Saturday, July 29, 2006

For Those Still On The Fence...

I know there are many lurkers to this site who are curious about homeschooling, but wondering if they should take the plunge and go for it. Why should you homeschool? A reader offers her thoughts,

Dear Spunky,

Your blogsite attracted me last week because my nickname was Spunk for the looongest time. I have really enjoyed reading your blog because you provide me so much to think about as I go through my day. I am a new homeschooler...8 weeks and counting. I still have not solidified my answer to "why do you homeschool?" However, over the last eight weeks, I can summerize my thoughts about why I homeschool with this statement: it gives me the time to teach my children to flip pancakes. I've found that while homeschooling, my whole family circle (husband, 6 and 7 year old children, and me) have been less stressed, more loving, and much happier. As a family we tried a traditional public school last school year. Our weekdays started off with a made rush to make it to school on time, and ended with grunpy tired children who were reluctant to do their homework. ALL my children really wanted to do after a long day in school was hang on me, fuss for attention, and play. Forget about the desire or enjoyment of learning...they lost that in the first weeks of school. In our stressed-out, time consuming era of public school, our family focus was not to put God first, or spend quality time together. Our focus was to just make it through one more school week so that we could recenter ourselves over the weekend. Sad.. but that's the truth.

I found that I became more and more resentful of "the school" because I felt that it was sucking all the joy out of my little family. I also did not like not knowing what my children were seeing, doing, and learning everyday. I could not be there to guide them through difficult situations. At our public school, as a parent, we were also not allowed to request certain teachers. That policy left me worried about who would be teaching my children in the future. I heard many friends with older children at the school say things like "We were lucky this year, we got so in so...after last year with so in so, my child was fried, I hope we get a better teacher this year...I heard so in so yelled at the children, I hope we don't get that teacher..."

My point is that as a parent, I felt I was completely giving up my children to a questionable environment. I felt stressed and pushed to keep up with the daily schedule set by public educators. I felt resentment and sadness knowing my then 5 and 6 year old had 12 more years of this kind of life.

For someone else reading this especially if you are pondering homeschool...do you have similar experiences and feelings about your time in public school? Since homeschooling, my family has lost its push, push, push mode. We spend time together happily. My children are learning skills we were unable to make time
for last year...like flipping pancakes. The burden I felt on my shoulders while my children were in public school is GONE. Are we learning and having fun doing it now? Yes!Do we have time to bring God to our lives? Yes!

I often tell people one of the reasons I homeschool is because I don't want my life centered around my children's education. We set the schedule, not the school bell.

I remember one time while doing a math lesson, Kristin paused and asked if we could pray for daddy. We all stopped and prayed for Steve. A few hours later my husband called and told me he was in a car wreck, but thankfully no one was hurt. It was about the same time we all prayed. Coincidence? I don't think so. I could only imagine what a public school teacher might have said if my daughter had asked if they could stop the math lesson for a spontaneous prayer.

Being home all day gives us time for God, each other, and I humbly submit my son is the best pancake flipper around.

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