. I love watching them learn. And I love that we can sit on the back patio to study science, if we want to.
Does that mean we love every minute? Does it mean I’m suddenly a huge home school advocate who thinks everyone should do this? Does it mean I somehow have a supernatural measure of patience that makes it easier for me than other moms?
Absolutely not. We’ve made a choice. With that choice comes smaller daily choice to be happy and patient and stick to our routine, even when we would prefer to do something else. We’re just doing the best we can each day.
So, what about you? Maybe you live in an area where your schools are awesome, and school is not even something you need to think about. Maybe you have always dreamed of doing school at home. Or maybe you love the environment of private school.
Why do you do what you do?