Monday, August 19, 2013

Homeschooling: What I Need From You

That's right. Uncle Sam's here. This just got real.
Ok, no it didn't. He's not really here. But now that I have your attention...

School is starting up again. Remember when we were kids and we didn't start until, like, September?! Kids these days are starting in August! I feel like every year I'm surprised by school starting, taken aback by the sudden influx of school buses and crossing guards.

This year is a little different. This year, technically, Esther would be starting her first year of school. She's five years old and would be going to kindergarten. This is brought to light even more by the fact that my super cool nephew, who is the same age as Esther, is starting kindergarten and my other, younger yet still cool, nephew is also starting preschool. The kids at church who are her age are also going to school. Esther is not.

It's no surprise to most that We are not sending her to school. It's been the long talked about plan for years now. I have a good friend who once told me to find someone with awesome kids and ask what they do for schooling, and so we did! We did look into options in our area, but in the end decided to keep her home. We've even dabbled in some 'school' work here and there, mostly games and nature hikes. We've been following more of an 'unschooling' theme as of late, meaning we've been riding her waves of questions and discoveries. Sometimes we look stuff up on the internet, generally YouTube to find some crazy video (the last being of a cicada killer as we have one or two who have made our yard their home). Sometimes I come up with some sort of activity to investigate a certain subject (She wanted to know more about states because we live on the boarder of two states, so every time we cross, we talk about it. We've checked out flashcards, maps and atlases). I'm not at all sure what schooling will look like for our family at this point. I've done a lot of research, talked to a lot of homeschooling families. Preliminarily, I feel like we'll continue on an unschooling path, weaving in some work books, activities, and scheduled events here and there for a while yet. I think we'll be ever evolving as the children grow.

The big question is: why? I'm not homeschooling because I think the system is messed up or anything crazy
like that. Although I had a hard time throughout school for various reasons, I do know multiple people who loved school and I can appreciate that. I think that teachers have a special gift and the families who chose a traditional schooling setting, for whatever reason, are doing it because they feel that is what's right for their child(ren). And that's why I'm teaching my children: I believe that's what's best for them. 

What does this mean for you? Really not much:

1. Support. Please know that so much prayer, thought and research went into this decision. It's not something on a whim, not something because the 'cool kids' are doing it, not something because I want to show off or prove something. It's something that we feel is truly right for our family. I want my children to have the support of those around them as well, I don't want them to feel like their different or some how less than their peers because they don't 'get' to go to school. We need you to support our decision to do what we feel is right for our family.

2. Understanding. Please understand that our schooling decisions and ideas are ever evolving. We believe that schooling for each individual child may look different; most likely it will. At some point, our children may attend a traditional school, or not. That doesn't mean we've abandoned our values or ideas. I talked to a mama who sends her children to a really great Christan school. She said that each year, they pray for each child and make a decision from there as to what to do with them. I don't think it's a coincidence that even in the tightest of years, the Lord provides the finances necessary for her children to attend the school that He has for them. Another mama sent her babes to traditional school when they asked to go, one of which went for a while and decided to come back home for another year and try again the next year. Again, I don't know what our schooling years will look like for Esther, Abigail and Lydia. But I do pray that they will be directed by the Lord. We need to you be understanding as our plans and goals change with each individual child.

That's it! And in return, the same to you!
What does schooling look like in your family?


  1. Great post! I especially love number one. And two. Okay, I love them both. But I so get you in that you have no point in trying to "prove" something. It never occurred to me that people may think that, but you're right, they may.

  2. And also, on number two-- we have a family we're friends with who also went back and forth in and out of private, public, and home schooling depending on the children's academic needs and personal desires. I appreciate the flexibility allowed there.

    A wise homeschool mama once told me, "Take it one year at a time." She told me that at the beginning of each year, tell yourself you're going to homeschool THIS YEAR. And that's all you're committing to. For now. I really love that.

  3. Hi Sarah! My wife and I just got done checking out your blog and had a quick question. I was hoping you could email me when you get the chance. Thanks! - Cam