Welcome back to our "Why Homeschool?" guest post series. This week we are so lucky to hear from Jessica of Modest Mama. I love SO MUCH what she has to say. I hope her thoughts will inspire you like they do me!
Monday, January 7, 2013
Why Homeschool? Guest Post Series ~ Jessica
When I think back on my own childhood, one set of memories are the most dominant: school memories. I can remember the names of my teachers and friends, and picture in my mind the buildings and classrooms that I spent countless hours inside of. These are happy memories for me, and are the ones I often recall when I think back on childhood. The education my children receive is very different from the one my husband and I received. We have chosen to take on the responsibility of educating our children ourselves, at home. We are homeschoolers.
When we first made this decision, we both assumed it was temporary. Our oldest was five and reading at a middle school level. His math ability was also advanced and the local public kindergarten didn’t seem like the best fit for him. My husband had just accepted his first job out of graduate school and we had no means to consider private education. We thought we would homeschool him for a year or two and then look for a school. By that time our second son would also be school-age and we could send them together. One year turned into two, two years became four, and now we are halfway though our fifth year and have four children currently homeschooling.
Has it been easy? No, not always. Sometimes it is downright horrible. Just this Fall hubby and I toured a local independent school because I had had enough of this homeschooling. It was too much and I was ready to pass the torch of responsibility to someone more qualified. Someone who will smile and encourage my kids to the best of their abilities. Someone who is not me.
As time passed and the kids remained at home, I realized the problem didn’t exist with them, but with me. I needed to let go of my expectations of what my house should look like and realize that seven people live here. If the math page doesn’t get done in the morning, it can be done in the afternoon. If the kids are pestering me so much that I need to scream and cry, I can put a video on for them. They will not be harmed beyond repair by watching Star Wars for the hundredth time.
I often tell people that I am stretched to the limit and I don’t know how much longer I can do this for. Then an amazing thing happens. Every time I think that I have reached that limit and everything is caving in, I realize that I do indeed have a little bit extra I can stretch. Children are only young for a short amount of time. What better way to fill my days than sharing with them the wonders of this amazing world? Who is more qualified to teach them to love to learn than my husband and I? Who knows them best and knows how to challenge them most effectively? We do! Why would I want to hand over the best childhood memories to someone else; someone who won’t be a part of their lives in the long term?
Not all my friends homeschool their kids. Some of my closest friends have their children in wonderful schools with wonderful teachers. I don’t begrudge them their choices. Who am I to say what is best for another family? Families must choose what is best for their own children. The reasons I homeschool are what makes it the best for my family at this time.
I asked a couple friends why they homeschool when I was preparing to write this piece. One answer remained consistent among everyone who responded: they loved how close they were to their children because they choose to homeschool. I know there are non-homeschoolers who are close to their children. But I believe there is something different about the relationship between me and my kids because I homeschool them. Something that would be lacking if they spent forty hours a week away from me. Something that develops because we are living this life together. Despite all the difficulties I face with this decision, the triumphs and the time I get with these beautiful kids makes it worth it.
When my children look back on their childhood, they will not recall school assemblies or long hours sitting at an assigned desk. They will never wait in a lunch line or hunt for a book in a locker. Instead I hope they recall the hours spent laying on the couch reading, the laughter of their siblings, and me. Both crazy mad and insanely happy to be the one teaching them.
Jessica and her husband Michael live in the foothills of Western Pennsylvania with their five children. When they are not homeschooling you can find them swimming, traveling, or at the soccer park. They are excited to welcome a sixth child to their family through adoption in 2013. Jessica blogs about their adventures at Modest Mama: http://www.modest-mama.org