This is the time of year when I ask myself why I chose to home school my children. It’s the middle of summer. It’s time for swimming, hiking, attending the fair, and playing in the yard. And here I am, sitting at my desk ordering our supplies for next year’s schooling. Although I love teaching and cherish being able to give this gift to my children, I must admit that I’m a bit worn out. I don’t really want to jump back in yet.
I love the freedom of summer. I love watching the kids experience the world by catching fireflies, chasing grasshoppers, and admiring butterflies. I cherish the time we spend reading, just for fun, while we sit on the porch swing eating popsicles. I’m so glad the kids get to go camping, hiking, and maybe even fishing. Nothing in the world beats watching them play on the tire swing under the great big tree in their grandma’s front yard. Summer is a time for getting dirty, staying up a bit late, eating good food, and visiting family and friends.
Is it any wonder that I wouldn’t want this to end?
When people ask why we home-school, I can’t give an easy answer. Obviously, we want to do our best for our children. For us, home-schooling provided some very compelling benefits. Though the choice was not easy, it was clear that we were ready, willing, and able to shoulder the responsibility of educating our own children. We knew that we could provide a rich and inspiring learning environment. Our children were already thriving here at home. We felt certain that we were doing what was best for our family.
And so, we jumped in.
It was strange, new territory at first. I was nervous about schooling my little girl and keeping up with her three younger siblings. I worried about what other people would think about our decision. Eventually, all the questions were answered and our family fell into a happy routine that year. We survived our first year and began to prepare for our second year and our second student.
It was in this second year that I began to love homeschooling our children. With the kids a bit older and a year of learning already accomplished, we jumped into that second year joyfully. Of course, there was the regular seat-work kind of learning, handwriting, math practice sheets, and the like. But, there was something more. We found such delight in exploring the world that year! We went to our local park, where the many of the trees have identifying signs. We spent the morning exploring those trees. We drew pictures of them, traced their leaves, looked for bugs and animals that might be using them for a home, found their seeds, and felt their bark. We even ate their fruit when we found a tree with ripe persimmons.
I knew then, that there was something more beautiful about homeschooling than I had realized. So, we took every opportunity presented to us to continue this kind of learning. We dissected the shell-less egg our chickens laid and then researched it on the computer. We went for a hike at a state park. We explored nature centers, the zoo, Old Settler’s Days, and our own garden and back yard. We decided to learn about our bones, so we felt our bones and painted a picture to show where they were, then we did a little research and labeled them. One night, we just sat around the livingroom, listening to the stories of great-grandpa Tuck. The learning has been rich, rewarding, and beautiful.
And so, with summer coming to an end, I won’t be too sad. There’s a freedom that will be gone, no doubt. But, there is another kind of freedom that comes with homeschooling. I know that we’ll be learning together, exploring the world around us, reading great books, doing math games in the car, and going on learning adventures. With the chore of ordering supplies completed, I might just be getting a bit excited about beginning a new year of learning with my little ones!
To the other homeschoolers out there… Are you getting excited, too?
I’d like to offer a way to share your experiences this year. Would you be interested in a Saturday Link-up to highlight the best part of your home-school week? We did it once last year, a Saturday School Show and Tell. It was so inspiring to see how other homeschoolers are learning. Keep your eyes open this fall… We’ll start sharing in late August/Early September. Hope to see you there!