It’s official: we kicked off our adventures in homeschooling this year with Mark, our firstborn.
Can’t help it, I think I have the sweetest, happiest, most eager student in the whole wide world attending my school. He is so eager to learn and do his schoolwork that while we officially started last week, we’re almost a month into our school books because he couldn’t stand waiting a day longer.
We are doing a very low-key lesson plan this year. Each morning after our walk/jog with the triple jogging stroller, I try to get everyone out of the house for a park day, play date, field trip, or trip to the library. Then after lunch when my younger children go down for their afternoon naps, Mark and I crack the lesson books for about half an hour, and then we read, play games, and he does crafts or puzzles on his own quiet time while I knock out household chores.
I must admit, I’m enjoying homeschooling way more than I expected. It’s pure joy to watch him learn, and to be front and center to witness the daily progress, each little victory and the elation he feels at each new accomplishment. This time with just the two of us, learning together in the afternoons, is such a gift. I want to savor it as much as possible.
Since we’re out and about most school day mornings, I get asked about our school choices for Mark quite a bit. And that’s led me to reflect on the core reasons we chose to give homeschooling a try this year.
Why are we homeschooling?
The answer has little to do with religious reasons or financial reasons or academic reasons or any of the other very good reasons to teach a child at home. Honestly the main reason we wanted to homeschool is, in a word, togetherness.
I’ve only got one shot at Mark being 4 years old. And I want to be a part of his day, as much as possible. I want his siblings to be a part of his day. I want him to experience life to the fullest, with lots of adventures and a wide array of experiences, in and out of the classroom. I want it to be full of fun, faith, and lots and lots of family togetherness.
As a 13 year veteran of homeschooling I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the greatest gift homeschooling was in my life was my relationship with my siblings. It wasn’t the curriculum, it wasn’t all the free time that provided amazing opportunities for hobbies, work, travel, and adventure. It was the togetherness. Memories that I’ll have my whole life, relationships that have been forged through learning, playing, fighting, arguing, reading, and all sorts of craziness. Together.
A year ago when the renowned Ann Voskamp wrote about sending her firstborn off to college, and what she felt as a mother on that day of goodbyes, I think my desire to homeschool my little ones was cemented in my heart. Because it’s true – we’ve only got one chance with our children, and it’s our job as their parents to make the most of it. For my husband and me, homeschooling seems like the best fit for helping us make the most of this one chance.
If you have a moment, there are two blog articles I’m dying for y’all to read. The first is Ann Voskamp’s How to Really Send the Kids Back to School and Out into the World . So many deep and profound insights in this piece.
And the second is from my friend Susan Husband, who wrote Giving Our Kids the Best Gift of Each Other. I can testify that every word Susan wrote it true, because it’s exactly what I’ve experienced with my own siblings. I think one vital component of the sibling closeness Susan describes is the fact she chose to homeschool her sons. Homeschooling forges relationships – friendships – between siblings in a truly unique way.
My greatest hope for my own sons is that they will experience this same closeness and friendship, with their parents and with each other, forged through these days of togetherness.