Friday, July 22, 2011

Testing the waters

We are going to try homeschooling this year since Max misses the cut-off for kindergarten by only 4 days and we can't exactly afford pre-k since we're paying out-of-pocket for our homebirth (TOTALLY worth the money, but still).  And with us heading into our first winter here in Alaska, I want to keep him stimulated and entertained especially since the baby is due to arrive sometime in December and I won't exactly be sledding down any hills or climbing in and out of snow forts (but I'm sure Daddy will definitely partake in those activities).  Overall I'm very excited about the idea of homeschooling, especially ever since I started researching the benefits.

Most of my motivation to homeschool the kids is academic.  I believe one-on-one time is very important to the success of a child, and unfortunately in many schools the teacher-to-student ratio is so high even the best, most well-meaning teachers can't possibly give each child the personalized attention they may need.  If I choose to homeschool I'll be able to devote individual attention to my kids which could result in a greater understanding of the topic at hand.  Also, when a family chooses to homeschool they have more choices as to what their child can learn.  Does your child have interest in learning a foreign language at the age of 7?  No problem!  They don't have to wait until middle or high school to do so, or fit it around regular school work.  I love the flexibility that comes with homeschooling, especially since my children will be free to further pursue the subjects they are truly interested in, and will also have more time to do so since homeschooling takes up a fraction of the time it takes when in a formal setting.  Much time is used transitioning between classes, taking attendance, reviewing, collecting assignments, passing out assignments, making sure everyone is caught up, disciplining, etc.  It really does add up!

Other, non-acedemic reasons include:  being able to go on vacation during non-peak times of the year, having help around the house during the day to get chores done (especially once they're older), not having to worry about when my husband receives PCS orders & whether it conflicts with school, being able to visit family/friends regardless of the time of year if/when my husband gets deployed, giving the kids the chance (and time) to pursue their own interests, and not having to worry as much about our kids being burnt out.

Please don't get me wrong, I don't think my children will be miserable failures if they attend public school.  I in NO WAY look down upon or judge any parent who chooses public school as their child's means of education.  I am immensely grateful to be in a position where I even have the option to forgo a career and homeschool my kids.  My husband and I have thought and thought (and thought some more) about what we feel is best for *our family* and this feels right to us.  And if we find that homeschooling turns out to not work for our family, we'll change it.  Nothing is written in stone, and I know that as long as we are involved, supportive parents our children will thrive.  Overall I'm excited about this year, especially because there is no pressure whatsoever to commit.  I say bring it on! :)