Monday, August 26, 2013

Why Homeschool for One Year? Reason...

In the next few posts, I am highlighting my best reasons to invest one year of your family's life in homeschooling.  Everyone may not be cut out for the full commitment of all school years, but taking a leap of faith for one year changed everything for my family.

Your kids will talk to you about school.

Before our one year homeschool adventure, it was like pulling teeth to get a detailed answer to: "What did you do at school today?".  Shuffling in the door, dropping book bags and heading straight for food, they answered, "Nothing much."

Nothing, but the world.  Nothing, but algebraic equations and the essay format.  Nothing, but the laws of gravity and the Declaration of Independence. Saying "nothing" implied: "Nothing you would understand, Mom.  What's for dinner?"

Today, after one year of my husband and I teaching our children everything from photosynthesis to the Pythagorean theorem, the kids spill everything.

"How was school today?"

"Mom, you're not going to believe what we did with Newton's laws of motion.  We performed two experiments, and oh! I need your help to make a balloon car that demonstrates Newton's law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Our fourteen-year-old shares activities and classwork never before surfaced in conversation.  She asks questions about math and listens to our answers (most of the time.)
Our twelve-year-old asks me to take him to the library to check out the next book in his current literary obsession and explains the plot to me in detail as I drive.
Our ten-year-old wants me to practice division facts while she enjoys her after school snack.  When she misses one, she listens as I explain different ways of getting the right answer.

So WHY does one year of homeschool get your kids talking about school?

1-They know you know about school.  Simple answer, but before we home schooled, our kids clearly understood that their parents went to school and even knew that we did quite well while we were there. But that was a long time ago.  What could possibly apply to their school world today?  After working day after day with the kids on everything from handwriting to marine biology, they have a deeper understanding of our knowledge.  They know we know and respect us more as a result.

2-They know you care about their education.  When we quit our jobs to dedicate one year of our lives to teaching and traveling the world, our kids registered the significance we placed on their education.  I'm not saying the only way children will feel you care about their education is through home schooling.  Obviously, many parents stress this importance daily in overseeing homework and attending open houses, conferences and PTA meetings. I simply mean that I discovered the quantity of time spent with my child over specific lessons in math or history created a bond between us that I never expected.  Their doubts or questions about what we expected of their learning disappeared.  They know we are willing to go to any lengths to prepare them for life on planet Earth.

Talking about school may seem a banal or trite reason to home school.  Some may say a whole year is an enormous sacrifice for such a minute accomplishment.  I know that one year helped me discover the joy in little things... like talking about school with my kids.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Reasons to Homeschool for (at least) One Year

My Two Cents
If you've read my blog, you know my husband and I quit our jobs and took our kids out of public education to homeschool and travel for one year.  Would we have liked to live this fantasy life longer? Of Course!  But life goes on... We must feed and clothe the children, as well as, educate them so back home we went- back to jobs, back to school, back to reality.

As our reality progressed, I realized we continue to reap the benefits of our one-year homeschool experience with our kids.  Our family's dynamics changed forever from that year of constant companionship.  Although our kids are back to the grindstone of public education and we experience the frustration of putting our kids development in the hands of others, I know we created a bond with them that will enrich our relationships for the rest of our lives.

Many parents have spoken with me about our experience.  The homeschool parents are interested in our travel curriculum, but can't believe I only home schooled for a year. (Their manners dictate they thinly veil their horror of us returning our kids to public school so they aren't rude- just a bit incredulous.)  Other parents are envious of our time off from work- wishing they had the funds to enable their family to take a year off with their kids.  I understand both points of view.  To the homeschool parents I say, "We wish we could continue, but we have to feed the kids."  To the public school parents I say, "We sacrificed a lot to enable our one year family sabbatical, but it was worth it."

Both sides ask me, "What's the point of home schooling for only one year?"  

The answer to this question is my platform for societal reform (Yes, I believe some parents need a wake-up call!)  I want to share with the world how our home school travels have shaped our family life.  

Stay tuned to read about reasons to homeschool for only one year.  Perhaps, your family life could benefit, too.