Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting Aquantined Part II - Why Homeschool

We've homescooled for awhile now (22 years this year) and it has defined a large part of our family life. Why homeschool? I always knew that if I ever had kids I would seek out an alternative to public education for them. I moved every 2 years as a child and being shy (which I was, no lie), this was painfully difficult. I was always the new kid, always the outsider and I missed vast amounts of information. Plus, school just wasn't that interesting. Maybe it seemed that way because I spent so much time wondering what we were talking about (did I mention I missed out on a lot by moving?) I compensated by doing things I thought were interesting. I read. A lot. In high school I sang in choirs, played in bands, threw pottery, studied photography, played tennis, swam on teams, held jobs, and read thousands of words and hundreds of books. And worked. I learned a lot, but not necessarily in the traditional expected ways.

We started homeschooling in southern California when our oldest was 5. We didn't have to register our kids untill they were 7 and we knew that by the time our oldest would be 7 we would have finished the part of grad school that required CA residency and moved somewhere else. Which is exactly what happened. The CA schools that we visited had issues. I won't bore you with the details but they covered the gamut from academic to social. We figured we could handle phonics instruction. Which we did (thanks Samuel Blumenfeld- LOVE AlphaPhoncis!).
From there we spent a year in Ohio, knowing that the military would move us again in a year. Which they did. We believed that homeschooling for the interim year would provide more consistancy than enrolling and de-enrolling once we moved. We spent the year hanging out with friends from college, family and taking care of our very sick newborn. Dr. Dh's internship cooked his grits time and energy wise so we didn't see him as much as we would have liked but we had a lot of fun going on field trips, reading books and being close to the people we loved.

After that we landed in NM. Home of abysmal test scores and the drug corridor of the west. By the time we'd left Ohio I joked that we were in a rut, which is why we continued to homeschool. Sadly, folks failed to laugh at my droll and dry wit, so I quit joking about it. The fact of the matter is that homeschooling had become a life-style for us. My husband and I are committed to education and sharing our faith with our kids and believed that a private educational model, specifically tutoring , delivered by invested, caring adults was the way to go. Homeschooling was the way that we could do this affordably.

It hasn't been all joyful educational pursuit. We've birthed strong-willed kids, changed locations and social support a couple of times and had our share of challenges. Yet we continue to homeschool. Why? For us, it boils down to a couple of simple things.

A. Education. Our kids are getting a solid education. Is it perfect? No. Are there gaps? Yes. Is that normal. I think so. Do we continue to hone and improve what we do? Yes.
B. Faith. Our kids are committed to their faith and have years to refine, define and own it before the world and peers, and a whole host of other voices come along to batter and beat it into something almost Christan. Our kids leave our home with a solid understanding of the history of the church, the importance and personhood of Jesus and a glimpse at how imperfect people attempt to live a live of vibrant faith. Is it perfect? No. Do we fail? Yes. Is that normal. I know so.
C. Family. It's a busy world. We've had hours to spend together, playing, reading, learning, building, re-modeling, cooking, gardening, arguing and laughing together. The good side of that is that everybody really knows each other. The downside of this is that everybody really knows each other. Is it perfect? No. Do we get on each others nerves. You betcha'.

That's not to say that we'll always homeschool. Honestly, if I had a classical UMS around, my kids would be enrolled so fast their heads would spin. But that's not now, where we live. So, we continue to homeschool. We continue to believe that it's the best choice for our kids and our family for now. And it continues to address some core values of ours in ways that nothing else does.

How 'bout you? How do you school?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can give your child one on one attention and help. This one on one attention helps you to see how your child is coping with the different subjects. You can also easily see what subjects they need to do extra work on or need help with.