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The next question up on deck for the TOS Blog Cruise is “Why did you decide to homeschool?”
While homeschooling might have been laid in my heart when P was still a preschooler, we went down the path of sending him off to our parish school. The first few years were fine with the occasional issue (mostly behavioral as in testing out bad ones at home.) But, then 3rd grade arrived and problems were quite apparent. He struggled with the work and usually brought most of it home to do. Many afternoons would have him arrive home already exhausted and having complete meltdowns over having more work to do. After what could easily be an hour of crying, we’d finally settle down to get his work done. What looked like 15 minutes of work to me would turn into another few hours before it was done.
As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, his grades went from being ‘okay’ to failing. His primary teacher was not willing to meet me part way on setting up a conference and didn’t seem nearly as bothered by shifts in his behavior at home and the precipitous drop in his grades.
After much prayer and conversations with friends who already homeschooled, we became convicted that we needed to pull P from school at the end of the year. R was in kindergarten that year and doing well. We let him decide about joining P in our new adventure in homeschooling.
Since that time in 2006, we have hit bumps in the road that have had us question whether we should still be homeschooling. But, each time a period spent in prayer has led to the conviction we should still be homeschooling the boys.
So, WHY do we still homeschool, even when there are days that the boys drive me to the brink of sanity?
The biggest reason is that we continue is that homeschooling offers learning customized for each child. While I do try to have the boys do things that will benefit them in the long run, I have also had the freedom to shelve something that just isn’t working. Last spring, P was starting to have fits over grammar. Talking with one of the contact teachers at our charter school, I came to realize that we’d covered the basics he’d need and could shelve the books for the rest of the year. Not everyone enjoys diagramming nor needs to go beyond the basics.
Another reason we continue to homeschool is that we’ve seen the negative influences of ‘socialization’ first hand. While some might consider this a path to isolating our boys from the harsh reality of the world (e.g bullies), we feel they get enough exposure through group activities and will be better off learning how to deal well with people of all ages now.
One that many friends would agree upon as well is the ability to integrate our faith throughout our days. While we are not currently using exclusively faith based materials, we can still begin our day in prayer and Scripture or opt to attend Mass during the week. If the boys were in school, they’d rarely have the opportunity to attend the Latin Mass at our parish.
I’m sure if I kept writing I could come up with many more reasons why we homeschool. Some are even more ideals (e.g. the boys forging strong bonds) than complete reality. And some are benefits we do not often take (e.g. vacationing during the off-season.)
Be sure to check out the TOS Blog Cruise page in just over a week to see what other TOS Crewmates have to say on this topic. I, for one, am curious to read their posts.