In Which We Give Homeschooling a Try

Our family has taken on a new adventure: homeschooling. People often ask why we started. It wasn’t a decision we made against traditional schooling so much as against the harried lifestyle that it entails.

Our home life is a little more harried and busy now:

  • more dishes to wash,
  • more meals to oversee,
  • more creative messes to clean up throughout the day.

There’s also more people to repel from the screen for half the day—kids love to watch television!

What’s the tradeoff?

  • No afternoon pick up lines,
  • no homework in the evening,
  • lots of time for the kids to play together and time to play games together in the evening.

Then there’s my personal favorite: free babysitting so I can grocery shop alone. 

We still have one child in school. Our oldest son really wanted to go to kindergarten so he goes for half a day. He enjoys the prospect of a field trip and loves playing with other kids at recess. He also comes home and strips off his uniform and hangs out with the rest of the kids for the rest of the day. He balks at the small amount of kindergarten homework. We’ll see if he lasts past first grade.

I was interested in homeschooling before we even had children. When our oldest was ready to start kindergarten we had four kids under the age of five. At the time it seemed like an impossible task. However, I never stopped reading about homeschooling—not books so much as the actual practitioners of modern homeschooling. 

I’ve read Elizabeth Foss’ blog In the Heart of my Home since 2008 and I started reading Sarah Mackenzie’s blog Amongst Lovely Things not long after. These women and their real-life application of schooling amidst a large, busy family full of young children never ceased to inspire. I knew I would never recreate the calm, quiet atmosphere of a traditional school classroom. But I also knew that we had something that those classrooms lacked: siblings and books and flexibility and time. 

As most homeschoolers say, we’re taking things year by year. But so far I have totally enjoyed this break from the fast pace of modern school life. I could see myself forbidding any of the older girls from starting school next year if they had a change of heart. This might not be necessary, though, as I overheard a conversation they were having about a group they want to participate in “next year.” It was not a mistake where they meant to talk about next month when we’re scheduled to return to this group—I asked them to clarify. No, they insisted, they meant next year because, apparently, they don’t plan on going back to class either.