Homeschooling, distance learning, hybrid classrooms. All hot topics during these crazy times that parents are facing right now. This educational reality confronts parents with difficult decisions day in and day out. Right now, my daughter is one-year-old. However, my ties are still very close to the classroom. I mentor about 120 classroom teachers all facing the uncertain workload that awaits them this fall.
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The truth is, I’ve already made up my mind long before COVID-19 became a thing, long before my daughter started her first babblings, and long before I ever found out I was pregnant. In fact, homeschooling was one of my husband’s and I’s major premarital conversations as one of my no-compromise items. At first he was hesitant, like most people. His first thought was, but what if they turn out to be odd or weird. You know, like THAT homeschooler that’s just a bit or quite a bit out of touch with reality. We all know that homeschooler. I’ll touch on this later. The end of the story is that, we discussed. I stated my reasons. He expressed his concerns. I addressed those concerns, and now he is preaching homeschooling to every new parent he meets. Why? Here’s why.
A quick note about my personal experience
I am a certified 5-12 English teacher, and I’ve seen many different sides of education. I was personally homeschooled from K-8th grade, my husband went to a private school from K-12th grade. We’ve often gotten to swap stories and it is always interesting to see the difference in outcomes. I went to a public high school, I taught in a private K-12 school, and then in a public junior high. I attended a small private Christian college for my Bachelors degree and an online college for my Masters.
The common thing I saw in both the public and private school settings is that all teaching is taught to the C student. Even in the honors classes that I attended and taught, the C student was the main target for lessons and work. If classroom learning is designed to challenge a student, inevitably it will be too challenging for some and not enough for others.
With my personal experience in the wide varieties of educational settings, I have come to the conclusion that homeschooling, and I mean true homeschooling where the parent chooses and implements a curriculum essentially on their own, is the best way to ensure that my child’s educational experience is maximized. Plus, that allows me to be an active participant in her most formative years. All years that I will never get back.
Therefore, I am going to homeschool and here are six major reasons why.
1) It offers true parenting
They say iron sharpens iron. I don’t know about you, but just a quick glance around at the world, and I’m not willing to take any chances of putting someone who may not be the right type of iron in front of my kid. I love her too much! My belief is that each parent was destined to parent their specific child. It’s our life mission and legacy as mommies and daddies. With that being said, why would I want to send my children to spend most of their waking hours being influenced by someone else. Someone that I really don’t know and a whole bunch of other kids whose parents that I also don’t know? Because I value my influence on my children, I feel that I am just as qualified to take ownership of my child’s education as I am to raise her up.
Even when you feel inadequate, you love your child the most
Another common concern about homeschooling is adequacy. Many moms or dads simply do not feel adequate enough to be able to take on the challenge of homeschooling their child. Just to give a personal example, my own mom was one who dealt with that self-doubt all throughout our educational experience. She did not have a college degree, did not feel that she was that great at school in her childhood, and had to listen to many doubters as she continued to push on with our education. What helped her? She reminded herself that she was a fully functioning adult, who got a highly successful job after high school, and was managing a prosperous household.
As long as she was able to impart her own knowledge, we too would turn out to become fully functioning adults. By allowing herself to be vulnerable in that way, she was able to truly parent her children. The result, was that she got to experience all the joys of watching her little ones grow up right before her eyes.
2) My child can experience all of the best of socialization in her incredibly formative years
Yes! Socialization is crucial in these foundational years, and homeschooled children can be socialized. It would be cruel to isolate my children. When I approach the true homeschool years, my child will have plenty of hand selected peer groups. I plan to incorporate co-ops, community groups, church youth groups, and when she’s old enough, sports or other extracurricular activities that peek her interest. All of which will be wonderful influences for my child. This gives me the opportunity to teach my child how to choose to surround herself with the kind of people that uplift her by being able to guide and impart wisdom along the way. Unless, the child speaks up, parents can’t really do that in a school setting.
Speaking from experience, as a naturally very shy person, school would not have changed the level of shyness that I had all through my childhood and even into today. In fact, it is very possible that I would have been a victim of bullying. I do remember a few instances in middle school where I was teased about something. However, because I wasn’t required to spend time with those people who picked on me, I never really felt any impact from it. How much bullying have you witnessed in schools, public or private?
A safe space to learn
Homeschooling offered to me a safe space to learn. In my early elementary years, my parents hand selected my peers and ensured that I had positive influences by other similarly raised children. As I grew up, especially in my high school years, I took that same mentality of ensuring that I was surrounded by great people. It resulted in never having to experience the negatives of sociality. Also, I have amazing friends – not meaning to brag. Who doesn’t want that for their children? Now, I am happily married to a man who I met in church. We have a wonderful one-year old daughter, I work for an online university in a graduate program, and have a core group of wonderful friends and colleagues. Homeschooling does not have to hinder a person’s ability to socialize!
3) Schedule freedom
One of my favorite perks from my homeschooling years was the ability to “do school” when and however we wanted. This varies for every homeschool family. However, the reality is that learning doesn’t have to occur for eight hours a day. In fact, that would just be overkill. When we take a look at a typical school day, a child moves from subject to subject, room to room. Each day has small segments of teacher directed instruction. Then, there are moments to practice the new skill with worksheets or whatever creative activity that the teacher has cooked up. There is a good chance that during that practice time, there will be some distractions, most likely from peers. Then, there’s a break for recess, lunch, lining up outside the classroom, going over classroom rules and expectations, the time that a teacher is correcting another student, etc.
The reality is that when you are working with your child 1-1 or even 1-4, you really don’t need that much time. Likewise, you definitely don’t need that much structure. My mom had about an hour a day for my brother and I per subject. At the very beginning, lessons happened in short spurts and probably culminated to maybe four hours a day. The rest of the day, we had the time to play and explore. Our toys and activities provoked imagination and creativity and arguably were the most valuable part of our “school” day. My parents hardly allowed us to watch TV nor play computer games. Yes, even the educational ones were limited to a very finite amount of time if at all (30 min. max).
We learn to enjoy school
With all that creative time, we learned and enjoyed school. Since the official learning time could happen at any point in the day, we got to go to the library, park, museum, beach, you name it. The best part, despite being a single income family with a very modest budget, was that we traveled to Hawaii to visit my mom’s side of the family every year and stayed for extended periods of time, typically a month. Homeschooling offered us the flexibility to travel in any month without interrupting our education. In turn, my parents saved hundreds of dollars on airfare, and got to go to Hawaii almost EVERY year! I repeat, on a single, modest income.
Now, I’m not saying that homeschooling will allow you to live out your traveling dreams in paradise. However, I’m definitely excited for what areas of my family’s life could benefit from that type of flexibility. I look forward to day baseball games, Disneyland during off times, camping in popular parks when they aren’t crowded, etc.
4) One of a kind learning
Let’s face it – our kids are not one-size fits all. In order to maximize a child’s learning, they need instruction that meets there personal learning style. Each child will have different needs. For example, my brother was incredibly active. He probably wouldn’t have fared too well in an elementary classroom because he was constantly on the move. To play to his natural strengths, my mom let him do his school laying on his bedroom floor. If we had had a trampoline, she probably would have let him do that too. The point is, he learned.
Now, my brother is quite successful. This was one of my biggest complaints when I was teaching in the classroom. I physically and mentally could not truly differentiate learning for every student the way that they deserved to learn. There had to be a curriculum. Everyday there had to be a lesson. There was only one of me and 30 of them for less than 60 minutes a day. As a result, they all had to receive the same instruction or I could give each individual about 2 minutes of my time a day. I’m so excited for what homeschooling will do for my daughter’s learning styles. I’m excited to learn how to best teach her and to watch her grow in her own strengths.
5) A learning environment free threats
Now to address threats like school shootings and other dangers. This is something that inspired my departure from my 9th grade classroom. I remember so vividly, in my final year in the classroom, how my school went into lockdown in my fourth period (most rambunctious) class. I remember seeing the absolute terror in my students’ faces. No one knew why the lockdown was occurring. Yet, we all knew by the tone of the announcement that it was real. My big, tough, trouble maker 9th grade football players, who normally acted as if nothing ever phased them, crawled up to me asking what was going on and asking if we would be ok.
It turned out to be a gang related stabbing between two students in the cafeteria. Not planned or aimed at any other kids, but still it was enough to shake up the whole school and me in the final weeks of the semester. The shocker was that we never would have thought that that was possible in a school like ours. We had great kids, supportive parents, and a well-managed district.
Once again, the parent loves the child the most
I remember realizing that I would never want my child in that situation. I couldn’t trust that the teacher would protect and value my child like I do. In fact, I wouldn’t expect the teacher to protect like I would because he or she probably has his or her own family that they need to go home to that night. With how schools have become, this has become a huge reason for me to already have my mind made up on where my children will do their primary learning. Plus, if another pandemic were to ever happen, I would carry on my normal business as if nothing had ever happened.
Plus, if another pandemic were to ever happen, I would carry on my normal business as if nothing had ever happened.”
6) Unlimited potential
I believe that, if done right, homeschooling can lead to extraordinary levels of success. There’s no boxed outcome in homeschooling. Standardized tests don’t limit children, nor tell them that they aren’t good enough. At home, learning is a part of life, it happens in books, it happens outside. Naturally, homeschooling teaches time management, because there isn’t a bell that rings to micromanage the day, and, depending on the parent, there’s quite a bit of flexibility in how the time is used.
Hard work pays off
Here’s an example from my personal experience: once we were old enough and more established learners (5th grade and beyond) my mom would allow my brother and I to work on our studies at whatever pace that we chose as long as we were keeping up with the minimum of one lesson a day. When we completed our curriculum, we were done. I quickly connected that if I worked hard and doubled up on lessons, my summer break would start earlier or I would have one of those months in Hawaii completely off. I remember starting summer vacation as early as May 1st once because of my motivation to be done. That is a lesson that schools just can’t teach. The lesson that hard work pays off.
In most classroom settings, if you work hard, the teacher gives more busy work because you have to be occupied somehow. It’s disguised by the term gifted learning or enrichment opportunities, but the reality is that it is more work. Additionally, homeschooling allows students the ability to excel well beyond their age expectations. For example, in elementary school, my brother tested at a 10th grade math level on his grade level specific SAT. The results indicated that he could succeed at advanced algebra and trigonometry in the third grade! Likewise, when I started attending public high school, I didn’t actually learn anything new in my core classes until I attended the local community college during my junior year of high school. And, I’ve heard of so many other incredible stories about homeschoolers, many of whom, no one ever knew were homeschoolers.
All of this to say that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. The first major step is being able to afford living off of a single income. Ask my parents, it’s not easy, but they figured it out. They say that it was so incredibly worth it. One step that my husband and I have taken in my baby’s first year of life is to bring me home to a remote position so that I can keep my baby home during these formative years. Another major step to being able to homeschool is having the patience, wisdom and courage to take on such a high stakes endeavor, but I wholeheartedly believe that this will be a worthwhile endeavor for my family and worth every one of my pinched pennies and ounSuccess! You’re all set to receive Momma Life 2 the Fullest delivered right to your inbox.ces of coffee.
The Mama behind Momma Life 2 the Fullest
Hi Mama! I’m so glad that you are here! My name is Ashlyn and I am a wife, full-time mom and full-time university faculty among other less important titles, such as coffee junkie, outdoor lover, craft and Pinterest enthusiast, energetic traveler, activities planner, and to-do list master. I find that my day sometimes feels like a swirl of diapers, meals, meetings, chores, etc. And, I created this blog as a landing spot to share my experiences and purpose to live this crazy mom life to the absolute fullest.
I was born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I was homeschooled for the majority of my childhood, which offered me some unique traveling and cultural opportunities. I earned my degree in English and my Masters degree Instructional Design. Before landing my current, work-from-home job, I also taught in the classroom as a 9th grade English-Language Arts teacher.
When we had our daughter, I knew that I wanted to do everything I could to be as present as possible for my little one, so that’s when I found my current flexible-schedule, work-from-home job at an online university.
Mom life is a true gift from God. We were selected to be our little humans mommies, and that is a tremendous blessing and a huge responsibility. This life isn’t meant to just get by. This life is meant to live to the fullest, and our children deserve the most present, life-breathing versions of us.
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