How and Why Did We Get Started Homeschooling?
As I start off this series, I realize there might be some readers who are fairly new to our blog. I thought I’d share how we got started homeschooling (and blogging about our adventures).
Homeschooling was on our radar even before we had kids. My older sister had kids before we did. They decided to homeschool their kids just about the time we had our son, LD. Also, my cousin homeschooled her three kids all the way through. Her kids were graduating from junior high and high school when our kids were infants. We heard stories about how strong her kids were academically, how thoughtful, polite and easy they were to talk to. We had a positive image of homeschooling and were excited by the possibilities.
We began reading every book we could get our hands on, which was a challenge because we lived in a remote town in the Australian Outback. At first, we didn’t call what we were doing “homeschooling.” We just played games, did a lot of scavenger hunts, read a lot of books, counted, played trucks, built Lego towers, went swimming and played and danced to music. It was just the fun, full-on life of busy parents.
As we read more and more books, we learned about many of the advantages of homeschooling. For example,
- We can find the learning methods, curriculum and learning style that suit our child/ren best.
- Homeschooling allows us to nurture and follow our kids’ unique learning needs
- We can customize the kids’ course of study.
- Our kids learn at their own pace.
- The kids can get more individual attention.
- Learning can be hands-on, fun, challenging, exciting and more!
- There is no “busy work” (or if I realize it is, I can cut it out.)
- There are more opportunities for self-directed study on chosen topics.
- We are able to take advantage of learning opportunities as they happen. We can slow down and delve into a topic in more depth. We can take advantage of local learning opportunities. We can join a co-op or learn from a mentor.
- We have the time and ability to create meaningful direct learning experiences rather than second-hand experience from books.
- We have the ability to nurture our kids’ unique talents
- We create our own schedule
- schooling around our family’s schedule
- schooling when the kids are at their best
- We have well rested kids. (My kids can sleep in.)
- We are able to take advantage of the weather.
- We are able to go on field trips outside the home.
- We can go on vacation when it suits the family.
- Homeschoolers often have more free-time. Homeschooling is often very efficient and families can get through their homeschool day more quickly than in a traditional school. We don’t have to deal with a long commute to school.
- Homeschoolers are more insulated from negative influences such as bullying, cliques, peer pressure and violence.
- Homeschool allows the kids mature at their own pace.
- We can address “big” issues when they are ready
- Homeschoolers often out-perform their schooled peers on standardized tests.
- Homeschoolers often talk of their close family relationships… We’re no exception.
- We have stability during challenging times (birth of a child, death in the family, medical issues, etc.)
- We get to share the every-day joys (and challenges!) of life.
So back to our story…
When my son was a baby/toddler I taught history as a DE (distance education) college instructor. I felt a lot of the pressure do an amazing job with my online lectures, facilitating discussions, grading and responding to students’ work. I spent long hours working, but once my daughter was born I decided to go on leave. The leave got longer and longer and I never returned. We were having too much fun at home together and soon I had three kids. (We are very fortunate that we were able to make this work financially.)
The turning point for us was when my son was pre-school age. Preschool is free over in Australia and everyone we knew sent their kids off… first for three-year-old kindy and then off to preschool. We felt pressure to send LD to preschool partly because my hands were full with a newborn and two year old, but mostly because everyone else was. We didn’t do it for academic reasons. LD had learned to read very early. Like most Australian preschools the one we sent LD to was play-based. We did it for “social” reasons since his little friends were now attending school. LD hated it. He still remembers running to the fence, jumping up and climbing over when my husband was dropping him off. He wanted to be home with us…. where we did lots of science experiments, games, read lots of books and so forth. We heard all the arguments about keeping him in preschool. (It will teach him independence (from us). It’s good for him. It get him ready for school. All kids go through this.) But his stress and tears didn’t feel right to us as parents. We pulled him out of preschool and never looked back.
By the time transition (kindergarten in Australia) came around, LD was way ahead academically… especially because the birthday cut-off meant that he would have been the oldest in his class. We just continued doing what we were doing… and blogging about it along the way. You can see some of our earliest posts by clicking on the Archives on the right sidebar: September 2009, October 2009…
Since there were very few homeschoolers in our town there in Central Australia, I found a lot of support and fulfillment by blogging about our homeschool days online. At that time, there were some amazing bloggers writing about their preschool & kindergarten experiences (like My Montessori Journey, Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler, Jill at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, Kylie at Our Worldwide Classroom, Melissa at Chasing Cheerios, Mari-Ann over at Counting Coconuts and others who had kids roughly the same ages as mine. Some of them still blog, others have stopped.). It meant that despite living in a remote location I felt like I was on a journey with other inspiring homeschoolers.
So that’s how our family got started…
You might be interested in the other posts in this series: Update: We have moved to homeschoolden.com
See you next time either here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page!Add a Comment