Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today I am thankful for homeschooling...

Recently I have had many people ask me what made us decide to homeschool this year so I thought I would answer here in a post - so on those days when I am tearing my hair out and crying uncontrollably and thinking I am going to put N in the car and drive him right over to Crossroads - I can go back and read this post!! I want to point out that I am not against public or private education.  I have taught in both and N has attended a private school up until now and L is going to a local church school after labor day. All that to say I know homeschooling is not for every parent or for every child. What might be best for one family might not be for the next and you have to take it one year at a time!  This is just our story and what it looks like right now.  

First of all you see that adorable picture above - that priceless one - that is one of the reasons.  Not because my child thinks that I am the "best mom in the wrold" (world) or I am a "shooper (super) mom" but because of the quality time that I am getting to spend with him one on one.  Time that is fleeing!!!  He is growing so fast and I might be a super mom but I haven't figured out how to stop time - nor will I ever!!  We feel like while our kids are young - they do not need to be in school all day.  Learning doesn't just take place in a classroom - it takes place everywhere especially in the home.  And kids need time to be kids they need time to play and run around and explore - especially boys!!  This is one of the things I loved about N's school last year, Crossroads Christian School - there the students do not go all day everyday until 4th grade and even then Friday is a half day.  Schooling at home gives us the opportunity to work work work in the morning and then play til the heart is content and no homework in the evening.  And even after we are technically done with "school" work that doesn't mean they have quit learning for the day and we read at night.  Kids are sponges and they are taking in everything that is around them all times of the day and night!

Another reason we choose to homeschool this year - was because it offers great flexibility When we travel to get the girls hopefully in March we will be gone overseas for a little over two weeks.  I wanted to homeschool for the flexibility it provides.  We started toward the beginning of August and I will work through and not take some of the holidays that our local county takes that way I can bank some days while we are gone.  If we want to take a vacation in October we can.  It is just really flexible and I like.  It just so happened that one day this week E ran a fever and I was up all night and fortunately I didn't have to get up early the next morning and get ready to get out the door to school.  I was able to cuddle with E and take care of him and school was postponed a few hours - yet we still got it all done.  I also want to say though that we are pretty structured as well.  I believe you can be flexible but still have structure. We still have rules just like we had when we went to a traditional school building.

Another deciding factor was cost.  We are obviously trying to save so that played a part in our decision. Now you may say why didn't we just send him to public school?  Well we do not feel like that is where he needs to be.  He is in his most formative years right now and we are working on building character - the best place to build that is at home.   Now homeschooling can be costly but we chose to do the Georgia Cyber Academy which is an online charter school funded by the state.  Basically what that means is that I got all my curriculum and materials for free.  I have only bought a few things like pencils, crayons, colored pencils and a few notebooks - and actually my neighbor had some extra from her classroom and she donated a few items.  The curriculum they use is called K12 and so far I am very pleased.  It even uses some of the same supplements and readers that Crossroads uses.  Now I supplement some things and I added Bible - I just used what Crossroads does and made up some of my own with the help of the world wide web. (I found a kids bible reading plan!)

Homeschooling is a full time job and when I first started after a few days I thought - selfishly I will admit - my life was over.  My mornings like I used to know them no longer existed.  When was the laundry going to get done, the house cleaned, errands run, etc. etc.  I honestly felt like I was a teacher again - I just didn't have to dress up or drive to my place of work.  I was writing/organizing the lesson plans etc. doing all the same things I did when I went to work! But you know what - it has been ALL worth it!  I have gotten into a groove and my life is not over the house is not going to pot, the laundry is getting done, dinner is getting cooked and all is well.  Praise the Lord for grace - because my selfish self sure has needed it.

All that to say while all the reasons we have decided to homeschool are good (I think) - they really aren't the most important.  God gave me these children to love, protect, nurture and care for and during this season of our lives we felt led to teach Nathan at home.  So in obedience to what the Lord was calling us to do - we decided to teach Nathan at home this year.  Regardless of what method of education we use for our children  - it is our job to teach them and whether we do that at home or we partner with someone outside of the home at a school God gave them to us and we have to do whats best for them as the Lord leads us.  So thats our story for now. I don't know what the future holds but I know the One who holds the future.  

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