As my first original post for rockyparenting.com I felt like I should take on the factor in my life that makes me unusual – I am a homeschooling mom. So, I am here to try and explain how I became an unlikely homeschooler and why in the heck I am still doing it.
My husband and I are both educators. We were both teachers. I grew towards the world of teacher professional development and he, well, full disclosure, is an elementary school principal. So when I grew frustrated with the path my son’s schooling was taking and chose to homeschool it seemed pretty divergent from the life we had been living which was, and still is, full of “school.”
You see my son has high functioning autism and the school environment was not working for him. It wasn’t about bad schools or teachers. He needed support that was unavailable to him. Now, would he have survived? Sure. But, I am not about survival – I wanted him to thrive. So I took a leap of faith – more like threw myself off of a cliff – and decided to spend a year homeschooling.
It was paradoxically the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. Originally, I planned to carry it out as an experiment for just a year. However, not only did I find that I loved homeschooling my kids, I actually found a few surprises I had not originally expected that came out of this new lifestyle I had chosen. So, what keeps me at it through the difficult work and added responsibility are these top 5 unintended consequences of homeschooling.
#1 Homeschooling is freedom. Imagine life without schedules. Imagine sleeping in. Field trips and park days weekly. Yep, it is a dreamy as it sounds. Living life on your own timetable, following the beat to your drum takes affect over time and yes; it is a pretty euphoric feeling. Homeschooling does not mean you are always stuck in your house, we actually have the freedom to school anywhere. The other side to this coin however is that you need to get yourself up and moving. You have to set that schedule somehow – or honestly, we would never get a thing done. I had to learn the hard way that doing three field trips a week is not the best schedule to follow but, wow, did we have fun those months.
#2 Homeschooling does protect your kids. Okay, I do know homeschoolers that chose to homeschool to protect their kids from things. However, I did not in any way attempt to protect my kids from the world we live in. This is not why I choose to homeschool but yet, it has happened to a certain extent. I really see the difference in conversations about current social culture. My kids, they don’t really know much about One Direction, Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber. Of course, they are well versed in the discography of the Pixies, Beastie Boys, Airborne Toxic Event, and Mumford and Sons.
#3 Homeschooling does mean you will spend lots of time with your kids. I worked full time as a new mom. I had a career and my precious mother did my childcare. She loved them as much as I did so, I didn’t worry. But, it would be a lie to act like I didn’t miss out. So, it is a little late in coming, I did the whole career thing and now I can claim being a stay-at-home mom. Things like nightly activities such as dance and swimming don’t take as much toll on our life as they would if my kids were out of the house all day.
Just a word to the wise, one of the oddest things people say to homeschoolers is – cue condescending voice, “Wow, good for you. I couldn’t spend that much time with my kids.” Yes folks, it’s as weird as it sounds.
#4 Homeschoolers can still access school systems. Being a homeschooling family does not mean you don’t school again or even that you only homeschool. There is a range of options out there that homeschoolers take advantage of. We participate in a program that has my kids in a school environment one day a week. Some of these programs are funded through local school districts, some are part of the charter school system and some are private. Essentially, my kids go to school every Tuesday, lunch boxes and all. They have classes with certified teachers, get to do art projects, perform in musicals, and dissect frogs. You know, the gamut. I use the day to work. Many moms use the day to breathe! There are also a host of online and hybrid schools out there, some right through your local school district. (I will link to some options at the end of this blog post).
#5 Homeschooling makes home a subject. My kids each have a laundry day. They put their own clothes in the washer, switch them to the dryer, and fold them. I don’t touch a thing. They do the dishes and make lunch everyday too. They have this home thing down. And, I get to spend more time focused on school and work part time because we share the household stuff. And, hey, when they are on their own, doing these things are going to be a breeze. I love watching them take responsibility over their own home and making it theirs too. In fact, my son enjoyed doing lawns so much he started his own lawn mowing business this summer. Now, he is learning how to manage money and bank accounts within a real life scenario.
So, while you will certainly hear more about homeschooling in my future posts, I just wanted to take this opportunity to lay it all out for you and maybe give a nod to some of the benefits that come with that lifestyle. But, truth be told, it is not for the fainthearted!
Northern Colorado Homeschooling /Hybrid Opportunities
- Greeley Options: http://www.greeleyoptions.org/
- LEAP School (Loveland): http://www.tsdleap.org/
- PSD Options (Fort Collins): http://options.psdschools.org/
- PSD Global Academy (Fort Collins): http://pga.psdschools.org/
- Frontier Academy Home School Enrichment (Greeley): http://www.frontieracademy.net/home-school
- APEX Homeschool Enrichment Program (Longmont/Boulder): http://apexhomeschool.wordpress.com/