There are many things my family does that other people think are strange or even insane – not vaccinating, birthing my babies at home, making my own yogurt, buying beef by the quarter steer, and feeding my children liver and sauerkraut make the top of the list.
In these matters, I feel confident about the most logical choices for us. In other realms, however, I am sure that we are absolutely insane, yet we stand by our decisions.
Marrying my husband was one of those insane decisions. On paper – completely nuts. We had known each other only a short eight months before tying the knot – two of those as friends, and the rest spent in a whirlwind courtship that included him arriving from the U.K. for a job, me studying and testing for my acupuncture board exams, and a late-twenty-something last hurrah of parties and surfing.
Despite all this, when we sat down one day over lunch, we knew that we needed to get married. Thanks to immigration and a change with his corporate job, we had a five-week engagement before our perfect beach wedding. Our first year (or two) of marriage was a roller coaster ride as we got to know one another and ourselves as husband and wife, but since the very beginning we were completely sure that we were meant to be together. Through all of the chaos, that knowledge remained constant.
Fast forward to today, and our most recent insane decision: choosing to homeschool our first grader.
If you've been reading this blog, you've probably picked up on the fact that I am busy. Between writing and seeing patients, I manage to make real food, and spend time with my family. Meanwhile my husband masterfully excels at his day job while being Super Dad on the side. A delicate balance, but it mostly works for us as long as there are not too many wrenches thrown in the works.
How will we have time to homeschool?
Well, that's a great question and one that I have not completely answered myself.
From our experience so far and from talking with others, the amount of ‘school' time is much shorter at home, because we eliminate time spent driving to and fro, lining up, waiting your turn, doing busy work, etc. All-in-all, we manage to get most of our ‘work' done in a few hours spread through the morning with lots of reading in the evening.
Time that would have been spent doing school homework is now freed up for after school activities, socializing, or exploring interests.
Why are we choosing to homeschool – have we lost our minds?
There are many reasons why we've made this decision. One of them being possible insanity. Here are a few others…
We want a better education for our children
We believe we can provide our kids with a more well-rounded, more profound, and more personalized education than the public school system can. Though my son was only in kindergarten last year, we are quite certain he didn't learn much (including the months of the year or how to spell his last name), despite that fact he had a wonderful, caring teacher and was a top student.
We don't want our time dictated for us
This goes for the mad rush to get to school in the morning, the hurry-up-and-wait of afterschool pick up, or time spent completing meaningless homework.
We don't live inside the box
We don't agree with what the USDA suggests that we eat, we don't agree with the FDA's way of regulating food, and we don't subscribe to the recommendations of the CDC for drugs to put in our bodies. As such, we are a bit suspicious that the education and testing standards of the public school system may not be in line with our ways of living, either.
My husband and I both can carve out time in our busy lives for perhaps the most important job of all – educating our children. As a business owner, I make my own hours and can adjust accordingly. My husband has his evenings.
As for the idea that parents don't know enough to teach their kids, I frankly disagree. Besides, if you're an involved parent, chances are you're already teaching your kids as you help them with homework and explain how the world works.
We are not worried about socialization
One of the biggest concerns raised by non-homeschoolers is a non-issue unless you live on an isolated farm or otherwise don't see other people regularly. Since my son has made great friends in our community and stays involved with local activities, socialization is not a concern. Plus, I'm personally not convinced that the type of socializing school provides is particularly healthy anyway.
We want a more meaningful relationship with our kids
This is really the clincher for me. I have mostly sent my son to school to get him out of the house. I would drop him off at preschool and practically run away with joy to have time to myself and away from the struggle of parenting. I had considered homeschooling, but couldn't imagine spending that much time with him.
Awful, I know. Call me a bad mom if you will, but our relationship has always been challenging, even since birth.
Even in a few short days of homeschooling, our relationship is already starting to shift, grow, and just make more sense. Don't get me wrong, sitting down to do letters or math can sometimes be a struggle of wills, but a new level of respect is beginning to blossom between us. We go for long walks and talk. We have the time to be together and learn together. I feel my heart opening in a way I never thought possible.
This above all else is why we are choosing to homeschool.
Why do YOU (or would you) choose to homeschool your kids?
P.S. Here's an update on our homeschooling journey.