How we became a homeschooling family . . .
Years ago, when our oldest was not yet of school age, I found myself admiring the few homeschooling families that we knew. Their kids usually seemed very well adjusted and confident, and the families as a whole seemed to be strong and close.
At the time, as much as I loved him, I was so looking forward to sending my very busy and talkative son to school! I even remember saying "I hope God never convicts me to homeschool!" more than once because I really didn't think I wanted to do it, or would be able to do it.
After sending Noah to public school for kindergarten, and then Christian school for 1st grade, we still weren't satisfied with either situation. There were plenty of positive things and great teachers at both schools, but still, neither felt right to us. For Noah personally, school was lots of fun and he loved being with friends, but it was also over-stimulating for him and he came home wired and bouncing off the walls. He had used up all of his "good" at school, and at home, we had to deal with his "leftovers".
I was also dealing with some chronic health problems at the time. I didn't think there was any way I would physically be able to homeschool Noah. But after praying about it, and seeking out other options, which resulted in closed doors, Rashed and I began to feel strongly that God was convicting us to do just that - begin homeschooling.
We started in the fall of 2002, when Noah was in 2nd grade, and Isaac was 3 1/2. I still remember our first day clearly. Everything was great! It was new and exciting; Noah and I both enjoyed our day and I thought "Yes! I can do this!" And then came the second day. Noah didn't want to do anything, he didn't like any of his books, I had to give him a thousand time-outs, Isaac kept interrupting us . . . It was an awful day; nothing went right!
But we stuck with it. We had the usual ups and downs of adjusting - figuring out that some of the curriculum I had picked out wasn't going to work for us, organizing things for Isaac to play with while Noah and I worked on school, finding a routine and time schedule that we could all live with. We eventually got into our groove, and found that we really like homeschooling.
Since then, we've been homeschooling - with the exception of a 1 1/2 year time period in 2005 and 2006 when Noah and Isaac went to public school during a particularly stressful time in our lives. Even now, there are days when I sure wish I had the house to myself, or when none of us feel like "doing school", but overall, we love homeschooling. We've learned that homeschooling is exceedingly more than just a schooling choice. It's become a way of life, where we are more connected as a family than we would be if the boys were gone most of the day and spent more time with friends than with brothers.
In many ways, we didn't really know what we were truly getting into when we began homeschooling. But now, we can see so many benefits of it, of which academics are only a part.
We've found that homeschooling allows the parents and the family to be the major influence upon a child's development, not teachers and peers.
We've found that learning is more enjoyable when you can tailor your curriculum to better meet both the parent's and the childrens' needs, interests, and learning styles, and move at a child's own pace.
We've found that having freedom from a school schedule and homework allows more time to enjoy hobbies and personal interests.
We've found that homeschooling enables children to have a better opportunity to grow into the person that God has designed them to be. It's a privilege to watch my boys discover who they are, and figure out what gifts and talents God has given them. And that alone is worth all the hard work.
I'll write more another time about HOW we homeschool - what a typical day looks like and what books/curriculum we like.