I was feeling more stressed out and anxious about in-person school than ever before. Adding to this, were the ever-changing school safety precautions. After a year of virtual learning, my brain was telling me to send my three girls to in-person school because it was “the right thing to do”. But my heart was questioning this every step of the way. Will the girls be safe during this never-ending pandemic? Will my shy, anxious middle child sink or swim in a traditional school setting? Will my youngest daughter’s preschool teacher be able to help manage her type one diabetes? There were more questions than usual this year and even fewer answers.
After some quality rage cleaning, I grabbed my cup of warmish coffee and started researching school alternatives. This is where I found homeschool. I read blog posts and articles, I talked to some of my homeschool friends, I even talked to strangers about their experiences. The more I learned, the more I was hooked. What started as a quest to find a safer school alternative for my immune-compromised family became something so much bigger.
Here are the 5 reasons I decided to homeschool this school year.
1. Fostering a Deeper Connection
When my oldest started Kindergarten, I felt a shift in our relationship. Instead of connecting and enjoying our time together, I was walking on eggshells as I tried managing big feelings. I wasn’t sure if my heart could handle my middle daughter walking along a similar path. Homeschool gives me the opportunity to have one-on-one time with each of my girls. And because I’m learning and going on adventures with them, our connection to each other grows stronger.
2. Starting The Day With A Smile
During the traditional school year, I pushed the girls through their breakfast, hounded them to get dressed, and then rushed them out the door so that we could make it to school on time. No matter how much we prepped the night before, the start of our school day was always stressful. Now, homeschool starts at 10 am. No one feels rushed, the girls get to play together before we start school, and best of all, our days start with a smile.
3. All The Outside Time
It doesn’t matter what season it is, you will find my family walking our dog, playing at the local park, and exploring our neighborhood. With homeschool, we can take our studies outside no matter what we are learning. Reading our books on a picnic blanket in the front yard and taking our science lesson to the nearby creek are daily occurrences. Swimming and soccer have become our recess and the great outdoors is our classroom.
4. Pursuing Their Passions
The girls love reading, math, and the arts. With homeschool, we get to choose what we learn about. Did one of our books bring up a topic we don’t know much about? Let’s follow the rabbit trail! As one of my favorite Peloton instructors, Rebecca Kennedy, says, “The most curious people go on the greatest adventures”. As homeschoolers, we get to be curious and learning is an adventure.
5. Holding Onto Childhood
My three girls have the rest of their lives to grow up and be adults. Right now, they need joy and wonder. They need to make messes, experiment in and explore nature, and learn about math as it applies to daily life. They need movement and most of all they need fun. Homeschool gives us this chance to hang onto childhood just a little longer.
I’m sad that I unenrolled the girls from public school. Part of me grieves each day. I would be lying if I said I didn’t second guess my decision all the time. I know my oldest misses traditional school and I miss the things I had planned to accomplish while my girls were in school. But when I look at what my girls and I are gaining along this homeschool journey, I’m empowered. Every day is hard and inevitably someone cries. But I am finding that this journey is synonymous with the journey of motherhood. So I’m taking it one day at a time and reminding myself that I am enough.