There were lots of things to consider in our decision to home school our boys. I know it’s not right for everyone, but it was absolutely the right thing for us. It’s not easy, especially when you first decide to do this. The whole process to get started can be intimidating and overwhelming. I was so lucky to have a couple awesome friends, who already home schooled, who were willing to help me with the process, giving me advice about filling out all the paperwork for the state and figuring out and buying all the curriculum – there’s so much to choose from!
I don’t pretend to be an expert now – I’m still learning as I go. (another exciting thing about home schooling is learning the material along with your children. Let’s face it, it’s been a while since I read any Medieval history and I’m finding it so very interesting this time around – I hope that transfers to my boys.)
As for specific reasons why we chose to home school, there were many. In no particular order, here they are:
1. L-o-n-g hours.
The boys left for public school at 7:45am, got home at 3:30 in the afternoon, had a snack and decompressed and then did homework for several hours EVERY day. They took a break to eat dinner, and then got back to school work. Then they took a shower and it was bedtime. When are they allowed to be kids?
All that being said, it isn’t this bad for all kids, but our boys have trouble staying on task. They daydream and lose their focus A LOT. (but I hear this is a pretty common thing for young boys… so maybe it’s more common than I think…)
It’s a lot easier to teach 2 students than it is to teach 25 – so we finish earlier in the day now. And the afternoon and evening responsibilities don’t include having their noses in a textbook. They have more time away from paper and pencil. And at this age, I believe that’s important!
2. They weren’t thriving.
Will is 11 years old and Scotty is 10 – right in the middle of what should be the most formative years of their lives. I realized, during this crucial time, I didn’t know what was going on with them… Most of their day was spent with other people. One boy was being bullied, the other was becoming more and more disengaged. Both boys were working their butts off and making mediocre grades.
3. What are they learning?
I realized also, I didn’t have a clue what they were learning. (which made it difficult to help with homework and studying.) I wondered if I would agree with everything they were being taught… Is it coming at an appropriate time in their lives? (Will had an anatomy class that he was ready for, but Scotty, at that same age, would NOT have been ready.) The picture above was taken this past week, while Daddy was teaching math, over his lunch break.
I didn’t know their friends. Are they kids that I would want hanging out with our boys? I realized – I didn’t know what was going on in their lives!! They’re still young children and I don’t know what’s going on with them! (we’re lucky enough to be involved in a great, little homeschool group, here in town, now! I know all their friends these days!)
4. Inappropriate intrusion into our family.
New attendance laws last year, in the state of Nebraska, set forth a pretty firm limit on absences… which is fine. But if you exceeded that limit, the school notifies the district attorney. I’m not sure of the ramifications of this, but it sounds very intimidating for law-abiding citizens…
And just to clarify our personal situation – we live in the middle of nowhere – an hour and a half away from anything. We travel an hour and a half, every 6 weeks to take the boys to the orthodontist. We travel 3 hours to Denver for regular medical check-ups for my husband. We miss a few days of school, even before considering that the kids may be sick sometimes… We always made up the work and always made their teachers aware that we were going to be gone. We never fell behind because of our absences. And suddenly, it was going to be a legal issue for us to do all the things we needed to do to take care of ourselves. Can you say “INSTRUSIVE”?
The new attendance laws were “the last straw.”
That being said however, when we moved here in 2006, our oldest was going into kindergarten. The only option here is full-day kindergarten. I was appalled! I wanted to home school then, but my husband wasn’t convinced.
Full-day kindergarten is a complete joke, in my opinion. 5 year olds going to school, doing homework, eating a crap lunch way too quickly. They should still be napping. Oh sorry, they still nap in full- day kindergarten – they just do it with a room full of strangers.
I felt strongly about it. I walked my boys in every morning, helped them get their ducks in a row every morning: “take off your boots and coat, hang them in your locker, get your books out and go to the classroom. Where’s your lunchbox?” They’re 5 years old, for crying out loud! Boy… my going in every day didn’t go over well. I was made to feel very unwelcome at school. WHATEVER – they’re my kids, not yours!
So home schooling has been on my mind from the beginning. I’m so glad my husband decided he was on board. And now, with a few months under our belt, I wish I had done it from day one…
Wow, I love those boys!
**These are my opinions and I’m entitled to them. Please don’t leave nasty messages if you don’t agree. I’ve heard the other side of this issue and I realize homeschooling isn’t possible for every family or even desirable… We can agree to disagree, right?