Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Why I Continue to Home Educate

Late last year I really lost my enthusiasm or energy to home educate. Towards the end of term three I was exhausted, suffering with anxiety attacks and basically had a case of burnout. Not because of homeschooling, it was just one more thing on my place. On the very last day of term I hit an all time low and even went so far as to enquire with schools about the girls doing their final term at those that looked good.

Unfortunately you cannot talk to many people when you are struggling with homeschooling. People who have never done it or really understand your reasoning for it see the answer as simply "well put them in school" and some homeschool people are quite the opposite. They somehow see it as though you are letting the side down if you even contemplate placing the kids in school.

I am lucky that I have a few very open minded homeshooling friends who listen, do not judge and see the merits of both styles of educating their children and offer calm and rational advice. Thanks Mere and Jo for listening and encouragement and helping me summon some energy to take on another term. Sometimes I think all we need is someone to listen to us moan and get it out of our system.

I am so glad that I didn't place the girls in a school, as even though I probably didn't do as well as I normally would that last term, I think I would have regretted putting the girls into a school on the spur of a moment and it really wouldn't have solved my problems. Don't get me wrong I am not at all anti-school, my girls may yet end up at one but, I don't want to jump in and make a decision just because I was having a rough time of things and needed some rest. It really wouldn't have made much of a difference to my situation.

Early this year I decided I needed to refocus on why I want to homeschool ...

1. We like being able to exercise in the mornings before we sit down to do book work. We can take a walk, bike ride, or play a game on the lawn if the mood takes. In winter we can stay warm and work out indoors.

2. I don't have to yell at them to get ready in the morning and be in a rush ... I am so not a morning person and whilst we do start work early we don't waste time with travel, etc. so I can have that little bit more of a relaxed morning and we can all sit down to a leisurely breakfast each morning and chat about the day ahead.

3. I don't have to kiss them good bye each day ... I love their little faces and would miss them if they were gone all day every day. They will be flying the nest soon enough so I cannot regret all the time we get to spend together in the meantime.

4. Our lunches are more healthier, not to mention taste fresh and we can even have hot meals. The children even take turns to make something for us all, so they end up being responsible for what they (we) are eating rather than what I send them off with. Life skills are as important, if not more, than subject mastery.

5. We can have pyjama days if we want to ... especially in winter!

6. If a curriculum or schedule is not working, I don’t need the principal’s approval to change it. Just do it and move on. Keeping the schedule flexible prevents burnout for both parent and child.

7. We can buy quality and funny school supplies and not fear them losing them at school. We can write in coloured pens and they can be furry, fuzzy, etc. not just plain old blue or black pens. 

8. I don't have to be involved in cake stalls, school fairs and other fund raising events. You get enough of those things at the extra clubs that kids belong too.

9. Because any day can be declared a school holiday.

10. We can focus on our education and do not need to consider other children's requirements or misbehaviour, etc.

11. I get to witness that moment when the light goes on in a certain subject or they master something. It's like watching them take their first steps over and over again. Why would I want someone else to witness all their firsts.

12. Because if my kids want to be quirky that's fine. We embrace quirkiness and individuality around here!

13. I want my children to learn to be community minded, and avoid learning mindless acts like standing in line.

14. I love that they can ask all kinds of questions without feeling ridiculed or mocked. I have noticed that young children ask a million questions a day and never fear being mocked but start to lose that after a while at school. I want them to think outside the square!

15. We can move at their pace and not have to wait for others to catch up, and they don't get dragged along before a subject is properly learnt. They can also be at any level in any subject and not have to be at the same levels for everything based on their ages. They can really move ahead in areas that they are advanced or have gifts in.

16. "We eat lots of nuts and because we have no allergies here, can eat them and any nut related products without any issues or warnings!" I saw this one somewhere else and it made me laugh!

17. Because the world IS our classroom; we can study at home in our school room, out on the tramp, down the lake, in town at a park, by the beach, at a museum or anywhere else for that matter. In winter we often lie by the fire in bean bags doing our work.

18. We can have as many living and quality books as we want and not just one old boring and dry text book and we don't have to do a lot of "busy work". IE copying lots of writing down.

19. Because we can use technology, like our lap tops, tablets, as much as we want to complement our learning.

20. I like that my kids are socialised in the truest sense of the word and not simply peer socialised. Socialization is a natural process that doesn’t require force.

21. Because I want my children to love reading and we can all snuggle up on the couch and still have family reads each day. I can excite and entice them by knowing their reading interests and loves.

22. Because the Papa doesn't work a regular 9 - 5, five day a week job. He can sometimes go weeks without getting a weekend off. Sometimes we take our weekend during the week to spend time with him and spend our weekend catching up on our bookwork. Spending time with their dad is more important than sitting in a classroom away from him for weeks at a time.

23. We as parents get to teach them about sex, drugs, etc. and not have someone else's beliefs and ideals imposed on them. I know my children best and how much and what they are ready to know. Just because they turn a certain digit doesn't mean they are emotionally mature to understand something nor is it better coming from a stranger.

24. Because I love that my daughters get to develop a strong and loving relationship, although there are still days when they bicker like crazy!

25. I can hire as many excellent and caring private tutors as I want to, to teach subjects that I may not be that great at. I need only consult my budget.

26. They can develop their own fashion sense not based on what everyone else is wearing. My youngest spent her first years at the school table dressed up in a costume! I had a mermaid, clown, princesses, spider man, fairy, you name it, arrive each morning. My favourite was when she started swimming, she would turn up in her bathers, goggles and swim cap!

27. Because we have met the most wonderful homeschool families, who have become dear friends. I am yet to come across a homeschooled child who is a bad influence on my girls!

28. Because we can cover subjects comprehensively that we feel important, like grammar, Latin, history, geography, physics, and cover them at any age that suits us.

29. Because they are not forced into using a curriculum that may be way out of date. I have heard friends say nostalgically that their kids have brought home books that they used to use. I am not really sure if I want my kids using texts that I did 30 years ago!!!

30. We can go on field trips when school is in, so there are not queues or packed places.
We can also travel to Australia or any other places during term, so the airfares and holiday prices are much cheaper.

31. Because I can focus on motivating, encouraging and boosting their confidence and less on assessing and evaluating, especially against their peers.

32. I can teach my children in a way to suit their specific learning styles. IE I have one who is auditory but my younger one is kinesthetic. Learning and teaching is not a one size fits all.

33. If we want to do a full day of history, or science we can have those days.

34. Because I am teaching my children to be independent and responsible for their own learning even whilst young.

35. Because we don't have to stick to a 9 - 3 schedule. I have know my kids to still be working on some project they've been enjoying when I've called them for dinner.

36. Because there is no bullying at our school! I know people say but they will have to get used to it but really do people need to get used to being bullied. I say NO! 

37. I don't have to buy them the latest fad or technology! Half the time they don't even know what the fads are!

38. Because as mature as they can be, they still retain a certain innocence whilst being at home.

39. Because once we finish work for the day, it is finished. There is no HOMEWORK or arguing over HOMEWORK, or spending hours doing HOMEWORK when they could be spending valuable time with their family or doing extra curricular activities!

40. And, most importantly because it actually works!


  1. Love your list, I'm tempted to print it out and hang it by my computer to help remind me on those bad days we all have.

    1. Good idea, there are days you think why am I doing this again? In my case the kids were fine, I was just juggling too much outside the home and something had to give ... which ended up being my sanity, which between us hangs by a loose thread at the best of times ... lol

  2. Great list, especially number 3, and I am glad things are relaxing again for you. Take care of yourself!

    1. Number 3 is a little scary actually as empty nest syndrome may mean much more to we homeschoolers as much of my life is centred around these little creatures. I am looking at trying to start to carve out something for myself (study, part-time work, etc.) so that by the time that comes I won't feel quite so bereft.

    2. I may end up driving to their uni's or places of work to get that little kiss though ... seriously pity my kids ... hehe

  3. Every one of those I was like "YES!!!". Every. Single. One. And yes - we also have those times when sending them to school looks like a great option, so don't feel alone and don't feel bad if it's what you had to do at the time. But I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the list :-)

    1. Thanks so much. Sometimes you need to sit back and take stock I think, or you start to veer off the track. I felt like I was off on another path, all by myself, and climbing a insurmountable mountain and wondering what the heck I was doing it all for. No end in sight and I was not enjoying the journey. I needed to pull back and look at the peak and seeing why I was doing it and whether I was taking the best and easiest path for us all and of course enjoying the journey along the way.

  4. I put my kids in school for the first time term 1 last year. They were 12 and 15. it lasted a term. (actually much less than that before we knew that we are homeschoolers). We did it because they wanted to try it, and now they know.

    1. My 9 year old is desperate to "try" school. The reasons she has given me are all about knowing some kids through local sports/youth groups and wanting to spend more time with them. I think it's that fear she may be missing out on some of the fun. We have negotiated an older age when we will re-evaluate the possibility with her to give me and her some time. We have suggested High School to the older one and she is like NO WAY I love homeschooling ... lol

  5. Lisa,

    What a wonderful list of reasons for keeping your girls home! I hope you're feeling better about things. Normally you exude so much joy. You really must have been having a hard time. So sorry to hear that.

    I read your strewing post a few days ago but didn't have time to stop and comment and now it's gone! I did love your table and the three pictures. That is such a good idea. I've only ever strewed one at a time but three would give the girls a real taste of an artist's style.

    1. Thanks Sue. My internet friends kept me sane at times, without realising it. ;)

      I hadn't meant to post that other post, it was still supposed to be a draft ... I have a lot of drafts. I do love my pics too; I think you do get a taste of their style and in many of the earlier artists, take Picasso he had a few styles throughout his life.


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