homeschooling

Why I Homeschool [it's not why you think]

Let me say right off the bat that this isn't one of those posts you find on basically every blog with a homeschooler behind it. This isn't a post about all the reasons I homeschool my kids and all the reasons they don't go to big bad public school. My daughter has gone to public school, actually, and it was pretty great for the season our family was in at the time. Her teacher was absolutely incredible and so gracious with me.

This post was written to stand out and give a new perspective. It's the answer to the question I am asked over and over and over again. Sometimes in the straightforward way of "so, why do you homeschool?" Other times in the assumptive way of, "so do you homeschool because of all the scary stuff going on in public schools?"

This post is my answer. I'm sharing to enlighten you and to maybe resonate with a mom who feels the same way.

Some days, I don't know why I homeschool my kids. My why is elusive, and fickle, and moody. It runs away from me when I need it most, on the days when the baby is teething and the toddler forgets how to use a toilet and the first grader suddenly forgot addition, even though we've been over it with no problem at least fifty-six times. My why is unreliable.

I don't know why my why seems to be so important to everyone, and even to me. If a reason was the only thing I had driving me to do something hard, I don't think I'd ever get anything done because most days I really don't care, and would much rather binge watch Parks and Rec on Netflix than workout, or choose veggies over cheeseburgers, or sit with my Bible instead of sleeping for another half hour, or teach my kid how the freakin' English language works when I could send her to a pro who doesn't use words like "freakin'" for free.

For me there's gotta be something bigger than a reason behind doing hard things.

I know a lot of people have lists of Bible verses that point to home educating and scary headlines that point to pulling our kids out of school, and while that can all be very convincing, I just don't think it's enough to ever keep me going. Because homeschooling is the hardest thing I've ever taken on. Harder than losing baby weight or fixing a broken marriage or moving away from everyone I know and love. Homeschooling goes against every last pound of my flesh, and there are parts of it that really suck. There are days of it that have had me on the floor with wet cheeks and the word FAILURE echoing in my head, and there's no headline that can keep me going willingly without fail. I'm sorry if that makes you think I'm a bad mom, but I'm just being honest.

I homeschool my kids because that's where I feel the peace. Because it just feels right. Homeschooling feels like where I should be. And even on the days when I don't know how I'm going to keep from screaming my lungs onto the table, I know I'm where I should be, and I can step back and call it what it is- just a really really crap day. We'll try again tomorrow, because we can, because we homeschool.

I think I was led to homeschooling more by a why not than a why. I stay home with my kids, I'm not a total idiot (even with regular use of the word 'freakin'), and I have this strong feeling that my son, Leland, would be changed in a negative way if he were made to sit down for long periods of time five days a week. And so the idea crept in and sat for a bit, and then came the peace.

There are a lot of reasons to homeschool, and they're solid.

There are a lot of reasons not to homeschool, also solid.

I think we're made fickle and moody and panicked, and I think that's why we need peace as much as we need grace- to cover us and lead us to the right places. And I think it's okay if those places don't always make sense to those around us. Because without peace, who cares if everyone agrees?

And so here I am, with Amazon books on my coffee table and pencils crammed in the couch cushions- a homeschool mom covered in stereotypes and labels, doing the best I can one day at a time, following the peace.

A Typical Homeschool Day

Now that we've been homeschooling for a couple of months (we started late due to our cross-country move), I am able to answer all those questions of yours and give you a look into our typical school day. 

We do a four-day school week, and the days we do school vary week to week. Typically it's Tuesday through Friday, because... Mondays, but a lot of the time it's Monday through Thursday, because.... Friyay or whatever. I aim for four days, but three really solid, productive school days is okay too. This ensures that we move through the curricula at a healthy pace, and gives us lots of white space to play more or do more of what fits each day.

Here's a typical school day for us. I'm including everything in our schedule, even the things that don't have to do with school, in order to show you how we parents find time to do everything before and after home educating time. 

  • 5:30AM Alarm goes off for Brian and I. We throw on our workout clothes and mutter curse words as we head downstairs. We drink a bunch of water and wake ourselves up.
  • 6:00 Workout together (click here to hook up with my coach. She rocks.)
  • 7:00 I check my email and respond to blog messages, Brian gets ready for work
  • 7:30 Kids are allowed to come downstairs, they have a quick and easy breakfast
  • 7:45 Drive Brian to work
  • 8:10 I make myself breakfast and coffee, get Bella set up with copy work, then read my devotionals for the day (this one and this one are my all-time favorites)
  • 8:45 Morning devotional with the kids (we use this one)
  • 9:00 I rinse off, get dressed, and get the kids dressed
  • 10:00 Emmett goes down for a nap. Time to really dive into school
  • 11:30 Lunch time. Emmett is awake
  • 12:15 More school. We almost always get everything done by 1:30 or 2:00. The boys can play Super Nintendo, look at books, make art, play with toys, or be involved with school during this time. 
  • 2:00 Boys take naps. Bella has quiet time, usually drawing or painting. This is my time to work. I edit posts and photos, create graphics, brainstorm post content, tweak my web design or whatever is on the to do list for that day.
  • 4:00 Snack time
  • 4:30 Usually time to pick up Brian from work
  • 5:30 Cook, eat, and clean up after dinner
  • 7:00 Most nights, Brian starts the bedtime routine and I go to Panera down the street to get a tea and write until 9. A couple nights a week I stay home and help him, and we have in-home date nights

Here's a list of the schooling I aim to cover each day...

    • History/Bible story: we talk more in depth about one of the characters in our devotional or a specific time in the Bible. We look things up online and watch YouTube videos to help.
    • Math: one lesson per school day. We use this
    • Learning to read: Bella was not interested in learning to read until this year, and following the Charlotte Mason method, I let her lead what I teach with her interests, so we are learning this year with this book that I love. We do at least one lesson per school day. The lessons are simple and short, and Bella is ahead of the child this book is aimed towards, so some days we do more like five or six lessons. 
    • Language: we use this.
    • Read aloud: We are following the Year One book list from Ambleside Online, and currently reading Little House in the Big Woods. The kids are loving this book even more than they loved Charlotte's Web, so we'll definitely be going through the entire series. 
    • Reading Comprehension: this just means the kids drawing a picture of whatever we read in that day's chapter(s) to show me they were listening and understood. 
    • Recitation: As a part of her Language curriculum, Bella memorizes and recites different poems. 
    • American Sign Language: we are beginning very basic with this book. All three older kids are learning. 
    • Composer, artist, star, or nature study: Composer study is Tuesday, Artist study is Wednesday, nature study is Thursday. These days are interchangeable depending on our plans for the week. Obviously, if we have plans to get outside with our friends who lead us in exploring our new area on a Tuesday, we will switch the days. 
    • Outside play/explore (at least three days a week): we try to do a lot of school outside. We'll just hit up a picnic area at a nearby park or bring a blanket to a grassy area in the forest and do what other kids do in tiny desks. Charlotte Mason believed in the outdoors, and so do I. 

One other thing I will note is that I really try to have the house picked up, workout clothes laid out, and things ready for the next morning. It makes things

so much easier

 on me, and gives me a good start to my day. It also helps Brian get out the door on time. I find when the morning is prepared for, the day is pretty seamless. I shoot to go to bed by 10:00. I admit this doesn't always happen, as I am a night owl training to be an early bird, so I have more sleepy days than I'd like. 

I hope this is helpful and not as dull as it felt when I was writing it! If you have a question I'll always answer, so feel free to shoot me an email or a comment below. Happy homeschooling!