“Homeschool our kids? Nah, I don’t think so. But you can do it!” I told my husband early on in our marriage. Phillip had been homeschooled for several years as a child and absolutely loved it. He liked the individualized teaching he received from his mom and being able to learn at his own pace, rather than relying on the average pace of an entire classroom of students (which he also experienced at both private and public schools). I personally liked the idea of homeschooling, but still wanted the time to work on our business and not be “tied down” with the kids all day. The more homeschooling families I talked to, however, the more appealing homeschool sounded to me. BUT I just wanted Phillip to be the one to teach our kids—not me. After all, he was the one with teaching experience and is great with kids. So, naturally, he would make the better teacher!
Before we knew it, our firstborn Jasmine turned five and it was time to send her off to school. Thankfully, we live in a county that has one of the best school systems in the entire state. So I wasn’t at all concerned about the education she’d be receiving. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was how much I’d miss Jasmine during the day. I wondered how she was doing in class and what new things she was learning. All of a sudden I was feeling sentimental about our kids and how fleeting their young years are. They are only little once, and I was already missing being with Jasmine a good chunk of each school year.
Besides missing Jasmine, I couldn’t stand being a slave to someone else’s schedule! I was seriously thrown off when we enrolled Jasmine in kindergarten two years ago. Waking up super early is not my forte (although I’m a wannabe morning person!). So getting up at 6:00am felt equivalent to getting up in the middle of the night when you’re not quite coherent. Also, as an entrepreneur and small business owner, it was really difficult going from being able to travel with your family whenever you wanted, to letting the school year dictate your travel plans. I want to be able to take a family trip at a moment’s notice—not just during the summertime and federal holidays, when the rest of the nation is vacationing.
I want to be able to witness firsthand the lightbulb moments that happen for each of our kids as they learn something new. I know I won’t always be there for each of those moments, but I at least want to create a space where it’s possible. Homeschooling seems to be the ideal solution for our family in this particular season of life. We’ll be able to give our kids the individualized attention they need AND get to travel on our own schedule and experience learning together. Don’t get me wrong, though—we’ve had a WONDERFUL experience with our local elementary school, and Jasmine had (in my opinion) the best kindergarten and first grade teachers a parent could ask for! In fact, my current plan is to homeschool for at least the next year or two while the kids are little, and then put them back in public school when our youngest is old enough for kindergarten. It’s just for this season of life I want to actively be a part of my kids’ learning experience during their formative years.
Am I nervous? Yes. Do I feel inadequate? YES, absolutely! Talking with other homeschooling moms, though, has made me A) realize I’m not alone and B) feel like I can do this homeschooling thing and actually enjoy it. It’s still summer break, but I’ve already done a few “homeschool” days just to test it out and get a feel for how my kids (and I) handle it. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as difficult as I was making it out to be. First, I love the curriculum I’ve chosen and, secondly, the kids really seem to be focused and into it! So even though I don’t feel gifted as a natural teacher, I feel better about moving forward and figuring it out as I go along. After all, my kids probably won’t care whether or not I’m teaching the curriculum the “right way.” What they will remember—I hope— is that their mom was with them. If all goes well, they will be able to look back on this year (and perhaps more to come?) not only as a year of learning, but also as a year of amazing family memories and deeper relationship-building. As much as we value education in our family, the latter is what I’m growing to value more and more from my life and the precious lives of our three kiddos.