Saturday, September 8, 2007

Schooling my munchkins at home

So I'm getting the question a lot these days. I'm amazed at how much support I'm getting from some friends and family and how others question me in a way that says they just don't get it.

Truth be told, I've asked myself that question a time or two in this first week of school. We have an incredible school right down the street, they're already teaching Kindergarten. Why should I be doing this on my own? The first week of any new routine/schooling is never easy, but now I flounder around for the next few weeks, trying to get down the best schedule that includes teaching and entertaining my little chickens as well as challenging and giving individual time to my big one. Three different little people with such different needs. That's a big job for me...and I feel weary often, and wonder.... why am I homeschooling? So now, I'm developing a statement of sorts, the reasons that I've decided to homeschool. One of the interesting things about homeschooling is that people have such a variety of reasons for doing it. Ralph and I came to a place this summer that we had to decide if we were going to homeschool this year, and if so...why?

That was a real journey for me. I think it's oftentimes assumed that homeschooling is done for religious keep kids from what a the schools teach- what the peers teach (a good reason for me). But my major reason for homeschooling is rather, what we can offer here at home that public and even private schools cannot.

I was thinking of it like this:

I'm in charge of the construction of three homes. Very important homes. The most important projects of my life. I have all the supplies I need to build them myself. I can pour the foundation of the things of which I think most important. I can use the materials, the plans, the time that I see most important in building these. It's up to me, I can be creative and embellish where this project leads. I can put the time and care and energy into this that I want. I have the resources. I have the time. I have the interest and the passion and am working on the patience....why NOT homeschool?

My kids get to live real life. We have discussions about God, measurements, the solar system, what monkeys eat, as we sit, stand, drive and walk. We learn while living. Taking advantage of the teachable moments makes education more applicable. My boys get to, working in our garden, looking up bugs on the internet, making a grocery list, shopping, making books for loved ones, praying for each other, learning how to approriately behave in all of life's situations, and spending time, yes socializing, with kids of every age & adults.

It is also a well known fact that little boys don't like to sit in a chair...sit in a classroom for hour upon hour. I have the flexibility to say "Recess! Right now, everybody outside! Go see how many bugs you can find. I can teach in the direction that my kids love, indiviualize.

Relationships. My boys, they are each other's friends. Joey loves nothing better than to teach Eli new words, or explain a new concept to Nate. Nate loves helping Eli to master something new, and listen to Joey read. Eli loves to sit next to his brothers, singing songs about the days of the week or cutting papers to shredsy while we work on math. We are all learning how to work together. We are learning to give, and take in time. We are all learning how to live in the fruit of the spirit...really. God is working in me as I lead these young boys, gentleness, paitience, joy, kindness, self control....all these things I find in Him. I need it daily!

I'm a stay at home mom...I have the desire to keep these boys at home, if only for a while, I have the time and know The Source of the greatest endurance.

So for me, but only for me can I say, "Why wouldn't I homeschool?"

Now to those many of you, my friends, who's little munchkins are loving and thriving in schools, please know that , like many other parenting decisions, I see homeschooling as the best method of schooling for us. I have no expectation that y'all conform to my ideals....but that you do just what you know you should be doing....

"Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. " ~Galations 6:4&5


Zindra said...

Amanda- I don't know if you remember, but we're homeschooling as well... And I LOVE How you put into words the thoughts that many times I have struggled and tried to explain to others. Those boys are so blessed!

Christine said...

That was a fantastic write up! Thanks for sharing all your thoughts on homeschooling. I'm on board with you! The days are short and what a priviledge it is to be able to enrich and protect our children's lives in such a way. It's a huge sacrifice in the eyes of the world but to me it's a responsibility that God has given us(our family)to make a difference in the hearts and spirits of our children and for generations to come. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Gal 6:9-10

Shaina said...

You have such a gift Amanda-for expressing your thoughts and beliefs so well and a gift of patience (yes I think you are very patient) and of relating to these little ones. I love the construction metaphor, I relate completely. Just the other day I found myself explaining to someone why I am teaching our 9 yr old (boy!) to do laundry. I told her it is a gift to his future wife, I want all our boys to know how to cook, clean, teach, build and fix just about anything (like my husband). Who better to teach them than us?!

Makita said...

Beautifully stated and just our reasons as well. :)

Rita C said...

I love your explanation of why you're homeschooling! I didn't do that with my children, but I have great admiration for those who can and do. Yours was a beautiful account for homeschooling, and I know you are and will be wonderful with and for your children. I am AWED by you!