Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Homeschooling, and why we do it...

If someone would have told me five years ago that I would home school my daughter, I would have laughed in their face. I have many friends who home school their children, and I just assumed they were born with an extra dose each of patience, love, organization, and desire to spend all day, every day, with their kids. I was pretty sure I wasn't one of those people. And for the record, I'm not saying that I am. 

When a friend asked me what I was going to do when Isabella started preschool, I quickly responded, "sit at Starbucks and read a book." Get them in the nest and then kick them out as soon as they are age appropriate, right? 

Well, I've changed my tune (a bit), and I know some people disagree with homeschooling, and some people think I'm just plain crazy, and some people are fully supportive of the idea. 

The idea to home school Isabella came about when my husband and I couldn't agree on what to do about schooling. He is pro-private, I'm pro-public (for the most part), our bank account is we looked into homeschooling, found a curriculum that we both like, and there you have it. I also felt like full-day Kindergarten for a five year old was a little extreme. On top of that, I felt like the past two years have been devoted to Isaac, and that I'd lost the fun that Isabella and I used to have together, and I wasn't ready for her to be gone all day. 

Homeschooling definitely has its challenges. We are with each other all day and Isabella tends to talk all day and I don't like to talk very much, so that can make some days harder than others depending on my patience. We're also working on dealing with Isabella's lovely "I'm five and want to be fifteen" attitude, and lately we've been able to respond in a calm way, send her to her room, and she can come out when she is ready to apologize and change her attitude. (I can't say we responded calmly as of a couple weeks ago). But overall, we really enjoy homeschooling and spending the day together, and we feel it is working out well for our family. Isabella is learning a ton and I get to be a part of each step. At times I worry that she is missing out on the "school experience", but then I remind myself of all of the other things she would miss out on if she were at school all day. This experience is tailored to fit her needs and interests and I think that is pretty cool. I thought I would be really strict and stick to a rigid daily schedule, but trust me, if my kids are playing happily and engaged in what they're doing, phonics can wait. No one will die if we do it an hour later than planned. If she is struggling to remember an addition fact, we just spend a few extra days focusing on that, and work with teddy bear counters and find ways to make it interesting. 

Yes, we do follow a curriculum and you can find what we use here. We have really enjoyed this program and feel that it covers all the bases, and plan to stick with it next year, for first grade. This is a Christian based program. That was important to us, and it is also the same curriculum that a local homeschooling program (2 day/week at a school) uses that we are looking into having her attend in the future. 

What about socialization? Aren't you afraid she'll be really weird? Well, judging by the hours each day that she spends talking to herself, she'll probably be weird. Just kidding! Socialization is the least of my concerns. I mean, come on people, we see people every single day. She has story-time two days each week, playgroup, ballet, indoor soccer, play dates, Sunday School, etc. If we lived deep in the woods with boarded up windows, and avoided all human contact, well, then I could guarantee she'd end up being weird.

What about Isaac? What does he do while you work on lessons? Isaac is usually sitting with us. Depending on the day, he is the class clown or, the class tormentor. If he is having a particularly crabby day and I can't distract him with anything in sight, he watches a show. Lately though, we've tried to have our school time during nap time, and that has worked out really well. Next year, Isaac will be in preschool four mornings each week, and the plan is to get everything done while he is at school. 

You would probably be surprised by the number of people homeschooling these days. We meet new people each week who are homeschooling, and their reasons span all across the board. 

We're taking this year by year, and when it no longer works for us, that's when we'll make a change. 

It looks like I'm choking Stella, but I promise she's enjoying this embrace.

 Bible time

Making a birthday card for my mom

Watching The Muppets after a disastrous lunch and grocery outing (Isaac believes all restaurants are plotting against him and the perfect time to start screaming is when the food comes to the table. Especially if it is a really small, quiet restaurant, where everyone can stare at you angrily while you scream.)




  1. Dear Sierra,

    I think homeschooling is working well for all of you. The last two and almost a half years has been tough, emotional, stressful and full of appointments. You all deserve this slightly slower pace to be together. Your only 5 years old only once. This time all of you have together is precious. Isabella is learning so much and I know Isaac is learning a lot too! He has made such amazing strides this last month.

    As parents we have to follow our hearts and do the best we can for our family and that is what you and Butch are doing for your family. No one knows what your life is like until they walk in your shoes.

    Love and support to you Always,


  2. Lovely post :) Obviously I love all that you wrote about homeschooling, but I think my favorite part of the whole thing is the two pictures of Isabella "fishing" for Isaac. They play together so well (at least in your pictures they do! :)).

  3. They do play really well together. Walter and I were just talking today about what a wonderful big sister Isabella is.

  4. Hi Sierra,

    Today when Isabella was here and Isaac was at his appointment. I was talking with Isabella about Isaac and she told me she didn't think he wanted to go to the appointment. I told her he was lucky to have her for a sister and she agreed and said she likes that Isaac is her brother and that they love snuggling together.

    They are very good together and she gets Isaac!

    The best thing we can do as parents is to help our children accept each other and to realize we are family. We have to stick together through the good, the bad, the hard,the ugly and wonderful times we will have as a family.

    Love you,