I hear a lot of parents whose children are either in public school or just turning home school age that they don’t know how to start home school. Usually it’s coupled with a panic in their voice, or a distressed and overwhelmed look on their face. It makes me sad that the thought of educating one’s child causes so much stress in so many parents. While I can’t really tell you how to start home schooling *your own* children, I can tell you how *we* started.
But first I should start with the WHY:
Before my husband and I were even married, when we were just silly kids in love, talking about our future, and when we would be married, and if we were going to have kids, and what we were going to do with our kids, we considered home schooling an actual option. My husband was home schooled in high school. But not in the way you’re thinking. He was enrolled in some correspondence school, and from what he tells me there was little studying going on with him. That didn’t stop him from learning. He just pursued his own interests. He was very much in to computer programming. As a teen, he knew logarithms and algorithms like he knew his alphabet. He studied physical science because he wanted to. (weird, right?)
I went to public school all the way through high school. I loved it. I was in honors classes and I loved Algebra and English both. I had good friends who were home schooled that I had met at church. Very good friends. One of them is a Scientist at a local college back home who has been on so many missions trips and is involved in great ministries in her church, and the other is a Nurse who has looked to the Lord for guidance and just in the past few years got married and started her family. I look up to both of those beautiful women and I am so much in awe of the things they’ve accomplished in their lives.
Even though I had studied Early Childhood Development I college, my husband and I decided to put Peanut in preschool at the local private school- more for (haha I can’t believe I’m admitting this) socialization- than anything. She entered preschool with a good attitude and honestly enjoyed going. We wanted her to be in situations where she could choose her own friends and learn independence.
We sent Peanut to preschool for two years. It cost a lot of money. Public school was not an option for our family, just based on the decisions we had made before we were even married. So, private school it was.
My husband and I still hadn’t completely decided what we were going to do with schooling at the time. Homeschooling was always an “option” but not set in stone. We were happy with the school, it was a nice, Christian environment, and had good people running it. (It still does, by the way!) We even were looking at how I would make it work to pay for tuition through high school- with lots of nail-biting, I assure you!
I still remember the day Peanut came home from preschool, and at just four years old asked the question that would change her educational fate. I asked her how her day was and she said, “Good.” Then I asked her what she learned that day, and I remember her EXACT words:
“Mom, we learned about the letter Q today, but I already know the letter Q. I know how to read. When I go to Kindergarten next year, can you teach me after school so I can actually learn something?”
I stood there in a bit of stunned silence for a few seconds, my daughter hanging up her coat and looking at me with such an honest expression. My response was, “No, if I’m going to teach you, I’m going to be your teacher and you can do school at home.” She looked thrilled.
As the years pass, my reasons for why we home school change:
- I want to be with my children.
- I want to watch them grow.
- I want them to spend time with their siblings.
- I want to have time to instill Biblical truths in them.
- I want them to know the most important things in life center around family.
- I want them to learn how to keep a home.
- I want to be the one deciding what is worthwhile knowledge for my children
I’m sure in the next few years, that list with grow and grow and grow. But these are the reasons why we home school. I’m sure your reasons are very different. They may also be similar in some ways.
Stay tuned for part two: HOW we started homeschooling.