Saturday, June 03, 2006

Me: Why We Homeschool

I got interested in homeschooling while doing some articles for the Wyoming Catholic Monitor, but Rob wasn't comfortable with it and I didn't have strong feelings about it, so our older kids went to school in Colorado. Sierra Vista was a great little school. The kids enjoyed it and learned well. When we moved to Rhode Island, however, Rob saw one of the schools they might attend--a large brick square with an asphalt playground and a six-foot fence between them and a busy street--and said, "Now's your chance to try homeschooling." We started with Amber and Steven in 2nd grade. Now Amber and Steven are in 6th grade; Alex, 1st; and Liam, Kindergarten.

I may talk up the advantages of homeschooling or sympathize with those who have or hear about problems in thier public school, but in general, I don't have anything against public schools. We've just really enjoyed homeschooling. I have such fun learning along with the kids. I still read the older two's history aloud even though they could study the chapter alone. I love being amazed at how quickly Alex picks up math--tell him once, and it's "Yeah, Mom. Got it." And he does! Liam is my firebrand and I've had to backtrack with him on writing, but he's very enthusiastic about getting--or missing--a question. Although we are very traditional in our subject matter and teaching styles, I like the flexibility of homeschooling. I like, too, that I can slow down or speed up as best fits my child. I think our family is closer and less schedule-stressed, and the kids are learning valuable life lessons as well. I like that they don't have to put up with the "socialization" public school is supposed to give and which made my own childhood very hard. Plus, being able to sleep in is a real advantage when you have an entire family of night owls.

Of course, homeschooling is no picnic. There are times I cry, yell, and am ready to ship the lot to boarding school. But that's another entry.

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