Why We Homeschool
There are two reactions that I typically get when I tell people that we homeschool. They either tell me that they wish they could do that (but don't believe they can) or they exclaim that they could never homeschool. In my experience as a teacher, professor, and now a homeschooling mom, I have come to believe that anyone can homeschool. We all come into the homeschooling journey with our own strengths and weaknesses. We simply need to learn how to use our strengths to help us in our weaker areas.
I entered homeschooling with an extensive background in education. I hold a Ph.D. in Special Education, have taught in public schools and undergraduate and graduate teacher educate programs, and have led large scale national research studies. I have often worked with multiple children of multiple ages and multiple abilities. So the idea of teaching both of my sons even though they are three years apart and have different strengths and weaknesses themselves came quite easily to me. But I encountered other challenges. I quickly learned that some of the strategies I'd learned and taught others to use in classrooms simply didn't work at home. They didn't work with my own children who I couldn't say good-bye to at 2:00 every afternoon. I had to find a way to incorporate my strengths as a teacher with my weaknesses of learning a new way of doing things.
As my husband and I started our homeschooling journey, we read everything we could find about how to make it successful. You'll no doubt find countless articles about how to schedule your day, how to use a specific curriculum, how to plan your lessons, how to do it all. The truth is that no two homeschool settings look alike. No two use the same curriculum or have the same types of children or the same schedules. That is why we homeschool. We came to realize that our children needed something different than the "same" things they were receiving in the public schools. Do we provide that perfectly? Certainly not! But we have the time and the flexibility to make it work for our individual children and their strengths and weaknesses.
So, the truth is not that I homeschool my children. We homeschool together. They have taught me so much about myself as a parent and as a teacher. I've learned that I have a long way to go. And I have taught and challenged them in ways they weren't encountering in the public school. At times, homeschooling has helped us to grow closer together and at other times it has pushed us apart. But we continue to homeschool together. We continue to learn from one another and to challenge one another. Whether we continue this journey for one more year or for one more decade, I am grateful for this time we have had together.