Friday, September 30, 2016

Reasons to not homeschool #2 - I won't be able to keep on top of the housework

This is a major concern.

Living in squalor is DEPRESSING.

A couple of thoughts on this.  If you would like to homeschool, but keeping some order and tidiness in your life has been the primary reason to NOT homeschool, I think there are some possibilties to look at.

Firstly, private education is expensive.  There's a reason for that.  It's expensive to run a school, maintenance, staffing, resources.  I'm grateful that we have the freedom to choose how we educate our kids, and education, whatever we decide for our family, is going to have a price tag attached to it, whether it's through taxes, treasure, time or talent.

Consider the cost: a minimum of  $300 per child per month on private education - there is some serious hired help available for that kind of monthly expense.  We don't need to feel guilty about getting support for whatever we need in our home life.

Paying for support isn't always an option.  Home education necessitates a parent being at in that case there are two ideas that, in my opinion, both need to be in place to make household order a reality.  The first is streamlining our homes, our schedules and our workload.  The primary deterrent  to getting anything done around the house is simply the amount of STUFF we are drowning in.

We actually don't need all the stuff.  Even if you aren't for a moment considering homeschooling, you will benefit from culling anything you don't use or that doesn't bring you joy - out of your life.

It's possible to do this without cracking up, even if you have a bunch of little kids.  Read "Sink Reflections" by Marla Cilley.  It will change your life.  One little step at a time.

The second idea is getting support for what we do.  Support takes on a lot of different forms, and while addressing all these concerns, I'll also address the forms of support and how we can get it.  In the case of housework, sometimes that means as a couple, when you sit down and make some decisions about your children's education, an honest conversation about what that looks like and what you might need to make it work is vital.

When our kids were small, my request was pretty simple.  I needed to have a shower and an empty dishwasher before he left for work.  Sometimes it's something completely different, but reflection and discussion of what our basic needs are can make a big difference when we make the decision to homeschool our kids.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reason not to homeschool #1 - I won't have enough time for all the children

Let's be honest.  Not like usual.

Homeschoolers are fecund.

Not every homeschooler on the planet will have numerous offspring, but I think it's safe to say that we reproduce on the high side of average.

Maybe it's because we don't have TV's.  Because we all don't.  But lets steer away from crippling stereotypes, shall we.

Of course, I don't know.  

Well, I'd like to make some commentary about this particular concern.  "I won't have enough time for all the children."  It's true, we don't really have enough time.  As in, there are always a gazillion things to do.  We have to make time.  We have to simplify our lives, creating space (both physical space, emotional space and space on the counter) - to do the things we want to do.  Like spend enough time with our kids.

Factoring time in our day to spend with our kids is pretty important.  Particularly when we are homeschooling, because we want them to have knowledge.

So when the question of not having enough time is the one that concerns us the most, there are a couple of important considerations.

  1.  What else is taking up our time, and how can we streamline.  Let's slot the family time in first and work all else around that.  
  2.  It's the "before going to school" years that children are neediest.  So, it can feel like having enough time is a huge challenge.  But once kids play more independently, have a few siblings (another small bonus to fecundity) learn to read, ride a bike, order their own books off of amazon, there will be days when you feel like you hardly see them except at meal time. 
  3. Children take up a lot more of our energy (read: time) when they are operating on a deficit.  Ongoing crises, upsets and misdemeanours are WAY more likely if their tanks are empty.  Focussing on positive interaction and filling their tanks BEFORE they are low means they are taking up way less time in the negative way.  Reading or playing together in a friendly environment nourishes all of us.  Picking up limp and screaming children from the floor and breaking up fights suck the life out of us.  It feels like a lot more time because it's so draining.  And because we hate it so much.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Reasons to not Homeschool, amended

Fall has descended on my household.  And on my lawn.  Life has picked up it's predictable rhythm and flow and it's comforting.  It's been eighteen months of little routine.

I'm grateful.

Over the summer I've been pondering the concerns about homeschooling.   Many times over the years, I've heard people say things like, "I would love to homeschool but I just can't."

If I have the opportunity to pursue that conversation, what comes up most often is "I don't have enough patience."  The good news is, neither do I.  

Ask my kids.  But it has all worked out okay, and none of us has died trying.  

But there are other reasons, too.
So I'm wondering about the can'ts.  Most of the time when we don't try something we'd like to do, it's because we are afraid of something.  In the decision to homeschool, I would guess the primary fears would be (not necessarily in order of importance...):

Having enough time for all the children
Keeping on top of housework
Having enough patience
Not knowing what to do at each grade level
Maintaining authority
Butting heads with the kids
Getting it all done
Self motivation
Having enough time for oneself
Passing on our own fears and inadequacies
Giving up a second income to make ends meet
Children will be inadequately socialized
The last one, I think, not a fear but a consideration - and a valid one.  "Children should be in school so that we can evangelize more effectively."  To be the leaven in the world.

Alright.  Let's get going on these.  My goal is not to prove that these reasons aren't valid, but to perhaps offer some perspective.  If we actually want to homeschool, there may be ways we can address these stumbling blocks.  

These are reasonable concerns.  But should they prevent us from doing something we'd like to do?   Probably not.

Am I missing anything obvious or subtle?  Let me know.  I'd like to chew on these topics a bit.