We never even considered homeschool. We went through the public school system (K-12) followed by college. It was a no brainer that we’d do the same with our children. We sacrificed a lot to save up enough money to live in a really good school district. We even started talking about how all the kids would be in full time school really soon. It got us excited for jump starting our careers, going on day dates and having lots more alone time…for free (well, there are taxes, but you pay those whether you send your kids to school or not)!
We’ve been sending Liam to preschool, part-time, since he was 2 years old. He always fought against it and it was a struggle to keep him enthusiastic about even getting in the car to go to school. It was only at the end of 4K that he was excited about going back, which made us so happy! Fast forward through about a month of summer vacation and he was dreading it again. His mood would always turn sour when we talked about going back to school. And we tried sending Hayden to a 2K class last year, but we pulled him out after 3 weeks because he did not do well. It was a constant upset-fest.
From the moment I started sending Liam and Hayden to preschool, I felt guilty. I missed them! Even though it was just a couple hours a few days per week, it was full of moments I missed! I know we all need time away from one another, but as the mom of such little ones, I don’t want to miss even the smallest moment. My boys were not vocal about their daily schooling experience, which left me wondering how their day actually went. Did they have a good day or bad day? Did they eat or get enough to drink? Were their friends nice to them? Were they nice to their friends? Did they struggle? Did they have a wonderful time? Did they smile or cry? I. Didn’t. Know.
All I know is how much I was dreading another year of not knowing how their day went, motivating them to be excited about leaving mama, the million germs they would bring home, the constant carpool and the party planning (I always ended up filling a room mom vacancy…haha!) and group gift organizing.
About a month ago, I took the boys to private swim lessons. Hayden didn’t want anything to do with the teacher. So after two days of constant screaming and crying, I got in the pool with him. The teacher instructed me how to teach him to swim and he thrived! By the third day of being in the pool with me, he was jumping off the side and swimming to me! It made my heart so happy. Liam was old enough to be okay with the instructor but VERY apprehensive. The first day he did great, but as the days progressed, he regressed. By the fifth day, he wouldn’t even get his toes wet. Since the swim lessons, I’m still trying to get Liam to touch water. He was such a water baby all summer at the beach, but now the thought of getting water on him terrifies him. I sometimes wonder, had I stepped in and taught him to swim, if he would be like Hayden now.
After the swim lesson debacle, I was talking to a friend of ours while one of his sons played with Liam. They homeschool their children and we randomly started talking about it. I was so curious. The kids that I encountered growing up were homeschooled because:
- They had been expelled from school.
- They had some illness that kept them out of school.
- They lived somewhat isolated.
However, watching my friend’s son play and even begin teaching Liam all about tools and allowing him to independently try the tools out, I got so excited. You could see a light open in Liam’s eyes and I was blown away by the kindness and knowledge that my friend’s child exuded.
That night, I started reading. After having about 39 tabs open in Chrome, I brought the thought of homeschooling to Logan. We spent the next week exhaustively talking it through, reading, quizzing our friends who homeschooled and thinking about it. The organized type-A maniac that I am, I began making pro/con lists and working it all out in my brain, trying to imagine what a day, month, year(s) would look like if we were a homeschooling family.
What sacrifices were we going to make? What benefits would we see? How would it affect our family? Would the children thrive? What’s best for them? What’s best for our family? A million questions. A million, I tell you!
From what I read, starting homeschool early in our children’s lives is best. We can establish a routine, teach them young and the curriculum in the early years is pretty basic and fun. It’s kindergarten and 2K, after all!
Fast forward two weeks, on a Saturday morning before the kids got up, and Logan and I were applying for an accountability group membership (required by our state if you are homeschooling). It’s official! We’re homeschooling!
We decided that this would be our trial year. Liam will be in 5K, Hayden in 2K and Blaire is in baby school (she’s 6 months old). We’re still located in a very good public school district, so we always have the option of sending the kids there if this doesn’t work out. But, we’re hopeful!
I started looking into how to be a minimalist homeschool, as that is very much how we structure our household and try to live our lives. We read this really great book and this is what I learned about myself and how we’ll teach our children in the process:
Our (home)schooling values:
- We want to teach our children to want to learn and how to learn.
- We want more family time.
- We want our children to discover what they love and pursue it. That way, their job is their passion and never feels like a job. Getting paid to do what you love is the greatest job in the world!
- We want our children to feel prepared and equipped to go out into the real world. Not just memorizing things for a test, but rather how to find the knowledge and apply it.
- We would love our children to be kind, loving, generous, well rounded and knowledgeable people.
I’m not going to lie, I’m quite nervous about the whole thing. It’s going to take some time to get used to our new lifestyle, but I think we’ve made progress towards this goal before we even thought about homeschooling (getting rid of our television, removing all brain numbing apps from our iPad, spending more quality time together as a family, etc.). I’ll share my process for making our curriculum for the year, what books we’re looking forward to using, field trip ideas in the Charleston area and even how to keep track of it all!
Do you homeschool? Have you ever considered homeschooling? Have any tips or recommendations for us? Want to just wish me luck? Haha!
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