Before I had kids I never once thought I would ever homeschool. Nor had I ever known anyone who homeschooled.
I often think that we cannot possibly homeschool another year. We originally planned for me to be a stay-at-home mother for one year. Remember, homeschooling was never part of the plan! Twelve years later I have to settle my nerves by saying to myself, ‘just one more year, make it the best!’
The prospect of going back to work is a bit ominous. My unpaid job as homeschooling Mom has had so many benefits – will I find something as rewarding? And there’s the resume gaps…..
99% of the time I feel very good about homeschooling, even though it often feels like swimming against the tide. 1% of the time I feel like it’s pure insanity and we’ll certainly regret it later.
I am thoroughly impressed with all the homeschooling parents I have met over the years. The amount of energy they expend and the level of creativity they exhibit astound me. Homeschooling is so cool because you really can tailor it to the needs of the child and family. When done well it’s a beautiful thing.
By the time the 4th of July rolls around many of us are thinking more of beaches, baseball, picnics and fireworks than our freedom and independence. After putting up with last winter, we have every right. I often take for granted something we’ve always had; something many others may never experience. In America we have the freedom to homeschool. We have the option to replace public education with a home-based program reflective of the needs of our individual children.
In many countries (including Brazil and Germany among many others) homeschooling is illegal or heavily restricted. In other countries it is socially unacceptable. In the U.S. each state is left with the responsibility of education, and regulations for homeschooling vary from state to state. In Maine we are required to report that we are homeschooling and have someone with a Maine teacher’s certificate view each child’s portfolio annually. I think many homeschoolers will tell you that these ‘restrictions’ allow for many variances and much flexibility in programs – and the freedom to choose what is best.
This 4th of July I feel thankful for all the freedoms I have – and homeschooling is one that sits very close to my heart.
Since my daughter has attended public school, with her brothers continuing to homeschool, I have missed her presence during the days. I also miss her art. Emily’s art has always been a large part of our home. There are always unfinished projects laying around and her bedroom walls are covered with her art. But with Emily gone during the days, and the afternoons and evenings filled with softball and homework, it is challenging to fine the time she wants to create.
At school she has an art class once a week and I rarely see her work. I’m assuming it’s displayed at the school – I often see walls covered in the artwork of various classes. But somehow they all look very much the same. I’m afraid that art in grammar school has become an assignment with specific guidelines and it makes me pine for the time when Emily would make art with only her imagination and materials laying around the house.
An language arts assignment she is working on right now, due at the end of the week, is to complete two book reports in which she will be answering specific questions, and creating a visual project such as a poster, a diorama or a clay model. The instructions clearly state that the students will be graded on inclusion of required materials, spelling and grammar, and on the neatness of the their visuals. That last phrase tears at my artist’s heart. The one part about this big project she is working on that involves creativity, must be neat?
Emily enjoys school and her art class, and her art teacher is lovely and comes up with amazing ideas for the students. But something deep inside of me cringes when I hear of art assignments resembling something other than a little girl’s way to express her imagination.
Interesting question. I think the answer in many cases is yes. Though a large percentage of homeschoolers list religious reasons as the most important reason for homeschooling (according to differing studies anywhere from 34-75%), many homeschoolers are doing so for reasons that have nothing to do with organized religion.
According to the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, 36% of homeschoolers list “Religious Reasons” as the most important reason for homeschooling. That’s certainly a large block, but what about the other 64%? These homeschoolers cite concerns about school environment; dissatisfaction with academic instruction; family needs; desire for non-traditional approach; and a child’s health issues or special needs as the most important reason for homeschooling.
When looking for online homeschool resources, I have found an overwhelming majority of sites are Christian-based. One of the reasons I started a homeschool blog was to create a community for homeschoolers that would welcome everybody, regardless of their religious inclinations. Though the homeschooling movement may have initially grown due to the Christian Fundamentalist movement, I believe the trend of non-religious, educated parents making the informed decision to homeschool is gathering strength.
The homeschooling families I’ve been lucky to connect with over the past five years seem to have one thing in common – a genuine belief in meeting all the needs of children according to their own personalities and with respect to their development. Religion aside, we are trying out best to create a healthy environment for our kids, educationally as well as physically and emotionally.