Friday, June 24, 2016

Why I am choosing to Homeschool.

I have been asked by so many people recently why I have decided to homeschool my children. I have never really been able to articulate all my reasons why. I thought I would share some of them here for others who may be interested.

This is a decision that Marshall and I have made together. This wasn't something that was actually all that hard for us to decide. We both love the idea of being the ones to teach our children. We want to allow our children the freedom and joys to learn HOW to learn in a loving and trusting environment. Our home is a place where they can grow and excel at their own pace.

I have heard many comments of love and support, as well as others of worry and concern. Some people comment that I may be keeping my children from opportunities that they could receive in a public school. However, I am here to say that these worries are not for you or anyone else to be concerned about. These aren't questions that we haven't asked ourselves or have discussed in our home. We have come in at all angles and have come to the conclusion that we, as parents, are the ONLY people who will ever know what is best for our children. We will take whatever challenges there are head on and deal with them appropriately, as we see fit for our children.

I had a friend ask me, "Do you worry that you are not enough for them?" My heart sank when I heard these words. I immediately answered in the most honest way I knew. "I will ALWAYS be enough for my children. I will always be what they need because I love them and I know them. They know me and trust me and no one in public school will be able to provide for them what their own mother can."

The words of doubt that I hear from others has often made me question what I am getting myself into, but I have faith in myself and my children.We will be embarking on this journey together. We expect it to be a challenge and also an awesome adventure that we will always be able to look back on and be grateful for.

Here are a few of my reasons why we will be homeschooling:

I want to learn with my children. I have witnessed the light in their eyes when they have discovered something new or wrote their first letter or have understood something that amazed them. I don't want to miss these opportunities to be amazed with them. I want to feel their joy, and I want them to feel that their joy is felt by someone else. I also love to dive in and learn new things. Unfortunately, a lot of what I learned in the past has been forgotten, and I am anxious to relearn what I can.

I want my children to learn HOW to learn. I don't think there is anything more important in education right now than teaching children: HOW to learn and to ENJOY learning. I want my children to want to seek out answers, to know how to dig in and find answers to the questions they have rather than being forced into finding answers to something that doesn't interest them (although it may be important, it will come in their own time)

Freedom/Stressless. I know my children will become interested in their own hobbies, talents and interests, and I love that we can make these a focus. Ezra currently plays piano and is naturally quite good. I don't want to force him to practice before or after school. I want him to enjoy sitting down and playing when he can during the day. I hope that there will be a lot less stress about schedules and timing with the freedom of being at home. I love that if there are days we want to take a break from learning at home, we can pack up and have lunch with Marshall, even run errands, go to museums, nature walks, field trips and vacations without having to let anyone know why or where we are going. I have boys who NEED to let loose and take breaks to keep their minds and bodies alive and ready to engage. I love this freedom! I also won't have to struggle with finding times for doctors, dentists, allergist, asthma appointments. Everyone else is in school;) There are countless things in our mundane everyday tasks that we can learn so much from!

Social Skills. For some reason, this is everyone else's big worry for my kids. Marshall and I (may be a little socially awkward for our own silly reasons;) are NOT "weird" people, so we don't worry about this at all. We keep our kids active in piano, swimming, soccer and church activities. We plan countless playdates and dinner dates with friends. Our kids watch me while I engage with my clients when I am working from home. They are always watching how we treat others and how we respect and love the people we socialize with - just as they would if they were at school watching other kids (whom I don't know). Our kids will be learning how to appropriately carry themselves with self respect and love for others. They will learn how to be kind and respectful to others because that is what is learned at home. (They will NOT BE PERFECT at this, I can promise you, because no one is.) They will be learning appropriate socialization in a safe environment where bullying, name calling or any other type of negative socializing that happens in schools/playgrounds will not be tolerated.

Discipline and Correction. My children will make mistakes. They will need to be redirected and corrected. I want to be the one to do that. Ezra and Eli both speak completely different language when it comes to needing to be put back on course. Who else is going to know that Eli needs to be spoken softly and gently to at eye level so he understands what he has done wrong. In contrast, Ezra needs a strong, loud and clear talking to (smack down.just kidding) with serious consequences to get through to him. Every child is different and responds differently, and they should be taught accordingly. These boys will have myself and their father, who they know LOVE them, to redirect them in these times. When they struggle with learning something, we can take the time (as much time as we need- because we won't be on the clock or trying to race to another child in need) to help them on their journey to find the answer.

Work/ Service. I am excited to have my children home with me throughout the day to learn what it takes to keep up with life. It is a LOT of work to be a mom, a business owner, a teacher and an active member of our church and community. There is much to be done every day, and we will be able to all work together to get things done. We will have opportunities to serve others, to make meals for families together and to drop them off. Our kids will learn to help with housework and yard work and to experience the joy that can come from working together to accomplish something GOOD. They will see they can make a difference in our home and in the homes of others.

Family Time. A dear friend of mine recently just told me that I said something to her that made her want to homeschool. I happened to say, "Why would you want to send your kids away to school?"I laughed, kind of embarrassed by how course that came out, but she said that was exactly what she needed to hear. It helped her to decide whether or not homeschooling was for her family. Personally, I don't want to send my kids away. In fact, I want to cherish every moment I can with them while they are young. I don't want to miss out on these opportunities for all of us to be together, to experience our (short!) lives together. Time moves too quickly, and before we know it, we will be sending our kids to college and then to be married. I want this time with them!

Curriculum. I am excited to be able to choose a curriculum that will work for our family. There are TONS of resources, curriculums and online schools to choose from. It can be overwhelming. We are planning on a curriculum (Latterday learning) that will allow us to have Christ at the center of our teaching, which isn't available or even talked about in public schools. (Because our kids are young, we aren't pushing too much curriculum yet. We will use Latterday learning as a base and go off of it.) We read a LOT of books. The boys ask lots of questions about what we read, and they are learning so much in this simple way.

Homeschooling is truly a gift that I am grateful to be able to do with my children. I am blessed to have a supportive and encouraging husband who is willing to take this on with me. I understand that this may not even be an option for parents who may both work out of the home. However, I believe that there are many good options out there besides public school. There are also many opportunities to teach and encourage your children's education. You don't need to homeschool to do it. I cannot stress enough how important is it to teach your children to find joy in learning and joy in experiencing all that there is to learn. Be active in their lives and their learning!

Something that I always hear from other mom's, " I could never do it!" Yes! You can!! You are the person to do it! You are who your children WANT to do it. I have also heard, "I wouldn't have the patience." Guess what!? I don't always have the patience, but at least it's me losing my cool on my kids and not someone else. Also, neither do the kids, but this way we can take a break and get out of the house!

My current concern about homeschooling is finding the balance between my salon business and school time. I know it will work itself out and that is what I feel when I pray about it. There is a certain peace knowing that if I have to work during the day, it will be an opportunity for my children to learn self led independence and discipline. Ezra (Almost 6) is already learning to care for his brothers and to help them if I can't. I am not exactly sure how I will work these both, but I know it will work out in some way.

Also, I know myself and I know I will have days that I will not feel up to doing anything. I know that happens to everyone but if you see me, lift me up with encouraging words. I will need them!

I hope that maybe this post will open some eyes or even bring some comfort to others who may be interested or curious in homeschooling.

Thomas S.Monson
Perhaps most significant of all classrooms is the classroom of the home. It is in the home that we form our attitudes, our deeply held beliefs. It is in the home that hope is fostered or destroyed. Our homes are the laboratories of our lives. What we do there determines the course of our lives when we leave home. Dr. Stuart E. Rosenberg wrote in his book The Road to Confidence, “Despite all new inventions and modern designs, fads and fetishes, no one has yet invented, or will ever invent, a satisfying substitute for one’s own family.” (“Precious Children—A Gift from God,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 67)

...and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” D&C 88:118