I Want To Homeschool My Kids

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Hi. My name is Carla and I want to homeschool my kids.

There. I said it.

I wasn’t homeschooled, quite the opposite. When I was 3 years old, I was sent off to school where I was expected to spend the bulk of my days for the next 20 years or so.  I never met a single soul who was homeschooled. I didn’t even know the term or the practice existed until 4 years ago when I had my own kids. I discovered blogs by moms who were homeschooling and something about it spoke to me very deeply. Not like sweet baby Jesus whispered in my ear or anything. I’m not one of those homeschoolers (and by “that kind’ I simply mean of the Christian variety – I’m just not religiousy… faithful, si – religious, no).

Motherhood has been an exercise in connecting with my intuition – breastfeeding, co-sleeping, positive parenting, a vegetarian no cow’s milk diet, a natural approach to medical care – have all been choices made in response to something I felt was instinctively right for my children. And they’ve thrived because of it. Homeschooling falls into this category of things which my gut just tells me is right. Alas, my gut only really speaks my language so trying to explain it to others (before I’ve formerly even done a thing) has been tricky-tricky.

I’ve shared with a lot of folks my intent to homeschool and the reactions have been mixed:

  1. “You can do that? Interesting. Tell me more.”
  2. “OMG How awesome! I would totally do it if I could.”
  3. “Eek! Don’t do it! They’ll be socially awkward and weird and just no no no.”

It’s been easy to explain it to folks in group two. For the others, the concern is never actually academic. They always get freaked out by how terribly socially awkward homeschooled children tend to be (at least the only ones they’ve met who apparently wear trench coats and rock back and forth in the corner).

My first thought is always  – I don’t send my kid to school to socialize. I send them to learn. The other kids there are just a side-effect, a sometimes pleasant or sometimes nuisance of a side-effect. I don’t expect to send my preschooler to school to learn any particularly useful social skills from snot picking, whiny peers. Actually, I’m hoping she’ll be paying attention to the adults she interacts with to see how she should (and shouldn’t) behave. This is where they all tell me any homeschooled person they’ve ever met is a real weirdo. My thoughts? If my kid’s going to be a weirdo, guess what? Homeschooling won’t be the reason why. I’m pretty sure my kids would be more genetically inclined to be socially awkward or have social anxiety than to be so from not spending enough time with kids their own age.

Don’t just listen to me, though. Read these smart pieces on why the socialization question for homeschoolers is a non-issue. The comments, too, please and thank you.

So why do I want to homeschool?

I have a very clear vision of the kind of women I am raising. It involves fierce creativity, kindness, self-worth, self-love and deep faith that anything is possible. A deep respect for family, insatiable curiosity, a recognition of themselves in all of humanity. Women who believe in loyalty and friendship, who rise to the occasion. Women with deep roots and pride in all that’s led them to who they are.

Can those things be achieved by spending the majority of your day in a classroom? Certainly. I arrived at where I am today, as did many people I admire, by going through the traditional education system. But just because there is one way of achieving a goal, doesn’t make it the only way.

For starters, I really, really want them to grow up with a bilingual education. I don’t want them to be immersed in English all day then have Spanish be an afterthought. I want them to live it and breathe it and be it. English and Spanish, Cuban and American, past, present and future – side by side, breathing and being. Don’t get it? Read this, comments too, and then you’ll get a clear picture of what I’m babbling about.

Second, I want my daughters to be blooming with creativity. I want them to be hungry to create for the rest of their lives. I want them to know having the courage , vision and drive to make an idea reality is just as valuable as reading, writing and arithmetic. I’m not entirely convinced the public school system is going to focus it’s energies on making sure of that.

Life is short. Childhood, even shorter. I don’t want to have it speed by with days spent preparing for testing. I want to spend their childhood watering their wonder, witnessing their light bulb moments.

Finally, this video is full of many of the ideas which encourage me to look at my chickies and approach their education as more than just a rite of passage but as a valuable and integral step towards their contribution to society and the economy. I don’t just want to send my kids to school because that’s what you do when they turn 5. I have given this tremendous thought and I take their learning as an incredible responsibility. Making a choice about their education means selecting the route we believe will help them thrive in the world tomorrow. So yes, it’s important for it to be a good fit now but if it doesn’t help them then what’s the point?

I’m raising little warriors to change the world one day. I’m not f*ing around here.

Here are links to a couple of my favorite “why we homeschool” posts.

  • Ree Drummond, yes The Pioneer Woman, that Pioneer Woman, is a homeschooler. And her post on why she and the Marlboro Man homeschool is spot on for me. She starts off by stating all the wonderful preconceptions people have about homeschoolers:
    “I forget that before I made the decision to homeschool, I always pictured homeschooling parents as denim-jumper-wearin’, no-fun-havin’, no-social-interaction-gettin’ fruitcakes who rap their children’s hands with switches if their cursive writing doesn’t have the proper slant.”
    And then this sweet gem, “I do sense a real connectedness that has formed in our household over the past few years. There’s a sense that we’re a team, that we’re all in this together, and that any learning that needs to be done around here is a group effort.
  • Simple Homeschool is one of my favorite blogs and this post on how one mom’s  reason to homeschool “comes down to a knowing feeling—a conviction that this is the way life should be” speaks right to my monolingual gut. And while it seems her gut is speaking to her too, she points out some very valid reasons, as well, including –
    “We thought it was silly that our then-first-grader spent time each week in public school devoted to filling in bubbles on a test page. He and his classmates were practicing for the standardized tests they would have to take in second grade.”

I’m not anti-school. I’m pro-learning in all it’s forms. 

So now you know.

 

 

 

I’m curious, what does your child’s education look like? Private? Public? Homeschool? Some other kind? I’d love to know what excites you and your child about their school experience, whatever that may look like. Tell me in the comments, why do you do school like you do?

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Carla

I’m writing to remember, writing to cherish, writing to breathe. I’m writing because it’s the only way I know how.

29 thoughts on “I Want To Homeschool My Kids

  1. I love your reasons for choosing the Homeschooling option. I will confess that I used to be in the “They’ll end up being weirdos” school of thought, but since moving to RI I have definitely considered it for my own children. For a couple reasons. I am not fond of the education I see here in the state. I talk to my husband and realize there is so much he was never taught in school, books he’s never read (or heard of) and he had a very, VERY negative experience socially. The kids in our neighborhood are NOT the kind of kids and young adults I want my children being surrounded by every day. In fact, some of them terrify me. And I hear from other parents in the area about how brutal the bullying is, how arts are an afterthought (if they exist at all) the “bad” kids are a huge distraction, taking time away from learning. If we still live here when it comes time for our daughter to start school, homeschooling will definitely be an option. Public school will not.

    Good for you wanting to raise your girls in such a wonderful, amazing and multicultural way!

    1. Thanks for the great comment, Sarah! Motherhood will do that to you – throw out the window who you thought you’d be as a parent. Good luck to you!

  2. I think that is a great decision! If I would have loved to homeschool my kiddies. Had we stayed in the States, I’m sure I would have. My kiddies attend public school here in Mexico. In a way I do homeschool them, because I’m teaching them English as a second-language and a little American history, which to me is very important because I want them to also embrace their American side.

    Best of luck to you in this endeavor! I know you do a wonderful job and your girls will love it. I look forward to reading more about it. 🙂

    1. Yes! Thank you, Mercedes, we’ve talked a bit about it and she’s a great inspiration!

  3. Wow, what a refreshing perspective on homeschooling! I, too, confess that my exposure to homeschooling so far has been the Duggars of 19 Kids and Counting and all their fundamentalist friends. I hesitated when you mentioned you wanted to homeschool your girls, but when you mentioned that you wanted them to retain their Spanish, my heart sang.

    I have 2 primitas in grade school who have barely been in the U.S. for 4 years and are already struggling to find their palabras, whereas it used to be the other way around. Now they are in school, and immersed in (what I consider) the poisonous environs of Hannah Montana, iCarly, and unhealthy body images. I want something better for them, but can’t do anything about it.

    YOU CAN. Amen, amiga! 😉

    1. You already do so much for them by your example as a kickass woman! Share your world with them, let them know about all the work you do and let them see what it means to be a real woman =)

  4. Hi

    I home school my daughter who is 10 now. I home schooled my older children until they were in 6th grade (they are now 26 and 28 and not socially messed up –big grin)

    My youngest that I home school has a diagnose of Autism. Before she was school age, I wanted to home school her. I caved due to her “disabilities” or is that different abilities? I put her in their inclusion preschool. She was mistreated by a temporary school staff member and for 6 months had behvaior typical of PTSD.

    I feel lucky that a combination of factors drew me back to home schooling.

    I home school now because I want her to be educated academically, socially, creatively. I don’t believe most public schools can adequately due that, especially for a “different learner”.

    My biggest struggle is I live in Westerly RI and most of the activities are in the middle of the state. The travel time and cost is a deterrent. So I work a little harder to find appropriate time for her to work on her social skills.

    As far as the social piece. I find even with what “I” feel is limited social opportunities she has soared socially. A child with a label that dictates she won’t. Love this post.

    1. Maria, Thank you for sharing your experience! We’re all on such unique and wonderful journeys. I love changing disabilities to “different abilities” so very true. Your children are blessed to have you as a mom who is so in tune to their needs!

  5. i love and completely understand the onus behind home-schooling. i was a classroom teacher for a couple of years, and i would love to re-visit the role of teacher in my own personal growth. i also think there are tons of detrimental things that occur in a “traditional” educational environment, especially for girls, that could be mitigated or completely avoided by homeschooling.
    but, i work. and i really value the opportunities and experiences that we will be able to afford for my daughter because of my job. i also think that my decision to work offers my daughter the type of example i want her to have – that of a woman who handles her own business and is an equal partner in her marriage and the decisions around her life. working forces me to continually educate myself, making me more aware of the world and better able to share my perspective with her.

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Piper! I totally get what you mean about the example you provide your daughter. Motherhood surprised me by kicking to the curb the kind of mother I thought I’d be. It redefined the kind of woman I want to be. I want to work. I want to homeschool. I believe I can do both. It will be interesting to see where this little journey takes me =)

  6. Take a look at Montessori Method of education. Totally different from traditional education. No testing. Focus on sensitive periods of child development and the absorbent mind of a child from birth to 6 years. Nurture and meet the needs of the whole child. Could be done at a Montessori school or at your own home. Good luck!

    1. I read so much about Montessori when my youngest was born and it really is incredible. Our home is loosely organized in a Montessori way and I’m inspired in many aspects of mothering by Maria Montessori and her work. Thank you!

  7. I´m not very familiar with home-schooling, but I respect all the parents who are willing to commit in this endeavor. You know what is better for your kids, and if you want to make a difference, I commend you.

  8. I know many people that home-school their children. Homeschooling your child is going to be a great experience for you and your child. I didn’t home-school my child because there were no opportunities to home-school her when she was young (She is 21 now). However, I did spend a lot of time teaching her, especially math — which felt like home-schooling.

  9. You take home schooling by the reins and take it away! I applaud you. I have a little boy who is 2 and 4 months, and I am thinking of placing him in a pre-school. He is an only child and never has interaction with other kids. This will be the perfect outlet for him.

  10. Excellent way to sell it!
    And you have to do what works for you…don’t need to convince anyone.
    Sounds like a great plan!

  11. CONGRATS!! from one homeschool mom to a future homeschool mom. I LOVE homeschooling! I made the decision when my hubby was enlisted in the army, we moved six time and could not imagine moving my little girl from school to school. I never looked back. I always say homeschool has no boundaries, life is filled with learning experiences.

  12. I went to public school until high school where I went to a private prepatory school. It wad also a boarding school but my mom made a sacrifice and moved us to MA to a town that was only 20 minutes from Andover (my high school). It was the best experience academically. One that I would never trade and would love to pass on to my (future) children. I am a former publi school teacher and know that few public schools can give the same, high quality education. If kids can get better from home schooling, I say, why not?!

  13. My mom started teaching me at home before I hit preschool. We would have regular sessions, and I had lots of dictionary related homework because I was losing my English. Then I was thrown into school and an after school program she created at my elementary school. My mom was big on education. I think that she would have home schooled us if she thought that was an option. I think it’s awesome that you’re doing this!!! Kudos to you!

  14. I have to say that one of the best years in my life was when I was in school. I like your reasons to do it, but I always see school as the example of the world and a preparation to the real world.

    1. I went to a traditional school and I loved my experience. I believe my children could thrive in any kind of nurturing, attentive learning environment but I also feel strongly that our education system was built to serve the industrial age and we’re no longer there. For my kids, I can’t think of a better school than the real world itself. Thank you so much for opinion! I love hearing from folks with different opinions =)

  15. I just pulled my dyslexic 7 yr old son out of school and started homeschooling about 3 weeks ago. He had already repeated kindergarten and was doing poorly in 2st grade. A parent/teacher conference revealed a teacher who was not only completely lacking in compassion, but also completely uninterested in ‘dealing’ with my ‘attention hog, overly dramatic’ son, who complained of not having any friends and not being ALLOWED to raise his hand in class. My child was left behind, clearly. He’s learning how to read with hooked on phonics right here at home with the one person that cares more about his future and his mental well being more than anyone else on Earth. <3 Homeschooling!

    1. Lisa, what a tremendous story! Sometimes life has it’s own plans for us. Big hugs and continued success on your homeschooling journey!

  16. I wasn’t home schooled but have seen some wonderful benefits in children that have by some dear friends. School systems can be so limited in what they teach. You are in total control of what your children are exposed to. If you have the time and resources to do it, go for it!

  17. This is so full of great info. it’s hard for me to break out segments, without copy and pasting your whole post! However if I have to choose it’s this: “Motherhood has been an exercise in connecting with my intuition.” Whether it’s homeschooling, diet, heath care, discipline, faith, all these are deeply personal choices. I don’t think you can or will go wrong if you keep listening and following your mother’s and women’s intuition.

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