Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why Homeschool? (Part One)

With our two oldest being homeschooled, our 2 middles in public school and our youngest straddling the fence spending 3 days a week in preschool/daycare, we get this question quite a bit.  It's understandable.  Although, in 2010, homeschooling is far more common and accepted than it was 5-10-20 years ago, it's still a bit out of the ordinary. 
So.  At some point or another, when it comes up that the girls are homeschooled, the almost-inevitable question that follows is "Why?"
My standard response is fairly simple:  Selam has only been in the US a year or so and is still a pretty new-to-English speaker and very new-to-English reader. We wanted to take the year to really focus improving her reading, as well as some math basics.  The one-on-one time seemed an invaluable opportunity.  Otherwise, I usually just add that Grace had expressed interest in being homeschooled herself.
All of the above is true.  Yet, my true reasons for wishing to homeschool my daughters are perhaps more complicated... deeper... harder to put into words.  These are the things that I hesitate to share with others because I still have a hard time wrapping my head around them completely myself!  But I think its worth sharing the other factors in our decision to homeschool.  So, in no particular order:

1.  Time to Get to Know Each Other... - Having a 12 (now 13) year old dropped in your lap does something to wake you up about the idea that time with your children is short.  With Selam, we missed so much - 12 years of her life.  There is no way to 'make up' for that, but last year I couldn't help but feeling that a few hours after school/work and busy weekends were just not enough.  And even with Grace, time was a huge issue.  Grace's "love language" is pretty clearly quality time and the time pressures of traditional school/work, 5 children, and other time restraints were just making it hard to give Grace that time she craved. 
What surprised me was what that time would mean to me. Other than a brief (unplanned) stint last summer, I have never been a stay at home mom.  This has been partially due to necessity, partially by choice.  I have always loved all my children, but I am not the most patient person and I truly never believed I was cut out to be home full time.  Although I'm still unable to be home full-time, these extra days have been such a blessing - a way to get to know my daughters in a new situation. Even just a few weeks in, new sides of their personalities have started to shine through.  It is clear that even at 9 and 13, they are both well on their way to being sweet, mature young women.  

We may not have the option to homeschool long-term or we may decide it's not the right thing for our family going forward, but I know that I will always treasure this time that I have with my girls.

Part Two... to be continued...

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