This weekend we’re heading to the Cincinnati homeschool conference, so I have home education on the brain. When I asked on twitter and facebook what you all wanted to know about our homeschooling journey, you responded. Today I’m covering WHY we homeschool. Stay tuned for details on the HOW.
Here’s something I never thought I’d say: We’ve been homeschooling our kids for 3 years now.
I never expected to be a homeschooling mother.
The seed was planted way back when we were first married, by sheer coincidence. Susan Wise Bauer was a college prof of mine, and when I found out she’d written a book–any book–I wanted to read it. When I was her student, I didn’t know she homeschooled her kids, or had been home educated herself. Her book was about homeschooling.
The Well-Trained Mind blew me away. It’s the de facto Bible for classical education at home, and it’s amazing. I had two big takeaways from WTM: I wish my education had been like this. And I want my kids to have an education like this.
Years down the road, when our firstborn reached school age, we did consider homeschooling–briefly. I liked the idea of my child being home educated, but I didn’t love the idea of home educating my child. (Are you tracking with me?)
Our local elementary school was among the best in the city, but we didn’t want our kid spending a whopping 35 hours a week there. Plus, my husband worked a nontraditional schedule then, and they wouldn’t see each other much if we sent him to any traditional school.
(You should probably also know that my husband and I are both nerdy-nerds. And really picky.)
We ultimately found an option we loved: a local private school that followed the classical model of education and had a unique shortened school week.
It proved to be a good fit; our son did great there.
Flash forward to New Years’ Day a few years later. I was hugely pregnant with baby #4. We had our second child’s kindergarten application ready to go; we thought she’d love to join her brother at the private school.
I was writing the deposit check when it hit me: if we kept on this track, we’d soon be paying private school tuition for 4 kids. That idea had never occurred to me until that moment.
It was working now, but down the road? We couldn’t afford it.
We’d always had homeschooling in the back of our minds but we’d always had a reason not to. But with that sudden (5-figure) realization, the pros suddenly outweighed the cons.
We decided to give it a try. We’d take it one year at a time. If we hated homeschooling, we could send our kids back to private school. Or the truly excellent elementary school down the road. Or we’d find some other solution that hadn’t appeared yet. One year at a time.
Our circumstances made it easy, or at least as easy as it was going to get: the private school is closely associated with a publishing house, and they were just beginning to offer boxed curriculum for homeschoolers: we bought the kindergarten package. It was $250–that’s a lot cheaper than private school tuition. They didn’t have the 2nd grade package ready for the general market yet, but they cobbled one together for us anyway.
That August, we started teaching our kids at a home. We had two students: a boy in second grade, a girl in kindergarten.
We also had a feisty 3-year-old and a 7-month-old baby.
We had very little idea what we were doing.
But we began.
What are you doing (or thinking of doing) for your kids’ education? If you don’t have kids, I’d love to hear your perspective on educational options.