When I first withdrew my eldest from mainstream school (in year 1) I told everyone that we would just 'see how we go' and trial it for one term.
It has now been over 2 years since we began our homeschooling journey!
It has quite honestly been the best decision I have ever made for my children and I believe that wholeheartedly.
This is why I can't go back.
I don't want to say that I will 'never' send my children back to mainstream school because no one know what the future holds. But the longer I homeschool, the more convicted I become of its importance and value for both our family and the wider community. The benefits of homeschooling are not only academic but emotional, spiritual and social.
- I LOVE having my kids at home.
I didn't have children to delegate that responsibility to a complete stranger once they turned 5. I believe God has entrusted my children to me and it is my responsibility to ensure they are nurtured, prepared and equipped for the life he has planned for them.
But, how will they learn to cope in the real world you ask? Because they are actually living it...now! In the absence of formal schooling my children are actually living the in the real world now. They go to the shops, to appointments, to friends and families homes, they clean, they cook and they work and play. The transition to tertiary study and work will be a smooth transition compared to the transition one makes from 13 years of institutionalised learning into the real world.
2. My children are thriving
Happy, confident kids are what all parents hope for.
Home is a place of safety and security and an ideal foundation for building self-esteem and confidence in who you are. There is plenty of time to be in uncomfortable, confronting environments when kids get older. When they are older they will have already established a strong sense of who they are and their value system as well as the resilience to confidently tackle life's challenges.
I take great joy in seeing my children happy and seeing them secure in who they are. I love seeing my older ones care for the younger ones, learning that family comes first and sticking up for their brother or sister in playground disputes!
3. My children are excelling academically
In our competitive, success-oriented culture where we push our children to breaking point (have you seen the mental health statistics for children lately?) this seems to be the most asked question. How do we make sure our homeschooled children are on parr with their school age peers?
Initially, this was my number one concern with homeschooling too. Now, what is more important to me is building my kids character and ensuring they are equipped with the right attitude and value system to live a life that contributes meaningfully to the world. I'm not raising them to impress others with their test scores but to be people of character and integrity that understand they are here on earth to use their gifts and abilities to give to the world and those around them.
Like most homeschoolers, my kids are way ahead (in years) compared to their same aged peers. But this isn't a competition and I take little joy in this. I'm proud of what my children have achieved academically but I know that they are not defined by academic success the way they would be in the school system. In our home, what's most important is that they work as part of a team, treat each other with love and respect and have plenty of opportunities for character development (cough, discipline).
4. My kids are WEIRD
My 4yo holds the door open for people ALL the time. He will wait if he sees you coming to ensure that he can do that for you even if he doesn't know you. People either comment and think that's awesome or they simply walk through the open door with eyebrows raised. It's certainly not normal 4 year old behavior.
My children know that manners are important and they say please and thank you to adults. They are aware of others and will often say 'sorry' if they bump into you accidentally. If you drop something and they see, they will pick it up for you. If they see a child who is hurt at the playground then they will go over to see if that child is okay and they don't push in on lines! I know this isn't unusual for many of you but I know that for these reasons, my kids do stand out from other kids.
Yep, they are 'weird' and I couldn't be prouder!
And so, our homeschooling journey continues..........