When I was a kid, the general idea about homeschool kids were that they were weird, anti-social and had crazy long hair. We as mainstream scholars never really mixed with those kids. In fact I distinctly remember hearing complete horror stories about homeschool kids that were all expelled from “normal schools” and could never function in “normal society”.
So imagine my complete reluctance when God started showing me that I should homeschool my kids. I kept hearing in all the actual voices of concerned people around me that homeschooling them would somehow change what God had installed into them. Kinda like when people have an issue with a boy wearing pink because heaven forbids he might go gay. Like in some strange freak accident the colour pink causes straight guys to turn into gay guys. It’s mind numbingly stereotypical idiocy! But humans being humans, I refused to listen to the Lord because chasing my own dreams seemed like the right thing to do.
I constantly told myself that earning more money, will benefit my children more than me being there. Growing up with very little money has in a few words “chipped my shoulders considerably”.
I used to measure success in money, granted, I still constantly have to check myself to not go right back to that idea of self-worth, but I arrogantly admit that I have grown.
My mom, as a single parent, worked really hard to keep our heads above water, and only becoming a parent myself made me realize how hard it was for her to not be able to give us every thing our hearts desired. Or not being able to be there for everything we attempted because she had to work. It’s such a precarious scale.
I respect the hell out of any mom or dad that works really hard to give their children a good life. And it is because of this respect that, not working, did not sit very well with me.
But as God doesn’t stop trying to show you His path, He was relentless in me becoming a homeschool mom. There were issues at school, issues with ADD meds (’cause we all know, that if your child doesn’t fit in the box, we medicate them into it), issues with my work, my bosses, my household…. I finally gave in when sitting with Xander one afternoon doing homework.
It was a regular day for us. I was working half day at the time for an accounting firm. Trying to juggle kids, work, home and studies. Xander wasn’t having a particularly bad day, but it took us 7 hours and about half an ocean of tears to get the basic fucking homework done.
We were broken! I was a wreck, yelling, begging, threatening, even physically doing his homework for him at some point. I was laying in my bed that night, thinking, praying. We all do that, go to bed early because we are so tired and end up just spending more time thinking about all the shit we haven’t done today, all the shit that still needs to be done tomorrow, and while we are at it, world peace, curing hunger, redecorating our homes, organising every one we love’s lives, the various careers we plan for our kids and how to lose at least 10kg before swimsuit season.
Once again, God spoke to my heart and told me… so are you done with YOUR plan now, and may I step in?
I’m not the best at surrendering, and it took me 4 years but giving in to God was the best decision we have ever made. Not only does he support us, financially in the craziest ways, but somehow he gave this short tempered, unorganized mom the ability to be good at homeschooling.
There will always be people, even those close to you, that will question the whole homeschooling thing. Even though it still pisses me off, I now understand that it just stems from ignorance.
In light of this, I would like to tell you what homeschooling is…
Firstly there are many forms of homeschooling.
1) Cottage schools are a small group of kids from different families that work together either with a specific syllabus or just in specific ideals.
2) simple homeschooling is where you as a parent teach your child with the help of a prescribed syllabus. There are MANY. Brainline, Impact, Cyberschool, Sonlig, Damlin, Cambridge… The list grows yearly. There are also a lot of free syllabus… Yes you are not reading wrong, this is not a myth. Easypeasy, Discovery k-12 and Khan Academy are only some of the many. You’d think that because they are free, that they generally suck.. you’re wrong.
3) eclectic homeschooling is based on unit studies. For example, you as a mom, decide that your topic is sonar. For science you will present a teaching on how sound travels, biology will be bats or dolphins, history will be submarines, and so on.
4) unschooling is … well, starting our journey, I didn’t understand this phenomenon at all. This mostly originates from how we were groomed into society. We all have some form of controlling issues. Some small part that needs the golden star at the end of the day. It took me two years to realize that homeschooling is NOT ABOUT ME! Unschooling is building confidence and character. It’s allowing your child to stop being forced a whole bunch of useless information and creating a hunger to explore.
I’ve unschooled, mostly because I was sitting with a child that had less than zero confidence in his own intelligence. Not born this way, but hearing from all channels in his life that he is not good enough, moulded this insecurity. I needed my child to know that his best, is THE BEST.
I’ve done eclectic homeschooling, trying to regrow an enthusiasm to learn. But after doing this for roughly 1 and a half year, the load honestly just got to be to much. There’s extensive research, planning, typing an reevaluating involved. Some of our friends still uses this for of homeschooling, to which I applaud them. Knowing in part how much balls they have for pushing through the lack of sleep to get their kids educated.
I am now homeschooling with a syllabus. (Discovery K-12). Before you start with a syllabus, be sure to do extensive research. What works for one family won’t necessarily work for another. This is such a trail and error process and can become very costly.
Breath, every mistake you make IS FIXABLE. Know that you will get your child educated in the exact amount of time (or less) than mainstream school would have done.
We normally start our mornings in very chilled out kind of way. Slowly eating, slowly drinking tea. Then we start with reading (yes, homeschool kids read). We, by that I mean he, writes an essay on what he has read and corrects any spelling errors before submitting it (and by that I mean me). Then we do some grammer… basic things like, conjunctions, prepositions etc. And some spelling. We carry on with Math and follow that with science. Art comes next and we round it off with some PE.
A whole days work takes us about three hours (grade 5/6)… so why, do you ask, does school last for 7 hours? That’s simple…. I only teach MY children. I can move at their tempo and their abilities. This opens up another window, that I hope most readers (assuming intelligence) have already identified…. We can finishing grade 12 earlier. Although alluring as this prospect seems, that is not our main objective.
It’s also completely possible to homeschool more than one child at a time. Our 1 year old runs around with the dogs, plays in the garden and chases bird while we work. He does PE with us and even plays piano (well his version of playing piano anyway). Little ones get demanding of our time, but when you have unschooled successfully, your older children will have the confidence to try and do their OWN work independently. This frees up your hands to an extent and allows you to find the balance.
So pro’s and con’s:
- You have control over what and how your child learns.
- You can do multiple grades in one depending on your child’s interests and abilities
- No one gives a fuck if your child writes like a doctor in the making (that might just be me… I’m still considering careers for him)
- No one will judge an oral or speech or essay purely on what the presenter thereof believes, experiences or feels.
- No uniforms … Most days we basically school in our PJ’s
- Expression of their own style and taste. We have a friend with the coolest blue hair.
- More chilled out lifestyle in general
- You become responsible for their social life
- The temptation of PC and PlayStation games
- No down time… ever …. really … never ever ever. Most people work to take an 8 hour break from the offspring.
- No privacy
- 100 questions and remarks as to how you are doing this to your child.
You will notice I didn’t mention sport or interactions with other kids.
Let me tell you a little secret…..
HOMESCHOOLERS HAVE SPORTS!!!!
In fact, we have many to choose from. Besides the basics that schools have like rugby, hockey, netball, tennis, athletics, cricket an so on … We also have parcor, gymnastics, archery, martial arts, trampoline, dancing the list literally grows daily! And as an added bonus we usually get it for a little cheaper as we do not have to stick to after school hours.
We have musicals, plays, excursions, socials, dances, parties, athletic days, talent shows, debates. We have science classes, robotics, world history … It’s a bottomless pool of information.
People always say that it’s good for kids to be bullied. “Hardens them up” …. are we really still going around a presumably advanced age with the mind sets of our ancient forefathers? Should we then not be teaching our daughters to marry young, and expect to be treated as an object rather than an equal? Or how about teaching children that their entitlement is only dependent on their race or religion.
Step into the fucking light already… It’s kinda beautiful on this side.
It’s good for a child to learn to cope in stressful situations, or handle peer pressure or know how to resolve conflict.. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a NORMAL day in my household anyway.
You, as a parent showed your baby how to walk… And no, it’s not instinctive… It’s instinctive to crawl. You teach your toddler how to speak, you teach your child morals and values… somewhere down the line, we were told that parents can’t teach and that’s why they need to be sent to school. I’m calling it… BULLSHIT.
Yes, I homeschool. Yes, my kids are a little weird (all kids are). Yes, it’s different…
Our journey is unique but it is not in solitude. Reach out, get involved.. You would be surprised how many homeschooling groups there are in your own backyard.
You wouldn’t even know … their very average looking, very social and LITERALLY live among the rest of the “normal” kids.