An Adventure at Home
The most common question I get when I tell people we started homeschooling this year is, "Why?" It's an understandable question. We've spent the past decade sending our children to a good public school. We are not upset with our school, and I have seen the teachers there work themselves to the point of breakdown to help their students. As an art teacher myself, over the past couple years I saw a change within the students--more anger, violent behavior, obsessions with horror and a celebration of other inappropriate ideas and activities. I don't know if the pandemic is to blame, maybe too much unfiltered screen time, inattentive parenting, who knows? If I didn't have kids of my own, I probably would have stayed in the trenches with my fellow teachers to "work the mission field" and try to make a difference for them. But I was seeing this change creep into my own family, and we decided it was time to act. My own family had to be my first priority, or I would lose them trying to save the world.
Anyway, homeschooling. So far it has been a great adventure. I've had minimal whining from the kids. It's still school after all. But we've enjoyed eliminating the stressful mornings and slowing things down a bit. No one is doing homework until 11 pm anymore, so that's awesome. Overall, we've cut out a lot of wasted time and busyness. Our curriculum is interesting, requirements are flexible, and we're all big fans of field trip Fridays!
One thing that I was not expecting is how much more in tune I am with the kids. We are together ALL the time now, so I can directly see where they are excelling and where they struggle. I can also give them breaks, snacks, and exercise when they need it. I notice little shifts in their mood or health easier. I can more easily understand their jokes, see what piques their interest and what makes them sad. I've seen them struggle to focus, but also seen them take an idea and get very creative and insightful. It's just been a very neat experience.
Personally, I'm the happiest I've been in a long time with the routine day to day, though the new one-income budget is taking some adjustment for us all. I have learned so much over the past few months preparing for this, and now every day I'm re-learning things like algebra and biology. My brain is getting a workout, but at this point I'd definitely say all the change has been worth it.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."