One of the best things about homeschooling stereotypes is that they keep our secrets. On the one hand, it’s frustrating when non-homeschoolers criticize this educational option. On the other, it’s a blessing in disguise: if they only knew these secrets, we’d have a nation-wide educational epidemic on our hands, with families falling left and right out of our school systems! Our society as we know it would collapse!
Thank goodness people don’t know our homeschooling secrets. Just in case you wondering what they are, and you want to be in on it, here’s what we homeschoolers aren’t telling you:
1) Homeschooling moms/parents/families have a LOT of free time. We have so much free time, that we are able to fill that time with our own personal projects, go places, visit friends, and balance our busy lives with rest and relaxation. Our time is ours, to do as we see fit. We don’t have to overextend ourselves and be super-families. And, even if we are doing the same amount of school work and the same number of classes as a non-homeschooling family, we STILL have tons of free time. We aren’t rushed and we don’t have to squeeze in family time.
2) Homeschooling is hyper-ultra-super efficient. I won’t even explain this one. Let me just say, that the time in active learning/amount learned is an amazing ratio.
3) Homeschoolers have a lot of fun. I mean a LOT. If you are a homeschooler that hasn’t been told this secret, consider yourself informed. Homeschooling is a fun and exhilirating and an exciting opportunity to take control of our lives and be our authentic selves. People who are their authentic selves have a great time in life. Homeschoolers are, overall, the most authentic people you’ll meet.
4) Homeschoolers are THE people to ask about what’s going on around town. If you aren’t a homeschooler, and you want to know about guitar teachers or the free museum days or anything - ask a homeschooler. They’ll either know, or they’ll know where to find the info. Homeschoolers are informed and have their pulse on the community. The whole socialization thing is a front to keep this secret from being public knowledge.
5) Fill in your secret here. What should be #5?
I love her point about homeschooling stereotypes. It never occurred to me that when people see us through the lens of their stereotype, they miss out on these great secrets! I always want to tell people who say, "I could never do that," that I'm not doing what they think I'm doing. I'm not some sort of "supermom"; I prefer homeschooling because it's better for my kids, but I've discovered over the years that it's also better for me.
Sure, homeschooling is hard at times; but so is sending kids to school. I discovered in the past few days, looking at the public school schedules, that if I sent my kids to public school I'd be having to take my 6th-grader to school at 7:30, then turn around and have my 2nd-grader at a different school (about 15 minutes from my 6th-grader's) at 8:30. Then in the afternoon, I'd have to pick up my 6th-grader at 2:30 and my 2nd-grader at 3:30, five days a week. Or they could take the bus - my 6th-grader leaving at 6:30 and my 2nd-grader at 7:45, each to a school only about 10 minutes away, and then returning at 3:30 and 4:15 respectively. Then since my 6th-grader swims four days a week, I'd have to take her to swim practices at 5:30 and pick her up at 7:30. And then homework - most likely at least a half-hour for my 2nd-grader and an hour or more for my 6th-grader, not counting special projects which come on someone else's schedule rather than our family's. And if they were going to school, I would certainly be working rather than sitting around all day waiting for them to get home - meaning when they were rushing around to get to school, I'd be rushing around to get to work, and all of us would spend our best hours apart. Ugh! And this is better because . . . ?
I much prefer homeschooling. I get up when Dad gets up to go to work and he and I have a quiet early morning together, or sometimes my 2nd-grader will come and snuggle with us in the morning. If the kids aren't up, Dad kisses them and wakes them when he leaves for work. After we all get around, get dressed, and have breakfast (which we sometimes do with Dad if the kids are up in time), we gather on the couch to read Bible. Then we tackle "schoolwork," the hardest stuff (like math, grammar, and phonics) first. After the hard stuff is done, we snuggle on the couch to read interesting books for history and science, and great kids' books (start to finish, not just a chapter or so) for literature. When the kids are hungry, we take a quick break for a snack or lunch, or maybe a Popsicle or hot chocolate if the weather is appropriate. If they are restless, we can go on a bike ride or walk to the park for a half-hour break before continuing. If they're focused, there are no bells to announce the time for that subject is up; we keep going as long as we choose. Sometimes we watch an educational video over lunchtime. We're often done by noon or within an hour after lunch, and then the kids have time to play, explore, rest, or read before we have to take my 6th-grader to swimming. When we get home, there's no homework, and we're not under pressure to get to bed since we can usually sleep in the next day if we need to. We have our best hours of the day together, building relationships with each other. Problems are met as they occur rather than having to wait to be discussed later.
So which is better for everyone?
And I haven't even gotten to my proposal for #5 on Tammy's list:
Homeschooling means I get to keep learning too! I have learned far more since I started homeschooling my kids than I ever learned in school myself, even in college. As we read those interesting books, I am able to make connections I never thought of before, and to see things from new perspectives. The "big picture" of how the world works comes together for me in a whole new way.
After having homeschooled my kids ever since my older daughter was born, I'd never trade it. Even if one or both of the girls eventually decides to go to school, I still feel this has been by far the best approach for these early years, and I'm in no hurry for it to end. Tammy's right about secrets - if everyone understood what I've learned in the last few years, the schools would be having a hard time keeping students!