Saturday, February 21, 2015

Choosing Homeschool vs. Avoiding Public School

For many, the decision to homeschool is one they had figured out well before the kids were school-aged.  They actively chose to homeschool over sending their children to public or private school, from the start. For us, however, ours was a choice that came after school just made our son miserable, for years.  So, while we chose to homeschool, it wasn't the definitive choice of someone who believed homeschool was the better option. It was more of a choice of avoiding public school and trying out an alternative. 

After a little over a year of teaching Monkey at home, we can honestly say we are so happy with this decision and it seems to really work for Monkey. I love homeschooling (despite the difficult days of trying to keep his attention when all he wants to do is play around, or days where he's frustrated to the point of tears because he's getting so many math problems wrong). 

So now our daughter (Bunny) wants to be homeschooled.  She has actually done quite well in public school and has no learning issues and minimal social issues (I think just being a girl comes with having 'girl drama' with social relationships, in any setting!). She eagerly does her homework, does well on tests, thinks of her teachers fondly, enjoys being with other kids (she is the lone extrovert in our family), and enjoys the performances, assemblies, and school spirit activities that go along with school. So when she says she wants to be homeschooled, I hesitate to take her out of an environment that has worked so well for her. I don't think it's perfect, and she has had some issues over the years, but not to the point that Monkey did. 

Am I ready to join the camp of 'actively choosing to homeschool over public school'? 

So now we come to a choice again. Our reasons for homeschooling, have not changed and they would apply equally to her, yet this time, if we choose to homeschool her, we will be actively choosing homeschooling rather than avoiding public school. I know many people are passionate that homeschool is the only way to go, and they would never consider any other option, but I'm not one of those people. I think public school can be a fine option, although I do believe it's not perfect and has a its drawbacks, especially with the increased emphasis on testing, and increasing incidence of violence and bullying.  

Do I feel that confident enough that homeschooling has enough benefits that would outweigh the benefits of being in school? 

I think I can say yes, but I'm nervous about it. We would probably start in the fall, even though she wants to start this spring. I don't know if I'm quite ready for both being home with me, yet at the same time,
  • I look forward to having them both on the same schedule, without the constraints of school schedules and assignments. 
  • I look forward to Bunny having time to devote to her creative writing projects that she rarely has time for when she has all her school homework.
  • I look forward to spending more time with her and bonding with her the way I have with Monkey.
  • I look forward to field trips with both kids.
With one foot in the homeschool world and one foot in public school, I feel like having both kids homeschooled is yet another big leap of faith, a big plunge into the unknown...not as scary as the first time with Monkey, yet still a little scary to be completely cut off from the bus-stop chatter, the school-sponsored events, and essentially the community that is the majority in this town.