Why You Should Consider Homeschooling
On Christmas, my daughter Elise turned thirteen and I still can’t believe we’ve both made it this far.
First of all, I never wanted to have a child, and when I got pregnant I somehow couldn’t bring myself to have an abortion and adoption was totally out of the question due to my own issues with parental abandonment.
I had Elise as a single mom when I was twenty-three, and I had no idea what I was doing.
Then, she presented with a number of disabilities that made this parenting journey even harder.
When she was born, I felt unqualified.
When she was diagnosed, I felt totally lost and inept.
I think I went into a haze for a few years after her diagnoses, lost in the uncertainty of our futures, downright afraid of our futures, and during that time I started to lose touch with what was going on with her at school.
I knew she was being bullied and left out, but I had no idea how much she WASN’T learning in her special education program, so when it was time for her to start sixth grade I couldn’t let her go anymore — I decided to start homeschooling.
To say that this has been the best decision I have ever made for us is an understatement.
Elise is happier, free of abuse from other children, and I have my finger on the daily pulse of what she is learning because I am facilitating that learning.
We are now a year and a half into our homeschooling journey, and I have some thoughts and feelings about it I would love to share:
If I Can Do It, YOU Can Do It.
I have heard so many parents say “homeschooling sounds so great, I wish I could do that!” and sometimes their reasons are valid, but sometimes I think they are not.
I realize that if both parents work full time out of the home, homeschooling could be impossible, but if you have the fortunate freedom of being able to be home with your child all day, there’s no reason you can’t homeschool.
I’m not the biggest fan of parenting in general, and signing up for being with my child constantly while other parents send their kids off to school for seven hours a day was a hard choice to make, but ultimately, it was the right one.
Having my daughter’s education in my hands makes me feel more confident about her future, especially because she has special needs.
I have seen way too many kids get pushed through school without actually learning anything that is useful for their lives, and homeschooling gives me the opportunity to teach Elise the things I think are important for her, not what the state curriculum says is important.
It takes time, and it takes patience, but that’s why I say — if I can do it, you can do it.
It isn’t the coming up with the education itself that is the hardest part, it’s the facilitating of it, the making sure your child is up and working at a reasonable hour of the day and getting his or her work done.
Having patience is the hardest part, and if you have that, you can do it, too!
Homeschooling will bring you closer.
We have our fair share of fights over schoolwork, but for the most part homeschooling Elise has made us closer and our relationship better.
She has more respect for me than she did before when she was in public school and learning bad behaviors from other kids, and I have more patience and compassion for her because I see first hand every day where she struggles and where she succeeds.
Plus, it’s rewarding to see your child succeed and know that you had something to do with it, to see your child grow and change thanks to you, not thanks to a teacher that starts out a stranger and definitely doesn’t care about your child’s success like you do.
Having your child’s education in your hands brings a new level of depth to your relationship, too.
As you watch them change and grow, you get to pat yourself on the back for being the one to help make that happen, and it adds to that whole “parenting is rewarding” thing that people talk about all the time.
It’s rewarding to see your child grow and change thanks to your help, and yours alone.
Public (or Private) School Isn’t Right For Everyone
Like I’ve said before, my child has special needs, and that was the biggest reason I had for pulling her out of public school to take her education into my own hands.
I felt like she wasn’t being challenged enough in her special education program, and that they were just passing her through the grades without actually making sure she was learning what she was supposed to.
This can work other ways, like if you have a particularly gifted child who isn’t being challenged to their full potential.
Homeschooling means you get to decide every day what to work on and what is important for your child to learn — something that public school will never care about.
In school, you must be the peg that fits into the hole, but when you’re homeschooling you get to dig your own hole (in a good way!) and dive into whatever subjects you think are most important to focus on for your child to be the best they can be.
My parenting journey has been a bumpy ride to say the least, but I know that I made the right decision when I pulled Elise out of school to take her education into my own hands.