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Homeschooling. That words seems to provoke a wide array of emotions in most people.
Fear, anxiety, doubt, disappointment, and frustration are some of the feelings I’ve heard voiced — especially when so many of us were forced into doing school at home from last year’s school shut downs. But, what about the parents who actively choose to homeschool their children?
Are we just crazy? Or is there another perspective?
My husband and I are pretty untraditional in a lot of ways. From the beginning we knew we wanted to explore a different path to education for our daughter. We explored different options, but we kept coming back to homeschooling.
The reasons we chose homeschooling are vast and very individual, but here are a few:
- We reflected on our own education. What do we really remember from our schooling? What were our experiences like with bullying, learning, testing, and the public-school schedule?
- We realized education does not always equal learning. What was the best way to raise a life-long learner?
- There would be more one-on-on time for our daughter’s individual learning style. There would be more time to slow down or speed up depending on our daughter’s interest level and understanding.
- The people present most in our children’s lives have the most influence over them. We wanted those people to be her parents.
- Freedom to learn when, what, and where she wants. Freedom to travel and explore. Freedom to make her own choices in her day.
- Many different forms of safety.
These are our choices for our daughter. Every family has different circumstances and reasons to send their children to school, or to keep them home.
This is what is working for us right now. Our daughter is almost five. As she ages, her needs and wants may change, and we are open to what she would like for her future.
I know the biggest question is always the “s” word — socialization.
We believe that if we are active in the community, socialization comes naturally. We have witnessed our five year old interact with people of all ages. She has conversations with friends who are two years old and 80 years old. She is exposed to people of all ages, in diverse situations.
Homeschool looks very different in every household. Some families copy a traditional school schedule. Some families are more relaxed. Some families homeschool with online programs. Some families do not use a curriculum. That’s what is so exciting (and can be so scary) about homeschooling — the flexibility!
For us, for now, we are more un-schoolers/relaxed homeschoolers. We learn through our environment.
We make mud; we examine bugs and tree bark; we look for certain animals, insects, and plants. We count using gummies, we put our schedule on a real calendar, and we measure ingredients to cook and bake. We create fun science experiments, write letters and create art for our pen pals, and do color by numbers. We learn through what we are interested in. We have fun. We learn. We are constantly having conversations. We ask and answer 100s of questions on the daily.
The Homeschool Group
Once my daughter’s friends started to become school age and began preparing for kindergarten, she started to feel left out. She wanted to go to school, like her friends. I decided to start looking for a social group of other homeschool children, just so she would know other kids that also learn at home.
I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I created my own group. With the help of another homeschool mom, we created ELC — Encouraging Experiences and Learning through Love and Community. We are a Facebook group that meets every Thursday morning. All of the parents rotate planning learning events for the group of kids. We have met at parks, homes, fire stations, churches, state parks, and museums. It’s a great group of families. The group has introduced me to stay-at-home dads, homeschooling moms who work full-time, and some families that decided to go back to school.
Is homeschooling that beautiful day in and out? Nope! Nothing is perfect. Some days we watch movies all day. Some days we both have lots of fits and break downs. Some days there is lots of resistance.
It happens. We all have “off” days. I think it’s important how we respond to those days. I remind myself: She is only five. She is learning through this. She has the freedom to express her feelings and thoughts.
We are human, and we are doing our best in this situation.
We are all doing our best, no matter what type of schooling is best for your family.
I am excited for all of the schooling options that are now available. Homeschool groups,
homeschool co-ops (where you can take single classes), partial-week schools, and democratic schools are just a few alternatives.
What has been your experience surrounding learning and education?
Listed below are additional resources if you are interested in pursuing homeschooling further.
- The Brainy Bunch by Kip Harding
- The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart
- Free to Learn by Pam Laricchia
- The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey
- How Children Learn by John Holt
- The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud PhD and Ned Johnson
- Classical Conversations
- MC2 Homeschool Co-op
- Parker County Christian Home Educators
- Westside Association of Christian Home Educators
Homeschool Facebook Groups
- ELC-Encouraging Experiences and Learning through Love and Community
- Forest School Co Op of Fort Worth
- DFW Homeschoolers and Unschoolers Group
- Wild and Free DFW
- Weatherford Homeschoolers
- Homeschoolers of Fort Worth (and surrounding areas)
- Grace Christian Educators
Andrea is native to Fort Worth and lives on a family ranch in Parker County with her husband (Teo) of nine years and her five-year-old daughter (Piper). You can find her at http://www.minimalhomestead.com where she blogs about building a metal home while living in an RV full time! Andrea enjoys reading, writing, gardening, and road trips. She loves meeting new people and spending time with family and friends.