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Are you on the fence about homeschooling this year? We were too. These were some of the things that encouraged us to come down on the homeschooling side of the fence this year.
Maybe some of these will resonate with you, too!
Homeschooling is one of those fun topics where is seems like most people either really like it or really don’t, and often are very opinionated about it. I was homeschooled for four years myself as a kid, so really, I was pretty neutral about it.
I didn’t think it was for us for the longest time, because really, I whole-heartedly doubted my ability to teach our kids well. The went to a private school with teachers that loved them to pieces, and it showed.
It showed in handmade cards, gifts at holidays, and the way my kids talked about their teachers will love in their eyes and hearts.
The way they ran to them every time they saw them melted this Mama’s heart because I knew they were being loved when I wasn’t there, which every mom knows is absolutely priceless.
That is, until Covid.
In March, we got word that their school was closing its doors for the foreseeable future and going to a distance learning program.
I empathize with the teachers because we were literally there on a Wednesday and not there that Thursday. They had zero time to prepare and everyone was thrown for a loop.
No one knew what to do, what to expect, or really, which end was up. So we basically ended the year in Zoom calls 4-5 times/week and packets of worksheets.
The first few weeks was fine, even great. Joey took a few weeks off, I supplemented what the girls were learning with activities I found on Pinterest and educational videos, and, wait for it… I didn’t rip my hair out at the roots. The kids were learning, and actually excelling and just generally… I blew myself away.
That sounds incredibly arrogant and that’s not how I want it to sound, but I guess I needed a pandemic to show me that I was actually capable of teaching my kids from books.
The reality is, I teach them every day, it just was never “formal” learning.
After lots of discussions and research, Joey and I are opting to homeschool next year with the Abeka curriculum. I’m also planning on supplementing with a new program called Gather ‘Round which is a very cool concept and also very different style of learning from Abeka.
Ultimately, I think it’s going to be the best possible choice we could have made. I know other parents have had the same concerns we did with kids returning to school, so I’m sharing the benefits of homeschooling for us, this year.
Bear in mind, our kids are 5, almost 4, and 16 months and we had a global sickness that pushed us here. But I want to share my thoughts on this in case in helps other parents out there in the same predicament.
Benefits of Homeschooling in 2020
1) It removes anxiety associated with uncertainty completely.
I hate uncertainty. It helps me to know what’s coming so I know how to prepare.
This thing threw us for a total loop, but what was worse was that things were, and still are, changing on a daily basis. It’s almost impossible for parents to know what to expect a month from now when kids should be going back to school.
Whenever I hear “the latest” on what the schools are doing now because of new guidelines and yada yada yada, I just shrug because it doesn’t affect me or my kids anymore.
That sounds insensitive, I care what happens to others; but my point is the stress is not the same as it would be if I were thinking about my kids being affected by the uncertainty and not knowing how I should try to prepare them.
2) It will give stability and consistency that is so necessary in the formative years.
I’m blessed to have a schedule, which I have created, that allows me to be fully present for my kids more often than not. Blogging takes way than I ever thought it would and I never saw myself as a work from home mom, but by definition, I’m still an at home mom.
I made the choice five years ago to quit nursing school after I had Sophia so I could be fully there for her for all the times she’d look for me. That’s a personal choice and I’m not here to knock working moms. Some moms want to work or don’t have a choice, and that’s a different kind of mom hard!
We’re all just out here doing our best for our kids. I knew this would be the best for mine and now, I’m thankful that I have the ability to create consistency and stability for my kiddos on a daily basis.
My kids are 5, almost 4, and 16 months. They are all still in their formative years where the little things matter and small details can throw them off.
Every day is not the same, but they do have a routine, and I’m happy I’m able to give them that stability that I don’t know if the schools will be able to provide next year because they have so many different things going into their decisions.
3) No worries about kids being afraid or socially scarred due to masks and social distancing.
Again, my kids are little and this wouldn’t affect older children as much, but here’s the deal with little ones.
They read your face. They look to you for approval and to know if they’re safe. If they are worried, if they’re cautious, if they need a pep talk – they look to adults. When a parent isn’t there, it’s the next figure of authority: a grandparent, teacher, aunt, uncle, or what have you.
Kids need to see faces.
They need warm eyes that reassure them they’re safe and a smile to encourage them to try again. Kids look to adults for approval when they’re kind to a friend or accomplish something they’ve worked hard at. Or going the other way with it: they might need a stern expression to remind them of what they need to be doing, and so much in between.
Masks freak my kids out. They don’t like how they look. I have to imagine other kids feel the same way, and that fear or worry concerning a mask could very well impact their ability to learn, listen, receive and retain information.
Outside of the learning aspect, I don’t want my kids going about their day feeling afraid. I won’t have it.
On the same note, little kids are not capable of social distancing. They just aren’t. I know so many kids who are very physically affectionate, and even kids who are not that express love to their friends and teachers through hugs and holding their hands.
They would not understand why they can’t touch and I would even go so far as to say it could be detrimental to their emotional development to discourage affection when it’s craved.
4) Freedom to do more field trips and activities that will be gone in schools this year.
Obviously, we take our kids places anyway. But with the ability to leave and go places without being tied to a school schedule, it will free us up for more opportunities that won’t be offered in school this year.
All the activities and things kids look forward to throughout the school year is gone this year, but we can recreate many of those ideas at home.
We can have muffins, go to a farm together, or go to a museum any day of the week because why not?
5) No risk of uprooting kids in the middle of the school year completely – again.
In all honesty, I’d be very surprised if schools going back caused any outbreaks; but if it did, the first thing that would happen is going back to virtual learning.
This goes back to consistency, because that puts my kids at risk of being totally uprooted in the middle of the year… Again. I don’t want this to sound distasteful, but when you’re paying good money for your kids to go to an awesome private school, it’s discouraging to continue paying tuition only to teach them yourself.
If they’re already homeschooled, hey, cool. We’re home anyway and it won’t disrupt the schedule we’ll have in place by then.
6) It’s much cheaper.
Private schools are not cheap and we did feel that it was money well invested into our kids.
That said, it was roughly 7.5% the cost to homeschool them versus private school them. Yes, you read that correctly and I did the math to bring that number to you. Hey, Algebra, been a while!
With those thousands of dollars being freed up for the foreseeable future, it’s going to give us the opportunity to really work on some debt for at least the next year. Holla!
7) It doesn’t have to be indefinite.
For us, it feels right to look at it on a year by year basis. Maybe next year things look way different and they return to school. Who knows?
You don’t have to do it forever! It might just be the best choice for this year, and that’s okay!
8) Schools are concerned with the bigger picture than your specific family.
Ope, I said it. I’m from the Midwest and I’m going to say “ope” forever. I can’t stop.
I say this because I realize there is far more that goes into decisions made for entire schools than I know. They are thinking about the big picture; literally hundreds of families in most cases.
While they would hate it if five kids got sick… That’s only five. What about the other 495 families and how it affects them?
While if your kid is one of the five who got sick, it’s going to mean something else to you entirely. You are the ambassador and spokesperson for your family and other than God, nobody knows what’s best for a family than those families themselves.
You have got to think for your family first, always and how it will affect you on a personal level, because frankly, most other people are not going to.