Home » Homeschooling » To Homeschool or Not?

To Homeschool or Not?

i-homeschool-because

Why does a parent choose to homeschool?

I thought I would try a little slow start with homeschooling. I  began with researching what other Mother’s are teaching their kiddos at this age as well as what is expected by my local public schools.

I was shocked!

By public school standards my oldest is ready for 1st grade for the exception of writing.  She’s 4. My youngest is ready for kindergarten. She’s 2. 

I knew my children were above average, but I didn’t know until I read what the schools expect of children by grade just how much they had learned almost completely on their own.  What do you do with kids like that?

At this rate I would have to dumb down my children for public school.

 I’m not sure I’m cut out for homeschooling, but I absolutely don’t think my kids are cut out for public schools. So it’s either expensive private or me.

Schooling options I looked into:

  • Maria Montessori – I really can get behind all of her ideas. The child explores and learns at his pace, but there are not many Montessori schools close by.
  • Charter Schools- The charter schools here are really not much different than public by way of education although they do have language immersion.
  • Preschool -The preschools around here are day cares at best.
  • Unschooling- I get it, but I’m not sure the government does. That scares me.

And then I found Rudolf Steiner.

Not too long ago there was a small chance we could move to Switzerland. When I began learning their education system I was flabbergasted. They did not believe in any structured learning until 7. And then at a slow pace according to the child. Yet they have one of the best education systems in the world.  I was to discover they used many of Steiner’s ideas. Here in the states it’s referred to as a Waldorf education. In the rest of the world it’s called Steiner.

The basics to a Waldorf Education as I understand it are this…

  • Children should be given only simple toys that inspire imagination.
  • They should not have access to any electronics.
  • They should spend a large amount of time in nature.
  • Conventional education should not start until 7.
  • All learning experiences should fall within the seasons.
  • Education should be as experiential as possible.
  • Morality should be taught with positive stories, not as rules.
  • Creative arts are essential.

I’m sure I’m simplifying it, I still have a lot more research to do.

I am an adult who still has memories of playing with fairies. As a child I would walk into the woods and look around to make sure I couldn’t see anything but trees and then I would play.  I even remember being irritated there was a jet stream in the sky. This idea of nature and imagination being the absolute basis for everything else speaks to me. I am constantly learning and I will never stop having the desire to know more. Is this because I spent the majority of my childhood immersed in fantasy and nature?

The concerns

There’s no text books, or lesson plans I can buy. It’s a methodology left up to the teacher. Me. And well….can I do it? You’ve seen my grammar and don’t even allow me to teach Algebra.

Also, I’ll admit it. I relish the idea of having the house to myself for a few hours. Homeschooling Mommies don’t get that. 

I would have to completely change my children’s lives. I would need to get rid of half their toys and take away their tv. No more playin with Mommy’s phone, which is a God send when I’m grocery shopping.

My greatest fear…

I’ve already ruined them when it comes to seeing simple beauty. They watch too much tv, have way too much plastic crap and spend too much time indoors.

So I tried a little experiment. I took them outside for a treasure hunt. I gave them no instructions other than to find as many treasures as they can. I should mention this is the first day we’ve had nice weather. The snow is melting and in our back yard are untold numbers of broken toys that didn’t get picked up and trash that as blown in with the storms and been buried under the snow.

When my children began to bring their treasures to me and sort them, I cried. I cried with complete relief that my children were still in love with the Earth and I cried with guilt that I had not encouraged it more.  This is what they brought me.

IMG_1357

My children think that a pile of snow(melted), seeds, rocks and leaves are treasures. I haven’ t ruined them. Hallelujah! It also proves that there is no toy, be it educational or pretty, that competes with good old fashioned bobbles of nature.

“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent” ~ Ghandi

If you are reading this and are a homeschooler, please, I beg you, share. I was not homeschooled, I do not know a single person who was homeschooled or any homeschooling families. I would relish anything you have to offer.

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17 thoughts on “To Homeschool or Not?

  1. Hi – Rather than try to write everything here, it may be easier to have a quick look on my blog (not a push for it, just that I am lazy).
    I was Steiner schooled in Australia until about 8-9. When I look back on my schooling, it absolutely stands out as some of my most formative years and is probably a large part of the reason we are currently unschooling our son (not in a radical fashion, probably more just leaning towards ‘guided self-directed learning’ if there is such a beast).
    We had the same issues with our son when he went to school as he was well in front of where he ‘should’ have been – he adjusted and he and we just got used to the idea that he would never really learn much in school. Then we found a tiny school (170 pupils across Kindy to Yr6) and things got much better – The principal and every teacher knew every student and treated them all with love and respect – like a big family.
    So, I guess there is no generic advice possible as it depends on your exact circumstances, but at this stage of things we are very very glad that we are homeschooling, but also none of us regret that he has seen the inside of standard education as it means that he has picked up some social norming (not always a bad thing) and is also now very grateful to no-longer be a part of the system. All the best with whatever you decide.

  2. It is wonderful to read that your Steiner education was a positive moment in your life. It sounds like you and your son have seen both sides of the learning experience. I am hopping over to your blog now. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

    • All I could think after reading about your time in Africa was God bless you for going and God bless you for having the courage to take your children. I can’t imagine having the fortitude to do such a thing. I’m curious if you really did have the culture shock when you came home. Did you purge?

      • I always materially purge after we come back from a trip. Funny though that I have finally come to acceptance of material possessions. They are not bad in themselves, actually often useful, but we may not always need to keep them forever, or could buy them second-hand. Ultimately Kenya taught me to be thankful for what I have–to really take in all the little good things that our culture has…public clean water, easily accessible food, house heat, accessible healthcare. We, every single one of us, are wealthy this part of the world.
        We’ll be heading to Ghana this October.
        Oh, and btw, it was so much more difficult than i thought, but REALLY worth doing. Carpe diem!

  3. I have ten children still at home, and, after five years of homeschooling, we’ve recently transitioned to unschooling. It’s amazing, but it can be scary because of state regulations. I’ve actually written several posts on how we’re dealing with this- in a nutshell, detailed logs and lots of pictures because they do so many hands-on projects. We tried school at home and eclectic homeschooling, but the children are learning more now than ever. I do miss doing unit studies with them, but I honestly think I enjoyed them more than the kids!

  4. You’ve captured one of my concerns. How to let my children lead, while making sure everything looks good on paper. Another reason I will be pouring over your blog. I can not thank you enough for stopping by. 11 children…I can imagine you have a host of information for this newbie Mom. Bless you for sharing.

  5. Homeschooling is soooo flexible! I LOVE having my kids home with me and interacting with them all day long. I love the freedom to delve into all sorts of child-led explorations. I love the enormous amount of homeschool curriculums out there that allow you to fit the education to your child, rather than squeeze them into a set education. I love the hands-on materials and ideas available, and the unit studies and zillions of other things. I love that the kids don’t have to be molded into a specific age-graded idea of what to learn, but can go at their own pace, whether that be to zoom several grade levels ahead in some subjects or to even be behind peers for a while in other subjects. My advice: GO FOR IT!! You have everything to gain, and so do they. 😀

    • I am 99% sure this is what is going to happen. For every reason you listed above and so many more. Thank you for visiting and commenting. It’s always so nice to read that other homeschooling Mommies are getting it done and loving it.

  6. We love homeschool. I went through private education and my husband, public. Both of us agree that we’d not want our children learning any other way (after sending both to private school for 2 years). Learning at their own pace with one on one instruction is also invaluable. You may also take a look at The Well-Trained Mind or a classically-based method. We are using it and love it.

    • I will absolutely look into that. I have seen it mentioned in many places, but honestly wasn’t sure a “classically-based” method was what Interested me. Having written that, I need to admit I haven’t done enough research to have an informed answer. As someone who’s used it and love it, thank you for stopping by and adding something else to chew on. You mentioned your kiddos learn at their own pace and that is definitely one of my priorities.

  7. I wasn’t familiar with it until about a year ago. Once I read some of it, I knew it would be something my kids would thrive while using. Every kid is different and different things work for different families. You are ovviously well researched and giving this much thought. You will do just fine!

    • Thank you! Research is my way of combating fear. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it just makes me a blathering idiot. This time, the more I learn the better I feel. So thanks again.

  8. Research can indeed help alleviate your fears, but there is no getting around it—homeschooling is scary sometimes! The fear of ruining our children’s lives is ever present. I now have one graduating this year and know that it can really be done. She is a delightful human being, and has been accepted to the college she desired. All in spite of my failings!

    I am more eclectic in approach. Academically, it has not been easy as two (maybe three) of my four kids have language based learning issues. Homeschooling has enabled us to deal with those issues in ways that do not deflate their self-worth. Rather, we can foster their offsetting strengths while finding ways to work around the difficulties. It’s been a hard road at times, but is beautiful to see these amazing people flourish in their God-given bents. (Without the pressure of conformity, they are free to be themselves.)

    Another positive for the homeschooling front is that the family relationships we have are incredibly strong. The mutual love, respect, and companionship we all share is a rarity. Not having time away from my kids no longer bothers me—they are my favorite people to be around! It takes time to get to this place of harmony, but it absolutely can be done.

    I could go on and on, but I will end with this: if YOU are willing to grow and learn and change, then go for it! Homeschooling will grow you up far more than your kids. The only people I know who did not enjoy homeschooling were those who were unable to bend and flex with the varying needs of their kids. If you can do that, you can experience a unique and beautiful facet of motherhood that is indescribable.

    Grace and peace to you as you decide your path!

    • Thank you for taking the time to write out such a thoughtful comment. Your paragraph about family connection really hit me hard. I do want to find that place where my relationship with my girls is more about mutual respect than simply parent and child. It sounds like you’ve found that with homeschooling and it gives me hope someday I will experience that as well. Again thank you for the feedback, perhaps to some homeschooling Mothers this seems obvious, but it is a positive I hadn’t thought of.

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