Let’s talk about education.
Because, really, could anything be more controversial in mom circles?
I guess we could talk about vaccines or media use or food choices or movies. I probably have less of an opinion about those issues, though, so I’ll stick with what I know.
I’ll also assume that I don’t know everything.
Most importantly, I’ll assume that YOU, regardless of your choice of school or non-school, love your children more than any other human on earth; that you make deliberate choices based on all the factors your family has to consider; and that you want the best for the people you love.
We have options upon options in this country for educating our children: public, charter, private, religious, homeschool, online school and probably others I don’t even know about.
Each of those options has its own set of choices within it, and the variations can be mind-boggling.
Finances, family situation and location help to narrow the choices down, but the search for the best option for our kids can still feel daunting.
For us, homeschooling has always been the best choice. Not the easiest, not the most agreed-upon, but the best choice for us and the decision we revisit year after year.
When we started this journey, my husband made it clear that we would take our children’s education one year at a time – that we would never just settle on a mode or method and turn on auto-pilot. He’s wise like that.
Throughout the years, we’ve seen the benefits of homeschooling and weighed them against the struggles. We’ve researched different theories, methods, and curriculum. We’ve changed things up mid-year to accommodate for areas of weakness, and we have stuck with hard things long enough to see them pay-off.
Homeschooling has been a good fit with our self-employed lifestyle and desire to have flexibility in our schedule. It has allowed us to do things like take mission trips and off-season vacations, to stay out late for volleyball games and still get enough sleep, and to just take the day off if my husband has a random day at home.
It’s been great for cultivating family life.
But who are we kidding?
Homeschool has also meant living on one income, by the grace of God. It has meant that all four of my kids are home together almost all the time, and I’m the only teacher.
It has required extra effort to get my kids involved in things that challenge and strengthen them. It means being self-disciplined and also humble enough to ask for help.
Some days, it means someone in the house might look longingly at the yellow bus – and I don't just mean me. My kids have made their own noises about greener grass.
So I won’t dupe you into believing that homeschool is all great books and wonderful investigation, snuggling on the couch and everyone begging to learn more.
It’s also not all denim jumpers and cargo vans.
The only thing I want to tell you is that you have options. I have friends who work and homeschool, others who split the homeschooling with fellow moms, and still others who use a mix of public, charter and homeschool for the children in their family.
I present homeschooling as one of many options and I feel pretty strongly about the benefits of it.
I also feel strongly that you are able to make a good decision for your children, and the way we choose to educate our kids is not going to be an area of division for us.
Do what’s best and be as involved as you possibly can.
The only thing I want to tell you is that you have options.