The One Where She Rambles On About Homeschooling



Years ago I accepted a job teaching English at a small community college. Sadly, the very week I accepted the job was the very week the man came home and said we were moving to San Antonio. Sigh...so close. One of the things I was required to submit during the interview process was a teaching philosophy. Gulp. I had been an at-home mommy for several years at this point; which, for those who've never tried this, basically means I no longer spoke in complete sentences, and still referred to horses as horsies.

Still do, in fact. Does it ever go away?

So, now that we're homeschooling I thought it might be good to come up with our own family teaching philosophy, ya know, something that outlines what we're doing, and why. I imagine it'll change over time...as we slowly evolve and morph into, well, whatever we're evolving and morphing into.

Deep down I always knew we'd end up here. I had an aunt tell me shortly after my first daughter was born that I should consider homeschooling, her regrets not being able to do it, and why she thought I'd be a good candidate. I gave it alot of thought and decided I would at least try public school for a few years, knowing in the back of my mind I would reach the homeschooling decision eventually. I wanted and enjoyed the break preschool and public school provided, and always thought I would need that time to develop a career, write a book, learn to quilt...or just take naps. Ha! Silly me.

In The Well Trained Mind, Jesse Wise talks about seeing life in chapters: "Personally, I decided to put on hold some of my goals. I wanted to write. I wanted to make hand braided rugs. [But] I held on to the wise council given me when my children were toddlers: "Live your life in chapters. You don't have to do everything you want to do in life during this chapter of rearing children."

I like this view. It doesn't mean you can't do it all, but it does help take the pressure off when it starts to get overwhelming to try. Those things are there and will still be there when it's time. These few years with the kids home will be gone before I know it and I don't want to miss it. There's no career, or traveling, or time away that's worth that to me. Doesn't mean I don't need time to myself. Goodness, no one loves their solitude more than me, Trust Me. I loves my down time...I love having the house to myself for a few hours (or days). I love the stillness and quiet after the kids are asleep. I need it. But I don't need the kids to be gone seven hours a day to get it.

So, here are the top 10 15 reasons why I've chosen to lock my kids in the closet educate my kids at home, sooner instead of later.

1. I like hanging out with my kids. I enjoy their company. They make me laugh. We get along pretty well, most days, and have learned over the years how to make each other just a little crazy, but not so much that I feel the need to send their sleepy heads away at 7am every day. I'm giving them what I didn't have and longed for as a child: my time - and for as long as they need it.


2. I'm not a morning person. There, I've said it. I dropped so many college classes that started at 8am it's not even funny. Oh, I've had lots of jobs that required me to get up early. When I was in nursing school I had to be downtown in the Houston medical center on the floor ready for rounds by 6:30am. But by golly when I got my license and was given a choice, you can bet I chose the 11-3, 3-11 shifts, and even the nite shifts on occasion. Most of my post college jobs required me to be at work at 9am. I opened my children's store at 10am. I feel those times are a fair compromise. But getting squirmy little kids to school by 7:30am (which means they have to be fed and dressed before then?)...forget it! We lived a 1/4 mile from school and yet our tardy slips continuosly piled up. At some point you just have to accept defeat.


3. And besides, they're kids! Yes, they need to be up doing chores, being accountable and independent and self-sufficient (let's face it life is more than video games and TV and endless entertainment - at some point that reality has to sink in); and learning how to do laundry and make their own lunches, to sew or garden or tend to animals or mow or rake is a part of educating children. But they still need time to play. To use their own imaginations and just play.

"It's a miracle that curiosity survives formal education." -Einstein

4. The Rush. When we were in public school I grew tired of hearing myself say, "Hurry up!" We were constantly rushing. Rushing to school, rushing thru homework, rushing to an afterschool program, rushing to bed, rushing thru meals. In school they rush, too. They rush thru lunch, thru lessons, thru recess. It's not the teachers' fault. They're rushed, too. They have to rush the kids to learn material for testing, to ease the parents, to satisfy the system's requirements. And all that rushing makes life One Big Blur. It's a mess. After 5 years of it, we were a mess.

5. Homework. In particular, math homework. I've come to believe homework isn't good for the soul.



6. And on that end, neither are tests and grading. Yes, testing gives you an idea where kids are at, which areas need more work, etc. But to (even inadvertently) teach a child that the purpose of learning is to get high scores ensures that the child is learning that thinking isn't valued as much as getting the right answer. And standardized tests narrow the curriculum to what is being tested. I watched my daughter go from a confident, intelligent, eager kindergartener, to a crying, stressed out, anxious 4th grader scolding herself constantly for not getting good grades in math, stressing over the standardized tests, and endlessly frustrated for not being on the same level as her friends. And they can't escape the labeling...they're either slow, gifted...or average. Gimme a break. How many of us really believe that a child's intelligence, achievement, and competence can be represented adequately by standardized tests or grades?

And don't get me started on the award ceremonies at the end of every school year. I actually heard a teacher announce once who she thought should win 'cutest dress' award in front of the entire 3rd grade class. Really? Cutest Dress?


"Dumbing us down..." -John Taylor Gatto

7. Those words solidified my decision to homeschool. I don't know about you, but oh, the flashbacks that brought up from my years in the public school system. If you read the history of how public school came about it's rather interesting, particularly the part about Americans rebelling and refusing to send their kids. We basically started as a nation who fought to keep our kids out of public school. I also like this quote from a fellow blogger (and homeschool mom) over at Beauty that Moves:

"seeing as we are the richest nation in the world, and not one industrialized society is impressed or inspired by our educational system... I don't know... isn't it possible that a system carefully crafted to produce poor results and undereducated people could ensure a corporate government's need for an oppressed society? Can you imagine the threat of an ultra intelligent, free thinking nation? Yowza.

I just can't wrap my brain around sending kids away for the better part of the day to be raised/taught by an institution that seems hell-bent on keeping us under thumb.

8. Socialization. The family kind. The natural kind. The kind that involves a variety of ages, including adults and grandparents, rather than just same-aged peers. As Jesse Wise explains,

"Our culture seems to be obsessed with same age socialization, and that is because the majority of children spend the majority of their time in institutional schooling. They are forced to be with their own age group. This socialization is unnatural and never occurs again for the rest of a person’s life."



9. So we can work at our own pace (and in a less stimulating environment), choose our own field trips, study history in chronological order, and design our own science labs.


"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." - Einstein

10. To be able to travel at times other than just summer or winter break.


11. To be able to move to the country, or to a new city, and not have to worry about schools or districts or bus routes.

12. To not have to pack lunches every morning. Or worry about what the kids are (or are not) eating at school. Not to mention the noisy cafeteria.

13. To be free from school-related bullying or teasing, and to remove the pressure to rely on potentially unstable peer groups for feedback and guidance.

14. So we can take our books and a picnic lunch on a hike thru a gypsy meadow on a pretty spring day, and sit under a tree and study any topic we want for as long as we want...on a school day...in our pajamas...if we so desire.



15. In short...to be free.



*you can find more of our homeschooling adventures here!

22 comments:

  1. I loved this, Stacey! Keep up the great job you are doing with your girls!

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  2. Thanks, Kristi. Your journey homeschooling Bryan is such an inspiration to me. I'm so glad there are women like you out there leading the way!

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  3. Beautiful...now I know why home-schooling so fits you, you teacher, you! What a great life you have. And how great this is for the girls.

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  4. Beautiful blog and photos!

    Do you follow the classical education model? Is there a specific curriculum you use?

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  5. love it!

    I'm especially thankful for the living life as chapters quote. I have three young children and it's really easy to get caught up in everything I can't do right now.

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  6. I love your post because it echoes my own reasons for wanting to homeschool! And I so agree with living life in chapters. I really need to remember that. Thank you.

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  7. I just stumbled upon your blog...who knows how, but your post was WONDERFUL!!! I have never found someone who has the same exact reasons as we do for homeschooling!!! Our tardy slips were piling up as well and we graciously waved the white flag. We began homeschooling our 2 daughters this year. They are in 4th and 2nd grade and we LOVE being free!!!! GREAT POST!!!!!

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  8. I love this! Our story is so similar and it's nice to hear from others who have left public school to homeschool. I'm still dealing with the guilt of not being a morning person ;)

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  9. What an awesome post! We homeschool for a lot of the same reasons. I tell people that math homework drove me to it and I'm not kidding!

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  10. Love this. LOVE it. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. I love it, all the same reasons I'm considering homeschooling my daughter next year.

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  12. Linked over from Simple Homeschool to say "YES!" to freedom and "YES!" to spending time with my kids.

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  13. Love this! We're wrapping up our first year of homeschooling (Kindergarten) and preparing for next year...and the "worries" are pouring in from family members. Thank you for the reminder of why we do this, and that it WILL work :)

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  14. Hello, found you via SteadyMom. As a mom of toddlers who is researching homeschooling - I found this post very inspiring!

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  15. I was home schooled from age 8 (I never have gotten used to speaking in terms of "grades"), and your reasons resonate with why my family chose to home school. Thank you for sharing moments from this beautiful lifestyle; I hope you have many, many more picnics in a gypsy meadow and plenty of time to embrace each gift as it comes.

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  16. So perfect, I love this list. I have to laugh at the "not a morning person" one, I think that is one of my secret reasons too.

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  17. I love love love love love love love this post!!! I am going to bookmark this and read it often.

    I am starting to homeschool my first child in the Fall (for Kindergarten). I am very excited and confident its the right decision, but I am so nervous!! This really encouraged me. Thank you!

    i especially loved you admitted not being a morning person. I always felt dumb that one of my top five reasons to homeschool is to not have to up and at 'em super early! I feel validated :).

    Thank you for writing this. I loved it!!!

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  18. LOVE every one of your reasons! I'll be new to homeschooling in a few months and I can relate to SO many of the reasons on your list. I especially hate the morning rush...thank goodness, no more!

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  19. this so makes me want to homeschool. very inspiring!!

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  20. Love this post. We just started back homeschooling our boys (2nd and K) and also have a 2 year old girl whom I want to not have to be in a PS classroom in these wonderful years. Since I pulled my boys out so late in the year I chose to go with a virtual school to finish the year but have already found that it's not what I want for next year. We are still having to be on someone else's schedule. And that's definitely not what I want for my family. Thanks for putting this up.

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