Starting Homeschool

As many of you know, we decided that we’d homeschool our kids starting this year. All five of them! Yes, we’re crazy – but this decision came after several years of looking into things, considering all the pros and cons, and making our own lives and jobs work so that we could do this. We’re two months in, and so far things are going fine. There’s still many bumps to figure out and adjustments to be made, but we’re learning and growing together, and will probably tweak things all along the way. If you’re unsure about Starting Homeschool, here’s some reasons WHY we made this choice!

First of all, I’ll be honest and say that one of my kids we’re only homeschooling because we moved far enough away from his school that we couldn’t make the drive there/back work. It was an AMAZING school (one of my girls was there 4th-6th grade, and that’s as high as they go so she finished it as well), dual language, very arts, creativity and STEAM focused. We loved it, and if we lived close enough he would still be able to go there – but sadly, it’s a minimum of 25 minute drive each way, which just couldn’t be worked out. So if you’re at an INCREDIBLE school that you love, homeschooling may not be for you.

For the kids not at that school, we’re starting homeschooling mainly for the following reasons:

  • More flexible schedule – for the family, learning, vacations, activities/extracurricular, etc.
  • Learn at their own pace – some need more help in certain subjects, but a classroom can’t just stop for one child (now WE can)
  • Catch up or go ahead – some of my kids need to catch up in some topics, while some are flying ahead and really meeting their potential
  • We control what/how they learn – no more worries of whether we agree with certain views, or how topics are addressed by others besides us
  • More hands-on learning opportunities – such as field trips of our choice (and more time to do them), etc.

There’s other reasons, of course, but these were the largest. Last year, one of my kids’ teachers said that she had finished that year’s math already so she had handed her the math book for the next year to work on ahead. School just couldn’t keep up with HER actual learning pace, same with another one of my kids. They needed more challenge, and the ability to move forward instead of sitting waiting for a classroom to catch up. And the reverse, some kids need MORE help or to go slower in certain subjects – but again, you have to go by the classroom speed. Homeschooling gives us the freedom to give extra help, or allow faster progress, as each child needs it.

Now, while there’s plenty of beneficial things to homeschooling (otherwise we wouldn’t have chosen this option), there’s also some cons. It’s extremely difficult fitting my own work into the schedule when I’m assisting kids all day, or just having them home instead of getting to focus on my to-do list. I’ve had to cut back some, and it’s a constant tug-of-war with priorities. The kids and I do frustrate each other sometimes because we’re together ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. So while it’s great having that relationship building and time together, it’s not always roses.

There’s also costs – supplies, programs/educational material, etc. You have to put up with questions A LOT from people who think homeschooling isn’t the right choice. We have to be active to make sure they get OUT of the house and socialize with others enough – between church, friends and their extracurricular activities, though, so far there’s been zero worries on that front. It can also be frustrating when the kids see each other doing better or worse than them, and have to teach them it’s okay to be different so they don’t make it an awful competition.

Two months in, and still when people ask how it’s going my answer is usually “nobody’s died yet!” That sums it up in a nutshell – while we’re still thrilled with our decision and things are going great overall, there’s still the frustrating or overwhelming times, the moments we just want to have SPACE from each other, and the general tweaking and figuring things out we will probably be doing the entire time. So if you’re thinking of starting homeschool for your kiddos, definitely consider it strongly and make the best choice for YOUR family – but know that while there’s many benefits (I believe they outweigh the cons), there’s still going to be headaches. Nothing’s perfect, right?

Coming soon – what we did to actually START homeschooling! Legal stuff, organizing, etc.

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