Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less: Homeschool Diaries: Why We Do It...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Homeschool Diaries: Why We Do It...

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Whenever you hear that someone homeschools, another question always follows....Why? Why the heck do you homeschool? Most people think I must have had a bad experience with the school district, I was homeschooled myself, or I am a teacher hater (seriously someone really thought I hated teachers. Cra Cra right?) Well none of these are true. When I grew up, I went to public school. I didn't have a hard time. In fact I had a great experience. I was that kid that thought summer was just a tad too long. Nerdy I know, but it's true! When I had children, I just assumed they too would go to public school...I mean that's what you do right? I didn't know there was another option. I always thought homeschool kids were the “weird” kids. I had the same stereo types in my mind that most people do. I never thought homeschool would be right for us. Then my son became preschool age. Oh and did I mention he wasn't talking yet? My son didn't talk till he was three. We had him put into a special preschool program through our school district. They worked with him a few hours each day. He was doing so much better. He was starting to talk and people could actually understand him! It was amazing!! I knew he needed more though..... 

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He was progressing, but I knew he could do more. I started blog hopping one night and I came upon The Homespun Heart. Monica blogged about her simple life with her kids. She blogged about how she did preschool at home. I thought this was so cool. Giving our play time at home more direction was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be able to play, learn, and explore with my son.We started using the BFIAR method. I would pick a book and then we would read it each day at breakfast. We would also do a fun activity each day based on the book. This became a time of day that both my kids loved. Libby was just a little munchkin at the time, but she enjoyed it just as much as he did.

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Each day we would read, play, craft, and learn. It was so much fun. Then my son was turning kindergarten age. My mama heart broke. I didn't want our learning and play to be over. I kept having the sneaky feeling that it wasn't suppose to. I prayed a lot about this, asking what God wanted me to do. Homeschool was the response that came back (I even wrote about it here). This seemed bananas to me. I could not be a homeschool Mom. I wasn't smart enough. I didn't know enough. I didn't want my kids to turn out to be “weird” homeschool kids. I thought and prayed some more, but I keep getting the same answer....stronger than ever.

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I started checking out books from the library. I read book after book. I read about how to socialize your children so they don't end up “weird”. I loved that book. It calmed my heart knowing my kids could learn at home, but still be well adjusted socialized children. I read about methods and techniques for learning. I knew that literature is where I thrived, so I would teach them through reading. I felt more and more confident. Oh did I mention I hadn't let hubby in on the homeschool news?

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I knew he had a negative opinion about homeschoolng. One night I brought up the subject. I believe his exact answer was “Heck no. We don't want them to be weird”. I had done my research though. For every answer he shot at me, I had a response (go library research). He said he would think about it. After a few days he said we could try it for a year and see how it went. That first year would then decide if this was something we would do.

Well that first year came and went. It was royally tough. I cried a lot...prayed a get the picture. I was tested way beyond what I thought I could handle. It was a trying year, but at the end of kindergarten my son could read. The little boy that couldn't talk at 3 was now reading two years later. Both my husband and I were amazed and excited. We also saw how my little miss was learning too. While Keagan learned to read, she learned right along with him.

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That first year was a rough one of new beginnings and firsts. After our first year, hubby became the biggest homeschool supporter ever. He saw how it benefited our children and he was thankful I had listened to that prompting. Now we are the biggest advocates for homeschooling.

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Yes there are days when I think “It would be so much easier to send them to public school”, but my next thought is always “but at what cost?” For my son, I know he would be left behind if he was in a classroom. He struggles with spelling and writing. He needs that extra one on one time. He would have been without that time had he gone to public school. So for the boy, that is why we homeschool. For my girl, she is she is 6 and can do third grade spelling. She would have been bored and may not have reached her full potential had she not been homeschooled. So for us homeschooling is exactly right for our family.

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Please know though that I am not anti-public school. There are some amazing teachers, who do amazing work. My niece and nephews can attest to that. I love seeing how they grow and learn. Choosing to homeschool is a very personal choice. It honestly requires more of the whole family. Parents and children alike.

If you are thinking about homeschooling, I pray you will do what is right for your family. Homeschooling is a sacrifice. There is less time for me. Less time for cleaning. Less time for everything else I could fill my day with.....but because we homeschool I have more time with my kids. I have seen them read their first words. I have seen them finally solve a complicated problem. I have seen their faces light up as they begin to understand a hard concept. Being able to explore and learn though them is amazing. I am thankful for it every day.

So there you have it. The ins and outs to how we came to homeschool. We are entering our fourth year of homeschool (I can't believe that!) and I finally feel like I have a clue :) It is a challenge, but one I am thankful for. From preschool to know third grade. Oh my heck! What a ride it has been....and the journey is only beginning :)

Now I know I have a lot of homeschooling mamas who read my blog. I would so love to learn why you all homeschool. Every family has their own personal reason and I think it is so cool to learn about. Share in the comments. Lets uplift and inspire as always.

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Thank you for all your questions about homeschool. I hope to continue to answer them as I blog.

You guys and gals are amazing!

All these pictures are from our first year of homeschool.

XO Danielle

Anyone else think it is rude when our little babies grow up? What the heck! My red heads are too dang big. We're preparing for third grade folks! Wowsers! Where has the time gone? I blinked. No more blinking allowed!

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  1. From what I hear, homeschool kids tend to have a better understanding of what they've learned, and a healthier perspective on education. I wish I had more patience and was able to do it. There's a lot of garbage you deal with in public school these days.

  2. What a great post, Danielle! Homeschooling is a very important, personal choice. Like you guys, my husband and I were public schooled and really struggled for a very long time before making the decision to homeschool. But, in the end our local school just cannot provide the same sort of dedication and love that I can. Everyday, I'm reminded of why it is so very worth the struggle! Thanks for sharing your ups and downs!

  3. I had my first child two days after the Columbine tragedy. I remember holding this tiny newborn in my arms and just shaking my head. I knew there was no way he'd go to public school. New mom paranoia? Sure. But after 10 years of homeschooling my two kids, I've never regretted my decision. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. Go Homeschoolers!

  4. Its such a blessing that you're able to not only homeschool your children, but have the patience and sanity to do it period! Who knows...maybe you'll become a teacher someday

    1. she is a teacher

    2. Ouch! She is a teacher! She teaches her children, at home, and is doing a great job.

    3. I meant when her kids are off on their own, she can continue her teaching journey at a school or something. She definitely is a teacher because I've been learning a lot through this blog.

    4. I don't think Andrea is belittling her. I think she means as a paying profession. Working with other people's children in a school.

  5. We started homeschooling a year and a half ago when my son was half way through 1st grade at a public school. We had noticed things throughout PreK, K and 1st and it was finally in first when God gave us the teacher we wanted and knew would be good to him that we realized it wasn't the teachers. Our son is very smart but he needs someone to help keep him focused. His mind wanders (just like mine) and he has a hard time getting his work done because he is so busy watching others. He was never disruptive so wasn't noticed in the quiet times at school when he should have been working but was staring into space instead. Homeschooling is nothing short of challenging but so rewarding as well. It has given us more time as a family. My husband is a Government employee and gets sent away on what is called TDY's and we get to go with him many times because we can just take our work with us. Less time apart is always healthy for us.
    I started homeschooling my Kindergarten daughter this year and that has been amazing as well. She is supper smart and is way ahead of her age group because she has been doing so much with her brother who is now in 3rd grade.
    I pray everyday for wisdom and patience because I REALLY need it but I love homeschooling my kids.

  6. I love reading other families' stories about why they chose to homeschool. It essentially comes down to making the right choice for your child and your family as a whole.

    We homeschooled kindergarten last year and we're moving on to grade 1 this year. I'm excited about what lies ahead.

    So happy to have my blog to connect with other homeschoolers such as yourself.

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  7. We had the same issue with our son. He wasn't talking at 3 either. We thought about homeschooling but he blossomed so much when he went to preschool that we decided to keep him in school at our church. We had speech therapists come to our house twice a week and we worked with him every day, but he really started talking a lot once he was around the other kids. The good news is that there are only 7 kids in his class so they get lots of one on one time.

  8. As a public school teacher I have seen "homeschooled" kids. These are the kids that I'm positive their mamas (or daddies) don't take the time to plan lessons,interact with their students, or teach. It is so refreshing to read about a mama who does it right!
    Thanks for the insight!

    1. I've seen both. I would say most take the time to do it right.

  9. Danielle a great post! We homeschooled our sons through elementary and it was the best experience for all of us. The reason we did it was mostly because we were military and our moving schedule was always October! So we decided this would allow us to live life on our own schedule. The military lifestyle is hard enough on families and homeschooling kept our sons from worrying about entering new schools, we also took our vacations when we wanted! When we were stationed in Iceland the "rotator plane" back to the states was always packed during summer so we went back during the school year. I no longer homeschool and our youngest is now in high school but I would have done it exactly the same. I still love to read homeschooling blogs, too.

  10. I am a public school teacher and kind of take offense to the fact that you "know" your son would have been left behind and you "know" that your daughter wouldn't have been challenged. You don't KNOW these things and it's a little insulting to public school teachers that put their heart and soul into everything they do. I never left a child behind or let one become bored. If they needed extra resources I sought out help. Not every public school teacher puts for the same effort...but neither does every home school parent. I'm not a home school hater, I don't understand it, but I'm not a hater. Just please don't assume that public school teacher would have left your children behind to be lost or bored. I wouldn't have and I know a lot of other amazing teachers that wouldn't have either.

    1. Lauren I am so sorry. I think teachers are the most amazing people..truly..They're definitely under paid for all the money, sweat and effort they put into teaching. I went to school for teaching and plan to teach when my kids are grown. For my family I feel homeschool is the best but I also know there are some of the most amazing people out there inspiring and teaching little ones. In my district, classes are huge and so much pressure is put on them. I think they're amazing for all they do. So again I never meant to offend please know that Lauren.

    2. I understand, and thank you. You just have SUCH an influence over many people here on this blog and I would hate for someone to walk away thinking that if their son or daughter struggles or needs to be challenged that home school is what they must do. Like I said, I know there are teachers out there that don't give it their heart and soul, schools with over crowding, and classrooms without money, but don't just assume that those teachers would have been able to meet the needs of your kiddos. Teachers are resourceful...and I'm not surprised to hear that you are one :) We (teachers in general) are all resourceful by nature.

    3. I absolutely agree. Deciding to homeschool is a huge decision..not to be made lightly. I always tell people to way the pros and cons. It is a huge sacrifice. To homeschool means you as the learning coach have to be completely on the ball. I'm thankful our schools have hard working teachers like you. Every child is entitled to a fantastic education. Whether that's homeschool, public, private, or charter..I hope all parents would pray and think hard. We have to be our children's advocates. We should always fight for them to get the best. Thank you so much for your comments L. I really appreciate them

  11. They do grow up too fast. Just have some more! ;)

    I have to say, I dont home school but find it inspiring and amazing that you do. I found your blog in the last year and have looked through the older entries too. It's amazing how much you get done in the day from teaching to playing to cleaning and cooking. I think you're amazing Danielle!

  12. Enjoyed your post!

    We are going on our 16th year of homeschooling. No matter how amazing teachers are they cannot know your child like you do! That is nothing to take offense at, just reality.

    I made the mistake ;) of reading "Better Late than Early" and that got me reading other books and before I knew it we were a homeschooling family.
    I too am not against PS. I have had a couple of children who do/did attend our local High School, some of them full time and some for just a class or two.
    I think it is great parents have options when it comes to their children's education. I think the more options the better :)

  13. We are in our first year of homeschool. We homeschool because of our oldest son. He has a seizure disorder and because of the amount of seizures he had as a baby, he is developmentally delayed. He did not walk until he was 2 and single words didn't come until he was 3. He had just turned 5 when he started developing sentences, but they were scripted (things he has heard others say). He went to a special needs school that had all kinds of therapy, but we saw no results. He went to a special needs K4 program with all kinds of therapy and we worked with him more at home. When we went to his exit IEP, the school district wanted to put him in the slow learner class for Kindergarten. I asked why and they responded that he had not learned all that he was supposed to in order to meet their qualifications. I informed them that he knew all of his ABCs, phonics, shapes, colors, and numbers to 30 (which is what they learned in Kindergarten anyway). The teacher was amazed and didn't know that he knew these things. At the end of school (end of May) he tested at a 2 year old level. He was retested in August and is now at a 3.5 year old level with no school! I knew then my son was getting lost in the shuffle and no one was really working with him. Homeschool entered! Sorry for the long post.

  14. I admire your strength to homeschool your kids, I think it takes a special kind of person to do that. Just like I think it takes a special person to be a teacher. But your own kids, that is tough stuff!! Your patience must be through the roof!! I have done preschool type skills at home with my kids, but my son starts actual preschool this week and I am hoping that he gets a good social experience from it. I think he genuinely needs the space from me, he is very independent. I really enjoy reading about your homeschooling, it is very inspiring.

  15. Hello :o) I've been reading your blog - and loving it - for a little while now, but don't think I left a comment before. I had to now though, as this is a subject that's very close to my heart at the moment, and I loved the way you wrote about it. My daughter has Asperger's syndrome, and throughout her school career, struggled with so many aspects of school life, despite the fact that she did go to a wonderful school that did all that could be expected to help, and more. Eventually, last year, it all became too much, and she found herself unable to carry on attending school. So I started homeschooling - despite the fact that she is 16 now and thus considered to be far too old by many for that sort of thing - and that worked out brilliantly for us, so far at least. So, the reason I homeschool (or, as we say in the UK, home educate) is the same reason you do - because it's the best thing for my daughter.

    Simples ;o)

  16. i so badly wanted to homeschool but my fiancé had the same reactions to it saying he didn't want weird kids :(

  17. Great post! So glad you were brave enough to take the plunge and that it has been a blessing to your family! Have a great year! :)

  18. We are not a homeschooling family. Because of personal health issues, I am not able to homeschool my lovely girls. At first I was completely against it because the small number of families I knew that did it did not impress me. Some were completely dismissive, downright snobbish, of parents that went the public school route. Others were doing such a horrible job. One had a son with an obvious learning disability where he was in the 6th grade and couldn't read. The parents were ill equipped to handle it but were so afraid of the potential bad influence of worldly children. They feared public school would influence their children to not become Christians so they kept them home. And their grown son still can't read.
    However, as I've become exposed to more and more families who home school, the more supportive I've become of it. You're right. It's a very personal choice. Quite honestly, it would not work for my family. I have given it serious consideration but with the personal issues I have, I truly believe that I could not do it right. I don't want to do my kids a disservice.
    Let me add that just because you don't homeschool doesn't mean you can't supplement at home. Summer and winter vacation is a perfect time to do that as well as during the school year.

  19. This is our second year homeschooling. My oldest daughter did two years in public school. Everyday when she was gone my heart would break. Then when she would come home my heart would break again when I would hear stuff like, '' My teachers says I can't write I love Jesus or I love God in my journal any more.'' This journal was always a free topic to see how their spelling and writing has improved. When she was taught the pledge of allegiance they left out ''under God''. It is hard to explain to a 5 year old all of these things. By the time she was finshing 1st grade I had made up my mind that I would homeschool her and her then 5 year old sister the next year. Now we are 10 days into homeschooling for our second year. I could be working and bring in lots of extra money instead. We would be able to do so many more things like, go on vacation, buy a bigger house, not have the stress of worrying about money all the time. But, my children being here and not being shunned for what they believe in is worth so much more.

  20. This is our second year homeschooling. My oldest daughter did two years in public school. Everyday when she was gone my heart would break. Then when she would come home my heart would break again when I would hear stuff like, '' My teachers says I can't write I love Jesus or I love God in my journal any more.'' This journal was always a free topic to see how their spelling and writing has improved. When she was taught the pledge of allegiance they left out ''under God''. It is hard to explain to a 5 year old all of these things. By the time she was finshing 1st grade I had made up my mind that I would homeschool her and her then 5 year old sister the next year. Now we are 10 days into homeschooling for our second year. I could be working and bring in lots of extra money instead. We would be able to do so many more things like, go on vacation, buy a bigger house, not have the stress of worrying about money all the time. But, my children being here and not being shunned for what they believe in is worth so much more.

  21. Danielle, I appreciate you for not taking the hateful tone about the public schools and those who attend them that I often see online. There are some home school moms writing as if we were all immoral cretins. I was educated in public school. It was a good school system with advanced college prep classes available for grades seven through twelve. These classes were amazing.

    My parents stayed in touch with the schools and knew what was going on. Academics were the province of the school. Religious education was the province of the church and the home.

    I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience being in a large marching band, orchestra, take foreign languages, and have access to clubs, yearbook staff, newspaper staff, and real labs for chemistry and biology. Discussions in college prep classes were so intellectually stimulating, with people from all kinds of homes and experiences participating.

    It disturbs me when I see some of the home school courses available on line that seem deliberately weak academically, but I know there are good ones, too.

    Do you plan to home school all the way through high school?

  22. Danielle, I love this! Thank you for the encouragement to all homeschooling moms. My children will be starting their freshman year in a few days and guess who is teacher? ME! :) We are also doing a Pre-k. program for our 3yr old. Unfortunately we went back to homeschooling because my kids after being homeschooled went to a public school for a few years and they not only were not being challenged but the one on one attention was just simply not there. So needless to say that we are more than ecstatic to be homeschooling our kids. And to all the parents that make it possible..... keep up the awesome work!

  23. I am a Mom and a special ed teacher. I only work part time though and I so I did a little homeschooling with my oldest and this year I taught her to read. She is entering Kindergarten soon and It feels great to know that I was the one who taught her to read! She is ahead of most kiddos entering Kindergarten and our district only offers a 2 1/2 hr Kindergarten day. She would likely have not learned anything new this year. Homeschooling for our family is not an option at this time so we chose an alternative, a small Quaker school that has an awesome reputation. We were lucky that she was selected to attend. They will individualize her learning and we may consider public school for first grade. So if you want some extras and homeschooling is not for you, there are alternatives. My husband and I have always said that if there comes a point in which school is just crushing her spirit or not working then we will consider other alternatives. I will hsve to say that I am always jealous of the flexibility that homeschooling allows. You can certainly set your own vacations and school time!

  24. Great article.

    Homeschooling may be difficult in the beginning. But as your children grow, it will actually make the job of teaching them easier, because they will begin to realize what it takes to teach themselves.



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