Our First Year Homeschooling in Review: Was it Worth It?
This past week, we wrapped up our first year as homeschoolers. That thing I said I would NEVER do? Well, WE DID IT.
WHY I NEVER WANTED TO HOMESCHOOL
Homeschooling was always a mystery to me. I grew up attending private schools. I never wanted to teach, and the mere idea of taking charge of my children’s education made me want to vomit. The only teaching experience I had was a couple years as a substitute teacher. I distinctly remember scrapping a 5th grade math lesson on probability one day because 1) I didn’t remember anything about probability and 2) it was before smartphones and Google–like, basically the Dark Ages. I literally told the class “yeah… we’re skipping this lesson.” Not my favorite teaching moment, ha!
The realest reason I didn’t want to homeschool was fear. Like many parents, I felt the weight of responsibility for my kids’ future even before I considered teaching them. I wanted my kids to be successful, less for the glory of God and more for the glory of my name, and that of our legacy. I wanted to leave the education of my children to trained professionals. I bought into the illusion that education = success = happiness. I internalized the pressure we put on parents [ourselves and others] these days, to not only right the wrongs of our own childhoods, but to ensure prosperity for our children. All of this translated to fear of the future, the unknown, and ultimately of failure.
Now, if I believe God’s words, then I believe that He loves my children. I believe that He will work all things together for good. And I believe that He is with me no matter what. All I need to do is trust in Him.
Fear has no place at the board room table, especially when it comes to making decisions that impact my children. And God has provided everything I asked for on this journey–guidance, friends, and support.
OUR HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM
We made a quick decision to homeschool, and there was really no place in our budget for curriculum, so I put together bits and pieces. The majority of the curriculum we used was found online, and FREE. I found curriculum for each of the 8 required subjects (for our home state), plus some materials to use for Bible classes. Here’s what we used:
Bible – Kids of Integrity (free)
Math – Easy Peasy (free online homeschool curriculum)
Reading/Language – The Good and the Beautiful (reading curriculum is free online)
Science – Mystery Science (free trial)
P.E./Health – Pinterest workouts, lots of games at the park, Health videos, and this e-Book
Art – Khan Academy plus various books on art
Music – Khan Academy (free)
PROS & CONS OF HOMESCHOOLING
- I got to know my kids on a more intimate level. Our relationship has deepened more than I thought possible.
- I get to see my kids blossom in an unrestricted learning environment.
- I get to plant seeds of faith and learn more about the Lord with my kids.
- We can stay in our pajamas if we want to.
- Pretty much every situation that occurs during the day is a learning opportunity.
- Socialization is as easy as you are intentional about managing your family’s social calendar.
- Since I am with my kids 24/7, I have to be even more intentional about making sure my own cup is filled.
- The costs of curriculum, co-ops and umbrellas, lessons, field trips, and supplies quickly adds up. I think homeschooling could easily cost as much as private school. This is where a budget comes in handy.
WILL WE CONTINUE TO HOMESCHOOL?
I have no inclination to stop homeschooling at this point, so we are headed into another year. I am relieved to have finished the first year. Everything about homeschooling is far less scary than when we began. I’ve already started planning for the next year, and I’m excited to see what God has in store for us. My son and daughter are happier overall, and way less anxious than they were before.
I’m not saying homeschool is a cure-all, or an antidote to the public school system, or even the right course for everyone. I know this is our path for the moment, but I can’t say with certainty that it always will be right for us. I will keep homeschooling my kids, keep seeking support, and keep looking for direction from God on how to raise up these kids for His glory. One front in front of the other!