Friday, February 26, 2010

Why We Homeschool

We live down a very long dirt road.  I am fond of telling people that we are geographically challenged.  That was our initial reason for homeschooling when we decided that we would move to the ranch five years ago.  I knew that homeschooling would be the plan if we didn't want to drive an hour back and forth each day.  It was not an easy decision for me coming from a family of teachers.  My mother, uncles and aunts and most of my friends are teachers so I think some of them consider me a traitor to my own kind.  If you live in rural Texas, chances are you are a teacher or a nurse.  Thankfully, my sister in law homeschooled with great success and so my husband is a big supporter, plus I live in an area that has always had a thriving homeschool community.

If you would have asked me ten years ago if I would ever consider homeschooling I would have keeled over laughing.  And I think most current homeschooling moms can say the same thing.  It really does seem like there is a revolution in the homeschooling movement, as you can tell by the amazing amount of homeschooling mom blogs. 

When friends tell me how amazed they are that I'm homeschooling and give me the standard "you're so brave because I could never, ever do that"  speech with that "you must be crazy" look in their eye, I defensively respond, 'Have you seen where I live?"   Like "no way would I be doing this otherwise."  However, that is not really the truth and feel like I'm short changing myself.  The truth is now I love homeschooling.  I wonder now if I had the choice, would I have it any other way.

I feel like my children and I are a team united on one quest.  Everyday we learn together, we challenge one another.  Sometimes it's as hard for me to muster up the mental fortitude to make it through handwriting and arithmetic as it for them.  I would love as much to check my email or clean my kitchen as they would love to be playing outdoors, but we challenge each other to keep going.  And I look forward to learning with them as much as I do educating them.  When they catch on to something new we all do the happy dance together and celebrate.  I don't remember ever not once celebrating learning in school. 

Now granted, my kids are five, three and one so give me a few years to get self righteous.  It is very challenging when one or three of them is tired, sick or moody.  Sometimes I'm tired, sick and moody and I don't have the luxery of dropping them off at school or with someone to take care of and I have to just keep going.  I'll outline the challenges I face personally with homeschooling in a later post, mainly just for myself so I can monitor my progress.  My husband and friends can tell you that there are days when it changes me in to a crazy person.

One of the unexpected joys of homeschooling for me is how much I've enjoyed teaching my children the bible and instructing them on matters of the heart.  It's such a delight to see how close they've grown to God and to each other and what a significant difference daily habit training has made on their development.  Another thing I love about being able to homeschool is the variety of things they get to learn.  We're not penned in to a set curriculum and so learning is organic and spontaneous.  Plus, my children get exposed to classical music, art and beautiful literature and aren't stuck with their nose in a text book or learning for one annual test. 

Living on a ranch provides numerous learning opportunities, especially for little boys fascinated with earth science.  A large part of the kid's education involves nature studies on fascinating geological formations and wildlife habitat as well as hands on learning about weather, gardening and animal care.  We're outside a lot and I think that makes a huge difference.

I try not to become too opinionated about homeschooling when talking to friends and family because I appreciate everyone's individual need to educate their children in the way they see fit.  I'm glad I live in a state that affords us the individual right to choose.  The more I learn the more I grow in confidence and I'm looking forward to our homeschooling journey as long as it continues to be the best thing for our family. 


Amy said...

Well spoken Michelle! You've excellently communicated the heart of the homeschool mom. Having been on this journey for 15 years myself, I can so relate. I love being close to my children most of all and there is nothing like being able to share a love for learning with them. What an encouragement to read your blog! :)

The Iowa Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reasons for homeschooling! We haven't started (and aren't really close since she's only 16 mos), but I love reading about other moms' journeys and reasons. I used to live in Lubbock, TX and grew up in Southeastern New Mexico so I'm really familiar with West Texas!