Unlike many lucky homeschoolers, I didn’t come at this job willingly. I was so focused on getting school to work for my children that it didn’t occur to me that there was another way. Then my daughter made it absolutely clear to me that kindergarten wasn’t where she belonged, and I had to find that other way.
Talking to people who always knew they wanted to homeschool made me realize how blind I had been. I had written about parenting for years, had read pretty much every book on the subject, and somehow the logic of homeschooling had eluded me.
So here are a few nuggets that many of you figured out instinctively, but a few of us slow learners need to have pounded over our heads:
1) Homeschooling is fun!
How many times have I been at some homeschooling event, gotten absorbed in the project we were doing, and after a while realized that while the kids had all gone off the play, the parents were still huddled around the project enjoying themselves immensely? Is there anything cooler than getting to do kindergarten (the fun parts) again? How about the first time you got to make a baking soda and vinegar volcano? Learning about all the fascinating parts of American history that you ignored the first time around? I’m not sure what my image of homeschoolers was before I started, but it certainly didn’t look so fun from the outside.
2) Homeschooling is a great way to figure out what you want to be when you grow up
I had done various things to make money, pre-kids, while always pursuing my vocation, writing. Once I started homeschooling, I learned so much more about myself and what I wanted. Raising kids and learning with them is a great way to remind yourself of the endless possibilities that are out there.
3) The best teaching is shared discovery
Long before I had kids I taught college English and really enjoyed it. But now that I have been working with my kids, I have a whole new perspective on learning. Teaching is not about imparting knowledge to someone else. It’s about going on a shared journey where the point is discovery.
4) I like my kids
No, I didn’t think that I didn’t like my kids before I was a homeschooler, but I wasn’t one of those moms who would say that my kids were my best friends. I enjoyed being with them, but I also thought that we needed our space from each other. Now that we’re together most of the time, I realize how great it is to be with my favorite people. We do have to work at giving each other the space we need, but we also all benefit from being together and sharing so much more of our lives. And as the mother of a teen, I can add yet another voice to that chorus of, “It goes by so quickly!” When I pick up a baby now, I can’t believe how many years have slipped by. So homeschooling is allowing us to take advantage of this short span of time and enjoy it to our fullest.
Suki Wessling is the author of this month’s featured giveaway, From School to Homeschool from Great Potential Press.