People homeschool for eclectic reasons. When we began our homeschooling adventure, it took me almost until the end of our second year to actually be able to articulate our reasons. My husband & I knew homeschooling was the whisper we heard and trusted it’s sweet beckoning, but when asked, “why” — it was tough to answer. We were not bringing our children home for religious or special needs…we were not dissatisfied with public school. Our children, were doing very well in public school. Why? Why were we doing this?? Such a legitimate question that we wrestled how to answer for months! Luckily, we had a family that completely supported us. However, when people would ask me, “why” -I felt like a deer stunned in the headlights of an oncoming semi-truck, speechless…no words…I avoided people and questions for the first year like the plague! I kind of insulated myself and just put one foot in front of the other that first year. I replicated public school in our home ‘school room’ because it was all I knew – we had desks, calendar time, a flag for the Pledge of Allegiance and learned from textbooks. I was always anxious, worried, and not confident in my choices. I avoided being asked questions about homeschooling because I didn’t know what to say! I was not finding a blueprint for this very new territory. What I found out is this is so normal! It is a stage – a transition – disorienting and necessary.
Flash forward – after a couple of years of feeling extremely disoriented – like a small ship being bounced out in an ocean of waves of uncertainty, I am happy to say we were able to man the steering wheel, find our crewmates and begin not only direct our rudder, but open our sails and set a course! Finding our tribe and a couple mentors made all the difference for our family! When I let the ‘school at home’ paradigm exit my front door and allow homeschooling as a way of living to enter – everything changed. I would be lying if I said I never wake up in a panic that I am seriously screwing my children up for life, but I can say it happens less frequently.
I know in my heart I had to traverse the first two years before I could grow to this understanding. So, if you are new to homeschooling or considering it, I would just encourage yourself to trust yourself and stick with it! You will find your way…I stress YOUR way, because no homeschool or no family for that matter, that has children in ANY form of education can look the same! If we try, we fail. Each of us has our own unique family culture and we must honor and be kind to THAT family…not the one we see on social media or in the carpool lane or on the soccer field or at Target…just sayin.
So, if I was asked the question today, “why do you homeschool” – I think I can better form a response. I homeschool because I see home education as a vehicle to stop my family living a life I describe as a middle class suburban hamster wheel existence – I know it works for many, but it wasn’t resonating in my heart. I had to jump off…stop running and running…
I also know that losing my mother at a very young age and having an unstable dysfunctional childhood created a void in my heart that I understood, all to well, how life (your life, your spouse’s life, your children’s lives) can end quickly and how family isn’t always there.
Close, healthy families do not just ‘happen’ – they are created by intentional, present parents making choices to foster connection that hopefully carry the family together through the many seasons of life. The way Quinn and I were creating our family was ‘good’ – we were happy, but we felt a call for more…more connection, more time, more investment, a deeper dive in to being awake, alive and making learning an essential piece of living a conscious life. Hoping to nurture a family of life long learners, who are compassionate & kind and treasure every God given second we have on this planet together. We knew this meant we would have to make some drastic changes and some sacrifices to our lifestyle to make it happen, but we were committed.
I think what I have realized is homeschooling is not only about how you educate your children. It is change, a dramatic change, in your lifestyle. It is a commitment of epic proportions on many levels that swims against the ‘norm’. I do believe it is one avenue of many to help enrich your children’s education, deepen connections to family and instill values essential to heal the planet. There. I said it. That’s my answer and I am sticking to it (for now).
Please know, I say that with the highest regard and love for ALL parenting choices because everyone is trying to figure it out together – at home, in public school, private school, charter school, magnet schools, etc. we ALL want the same thing…happy, intelligent and connected family. We want our children to be their highest and best self. We want a planet that can survive our reckless choices of the last decades and raise better stewards of her care.
I have been delighted at the number of close friends of mine that have reached out recently to inquire about homeschooling being a possibility for their families. What delights me, is for every single one, it is not for the traditional or stereotypical reasons many homeschool (which is cool too!), but because each want something different…they want peace in their homes, they want connection with the children that their lifestyles are not allowing right now. They are disenchanted with the standardized-one fits all- methods used in many public schools and want to ignite learning in a new way…together. No matter what avenues we choose, and our methods will vary, I believe our bottom lines are very much the same…so, lets lean in and learn from each other and support the heck out of one another along the way!