We are in our sixth year of homeschooling. I can’t believe that we’ve been doing this for as long as we have, and that homeschooling has made us all grow so much as a family. Here is a glimpse into our homeschool journey.
How we made the decision to homeschool
We decided when our oldest son was fairly young that we would homeschool. The current state that we lived in was changing and creating some new legislation that would impact our local schools, so we decided there and then that our son would be staying home. We also move frequently due to my husband’s military career, so homeschooling helps us keep that one aspect of our kids’ lives the same while they experience so much change.
When it appeared kindergarten would be around the corner, I had been researching for months already and just couldn’t decide what curriculum I wanted to use. I had tried joining a local homeschool group while my son was preschool age and, although they did allow preschool age families to join, I didn’t exactly feel welcome to be there with my preschool age son, who was also an only child at the time (DON’T be like that! Please welcome these sweet families into your local groups! You will help them in ways that you can’t even imagine).
The start of our homeschool journey
Since we lived in California at the time he was starting kindergarten, we had the option of a homeschool charter school. These schools allow you to choose to homeschool 3-5 days a week at home, and get all curriculum from the school with public school funding. This sounded great to me, so we signed up. Within a few months, I was already adding in different curriculum than the school was assigning and, little did I know, our eclectic homeschooling journey was beginning.
After kindergarten, we mainly stayed a part of the charter school for additional charter funds. It paid for things like karate and baseball, so why not? We weren’t following much of the curriculum that they gave us at this point. My son loved his “teacher” that we met with every six weeks, and actually cried after our last meeting with her! It was so sweet.
Finding our homeschool groove
Starting my son’s second grade year, we went all out and became independent homeschoolers. We thought a move was coming (and then the military laughed and laughed and just sent my husband somewhere instead), so we didn’t want to be a part of the charter school any more. We also had no need for them outside of the additional charter funding, so we left. Ah, freedom! Becoming an independent homeschooler was so freeing.
Since our third year homeschooling, my methods of teaching have gone from traditional eclectic to relaxed eclectic. I saw how having such a strict schedule of things we “had” to do squashed my son’s love for learning. Our days would frequently end with either me yelling, or him crying, or both. That’s not why I was homeschooling my son. He deserved more.
I feel we have finally started to find balance. (It has only taken five whole years of homeschooling, but we’re getting there!) I know and understand my son’s learning methods. I know what he needs, what he doesn’t need, and how to help him achieve that best. I’ve also adjusted all of this with the beginning of my youngest son’s homeschooling. I’m not putting too high of expectations on him. It has been so much easier on me, and so much more enjoyable for him!
Homeschooling has become a way of life for us. We try to find teachable moments in the every day and enjoy our time together as a family. People ask me if we will homeschool forever. Although you can never say never, and never say forever, I can’t ever see us stopping. It has become a passion of mine to not only homeschool my kids, but to encourage other families in their homeschool journeys.
How has your homeschooling journey changed over time? Join my online homeschool community and let me know, or drop a line in the comments.