Goodness. This year has been a doozy.
I know I'm not the only parent feeling emotionally drained from all of the "news" that is constantly pushed in front me. There are so many opinions on what should be happening with schools and with our kids, but for us the answer wasn't easy to come by but it was obvious. Homeschool.
I truly and honestly never thought I would be a homeschooling parent. I was homeschooled from the 3rd grade through high school. Though my experience was a good one, my husband and I chose something different for our son the Booper. At first we sent him to a small private school until the first grade. When it became very clear that the private school we had chosen was not in the Booper's best interest anymore we were bewildered as we didn't feel comfortable sending him to the local public school. A friend recommended we consider an out of district public school with very small class sizes. I walked in skeptical about sending the Booper to public school after he had only went to the smaller private school, but it was a good option. His new public school class size was just 10 students!!! Amazing, right? With the school being out of district, I had to drive him back and forth daily which meant over an hour of my day being tied up driving him to and from school. Well worth the drive considering we love the atmosphere of the school and he liked it too.
Then COVID-19. Everything changed.
Just like students and parents around the rest of the country we were tossed into a learning at home situation. No one was prepared, how could they truly be prepared for something that had never really happened before? While many places offered a hybrid type of learning with online classes here in southern Indiana we simply had a small packet of work sent home for the Booper to complete and return.
As my husband and I looked through everything that was sent home for the Booper we started noticing huge gaps in his courses. Things that we feel are important, so we instantly started adding our own lessons to his schooling and he loved what we were doing. He developed a big passion for cooking and has learned to make his own grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, twice-baked potatoes, cookies from scratch, and so many things from mixes and recipes! Hubs and I kept watching the news and discussing what would happen when summer break was over.
We decided to homeschool. Boom, decision made. I felt so much peace about it.
Towards the end of April I was really feeling the emotional drain of everything happening in the world and all the tension between friends and family. I sometimes feel like everything is all on my mind at once and it leads to a sort of brain fog making it hard to focus on all the things, so I focused on one thing. The kids' schooling. I started researching curriculum, plotting what I would do if we decided to homeschool. Then after talking it over with my husband we decided to have a plan in place just in case home education was looking to be our best option for the coming school year. Some people may think it's crazy but I started ordering a few supplies and our homeschool curriculum back in May. As time went on we both sort of just knew that it was decided, we would homeschool.
Why we decided to homeschool outside of COVID-19 reasons.
It really boils down to focused outcome with continuity of learning. The more we talked about what we wanted for both of our kids the more it led us back to homeschooling. We want the Booper to have the opportunity to explore his passions for cooking and baking as part of his education. We want to build on that life skill with more...so so so much more! One of our biggest concerns about sending the kids to school was future closings and the continuity of learning. We feel that by homeschooling we don't have to worry about any changes in mandates or guidelines. We will be at the wheel of this "school bus" and we can ensure the path with less bumps in their educational journey.
In the end we just wanted to be free to teach our own way.
We will not be tied to a school system's schedule or to our computers for learning!!!
This is one of the biggest reasons for our choice to not do virtual learning through the public school. For many families that might be the best or only option, but for us, it does not make sense. Virtual learning has it's place, but it is not ideal for every subject. As I mentioned before, we did purchase some text books and curriculum to use but the choice of if or how much we do will be our own. Someone asked me what curriculum we went with and my answer is mix and match workbooks with a sprinkle of unschooling and student-led learning. I will share more on the actual books we're using later.
Since deciding we would for sure homeschool I've had the opportunity to share my thoughts on being homeschooled myself with parents considering homeschooling instead of virtual schooling through their public schools. I love the freedom that will come through our own homeschool. The choice to decide what time we will start our day, what time we will eat lunch, and if the kids happen to be really into reading we won't have to stop to log in to a computer, they can simply learn at their own pace and find joy in it at home with me.
I love my kids, and most days I like them too.
I recognize that our decision to homeschool this year may not be the decision we make for the next school year so I plan to make the most of this time with them. The Booper is going into the fifth grade and Little Miss is going into Kindergarten. Our time spent together this coming school year is time we won't get back, and I can't wait to spend it learning all the things with my two favorite kids!
So THAT folks is why we're going to homeschool in a nutshell.
I don't share our reasons to persuade anyone one way or another. I do hope that these thoughts I've shared with you will give you encouragement to find your own WHY for whatever you decide for your child's education. May you have peace with your decision and may your children have a great school year!