As this 'school year' comes to an end, I can't help to look back on this, our first year of homeschooling, and be amazed! What a long, strange trip it's been. My apprehension, stress and worry that occurred this time last year (when deciding to homeschool) is completely gone and filled with happiness, calmness, accomplishment and bliss. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the right choice for us, but I had no idea HOW right this really is for us. I couldn't be happier about this decision.
But what about the kids? Aren't they missing out on socialization? What did they learn? Aren't they falling behind?
As far as socialization, they have never had so much social time as they have had this year. Not only do they get to play with and participate in sports and activities with their 'old' school friends regularly. We of course have neighborhood friends. And now we have a whole bunch of new homeschool friends!
As far as what they learned, it is far too much to list here.
But what I hope they learned is that living outside the box might be scary at first, but can be totally awesome! That their parents respect them as human beings. That they have a voice, and when they use it EVERYONE should listen. That you can go to the bathroom whenever you want without asking. That there is a whole world outside of school, with people who have nothing to do with school (contrary to popular belief). That they have choices in life and to choose wisely. They do not have to walk in a straight line with others. And there is more than one way to find an answer.
What did I learn this year? To TRUST! Trust my instincts as a mom to know what is right for my children. Trust that choosing a lifestyle that is a bit 'out of the box' is okay. Trust that learning occurs everywhere, not just in school buildings and worksheets. (clearly something I knew, but then putting your kids on the line for it is another story). I have learned that there are some amazing, incredible, creative people out there doing this and I have been blessed to meet many of them, work with them and call some of them my friends.
All of this is really just scratching the surface. There was so much more. And although you may not believe it, we NEVER opened a workbook, we don't own flashcards, we RARELY sat down formally to do work, and we did most of this in a child-centered, hands on, exploratory way. We did not have to drill and practice or test. And many of these topics or concepts were addressed because THEY showed interest and wanted to learn it.
With summer fast approaching, many of you will have children staying home for the summer. And I know it seems daunting to 'entertain' them all summer. I challenge you to try some of the things we did this year. Do a mini homeschool session. Try it out. I think you'll be surprised at the results. Don't frame it as 'school work' because you will get resistance. Show them that learning can be fun. After a while, they will be asking you for more. They will come up with their own ideas for experiments and learning activities. You may learn that homeschooling isn't as overwhelming as you previously thought. But even if you don't end up homeschooling, you will give your children a richer understanding of what they learned in school. And possibly create an enthusiasm for learning that wasn't there before. Either way, it's a win!
So for those of you who have followed me on this journey, I want to
say THANK YOU. I truly appreciate your support and feedback. For those
who are considering homeschooling or unschooling, I say give it a try.
It has been absolutely amazing. I cannot wait to see what the next year