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There are several reasons why we homeschool. Admittedly, some border on laziness, but all are with my kids in mind. Well, mostly…
I Hate Waking Kids Up Early
My kids didn’t start out homeschooled. They completed the fourth and sixth grades in the public school system. Every morning I would wake up the school kids and they would quickly do their morning chores and rush to get ready for school. During all the rushing around, they’d wake up the little ones that needed more precious sleep. This began a vicious cycle of me having to deal with cranky toddlers until naptime.
We’re only 15 minutes from the schools in our district, but my kids were having to catch the bus at around 6:15 a.m. During the winter months, that was in the dark. So, we finished out that school year and began homeschooling, for the first time, the next fall.
Teaching What I Want Them to Learn
The public school system teaches a lot of useful information, obviously, because they’re still operating, but there are things I want my kids to learn that they don’t teach. Manners, compassion, to think for yourself, common sense, kindness, and how to care for someone else are several at the top of a mounting list.
My son, Gavin, loves animals. He helped us care for a calf that wasn’t doing so well with his mama, and decided he wanted cows. Gavin cleaned his pen, helped give him his bottles and supplements, and interacted with him daily to keep him fairly tame. When Buddy was ready to go in with the herd my son cried. Buddy was ready, Gavin wasn’t.
Buddy still came back to the fence and would bawl for him to come and give him a bucket of sweet feed and his milk bucket, but eventually, he only wanted the sweet feed. We later observed that he was nursing any other cow mama that would let him have a sip. My son was given the money earned from the rambunctious, young bull when he sold.
Lessons Not Taught in a Classroom
Buddy taught all of us many lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. He taught me patience. It took me three days to get him to take a bottle. I just knew he was going to die. The day he finally drank the warm milk from that huge bottle I cried tears of joy, literally. And the feeling still remains with me as I’m tearing up a little now.
My son learned the value of hard work, lots of stuff about animal mannerisms, and that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to be, you are never ready for what happens next.
My point is, most of the lessons I want my kids to learn can’t be taught in a classroom. They must be taught while you are doing life. They need to be lessons guided by loving, yet disciplining, hands. There needs to be a multitude of “good” conversations about things that lead to conversations about life. Conversations with the guidance only we, as parents can give.
I Want My Kids to Learn About God
I went to public school and was taught about evolution and The Big Bang Theory, but my mom just told us those were some scientists’ opinions and that we should learn about them, but not really pay attention. She told me to read the Bible, the truth was in there. That was fine then, but I want my children to know God made the Universe, and that every little thing points back to Him. I want them to learn why The Theory of Evolution is not correct. I want them to understand that if there was a “bang,” God created that magnificent explosion. God is the creator of everything and He has to be acknowledged for that.
Kids need to learn that no matter how bad your situation looks, God is there watching and loving you no matter what. They should understand that He gave his Son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and that the blood of Jesus covers ALL sin. And all we must do is ask for forgiveness.
I Don’t Want My Kids to Learn About Sex From a 12-Year-Old Virgin
My older daughters started out as public schoolers. The words they would bring home as elementary school students would make my blood boil to the point of causing so much built up pressure in my body, that I could literally feel my eyeballs start to protrude from their sockets.
Oh my goodness!
And it didn’t matter how many times I called the school or the school bus driver or the school bus superintendent, “new words” still made it into my home.
I never wanted any of my kids to learn about sex from a 12-year-old virgin, but my older daughters informed me a couple of years ago, that long before I’d thought they’d needed to be taught about “the birds and the bees” they already knew the logistics of it from a lesson taught at the school lunch table and further lessons from another student on the school bus.
I know I wasn’t, but I felt like a failure. It was supposed to be me! I wanted to be the one to teach my daughters about love, and that sex wasn’t something dirty, but something created by God for married men and women.
Kids Need to be Able to Explore Their Own Interests
If you really want your kids to love learning, they must have an interest in what they’re learning. You may have to spark that interest, but if the desire is there, that spark will start a fire.
So, how do you spark that interest? You talk to your kids. You ask them what they want to learn about. If you know nothing about the topic, you either find someone that does, learn about the topic together, or you find them a book, a course, or a lapbook.
Around Christmastime, both of my older boys had been talking about wanting to learn some things I knew nothing about. So, what’s a mom to do? Find a course on the Internet and give the gift of learning for Christmas. It was great! I killed two birds with one stone. And the boys were ecstatic!
A wonderful place to find elective courses for your older kids is on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I have been very impressed with their selection of classes such as Filmmaking, Photography, Hands-On Architecture, Fun With Cooking, Business Plan Creation, Introduction to Graphic Design, and many others. I’m even thinking of taking the graphic design class. I mean what can it hurt? This is a membership site that the whole family can use, not just one person or student.
Reasons are Different
The reasons families choose to homeschool can be vastly different. If you are trying to decide if homeschooling is right for you, I would encourage you to talk to other homeschoolers. Read some of the reasons other homeschool bloggers have chosen to homeschool. Rebecca at Homeschool On gives some great insight as to why they homeschool, and so does Misty at Joy in the Journey.
Homeschooling IS NOT for the Faint of Heart
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I love being with my kids day in and day out, but there are some days I wonder, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?” And then, there are the days when I wonder it out loud!
There are days with lots of energy and no place to run it off because the weather is horrible, or terribly cold. There are days when I’m not at my best, I’m tired and short-tempered, and I holler because my kids don’t seem to be listening to ANYTHING I have to say. And there are days when trying to teach my children is like trying to pierce a bobcat’s ears. It just plain sucks. (Please excuse my language.)
Then, there are the days we have more fun than fights, more kindness and caring, a hunger for learning and more laughter than tears. Those are the days that make it all worthwhile.
If you’d like to know more about how to start homeschooling, you can read about it in “How to Homeschool in Tennessee.”