Saturday, November 17, 2007

How We Got Here

As a family, we are not remotely who we thought we would be when we married. Kyle wanted three kids, I wanted four. (I guess we both got what we wanted!) I wanted to have our kids in a hospital with a strong epidural, not at home like those granola women! Education is one of many decisions that changed for us gradually.
I planned to work part-time while my kids were in private school. There are a lot of things we assumed we wouldn't do because, frankly, we didn't know enough about them. Private schooling is the norm among our friends. I knew about homeschooling, but figured that's how to grow nerds and geeks. Aren't all homeschoolers socially awkward at best?? Through meeting more home school families I learned that the children who were nerds were raised by nerds. It had less to do with homeschooling, than with genetics. (I'm being a little bit facetious, I hope you get that.)

One family that I really admired homeschooled their children. Their kids were very sweet, well-behaved and smart, but the thing that stood out to me was their relationship with each other. The siblings had such a close relationship; I was really impressed.
When I find out about some alternative way of doing things, I tend to research it and research it until I understand it. A lot of times, in the process of doing that, I begin to fall in the love with the concept. That's what happened for me with homeschooling. The mother of these impressive children gave me what she considered her homeschooling Bible: "A Charlotte Mason Companion" by Karen Andreola. I had never heard of Charlotte Mason and quite honestly the book overwhelmed me. I didn't read it all, but got the gist and liked it. I knew enough to know I definitely wanted to keep my kids home with me and home school them. In the middle of Elena's kindergarten year, I went back and re-read it. I loved the idea of giving our kids a broad base - a liberal arts education. I also loved the living book and narration concepts. I absolutely love to learn through reading, so I knew I could be passionate about teaching this way. If I don't enjoy teaching, my kids won't enjoy learning, and that was and is my ultimate goal. "A Charlotte Mason Companion" then became the guide for how we home school. At that point we began using Ambleside Online, a free curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own schools.

I originally thought homeschooling was weird because I didn't know anything about it. So I learned all I could. There are 101 reasons why we home school. We want to be in charge of our kids' education - not just to know secondhand what they're learning, but to be the one's determining what they learn. We want be the ones to give our kids' a solid Biblical foundation. We want to vacation when everyone else is in school! And the reason that drew us to homeschooling initially: We want our children to have close friendships with their siblings. (As an experienced homeschooler, I now know that close sibling relationships is a fairly consistent characteristic among homeschooling families.)

Although we definitely aren't interested in sending our kids to public school so they can be missionaries (Jesus's ministry began when he was 30, not 6 years old), we do not home school out of fear of anything. We home school because of the benefits.

1 comment:

Momma said...

I love this post! What a great idea! I think I'll follow your lead and blog about why we chose homeschooling! I'll link to you, of course!