O turned 4 this year, and as some of you know, that means Junior Kindergarten in our province. (Yes, each province is different, and many schools only offer Senior Kindergarten). The idea of where our kids would spend the bulk of their time has been an ongoing issue since O was born (as I’m sure it is for most of you). We are not well off, and as I’ve mentioned here before, have taken a decent financial hit (if that’s even true considering the cost of childcare?) to keep our kids out of daycare. Unfortunately that meant me returning to work after my leave was up (for O and E) and B working shifts around my schedule. Not ideal, but it meant one of us was always home with our children. Worth it. Now, I’m happy to report that B has a good job, and is working super hard, which is allowing me to stay home this time around. This brings us to Kindergarten. The choice to homeschool or not has been in our thoughts (and conversations) for awhile now. The pros and cons weighed.
We chose homeschool! Now I’m not going to sit here and make grand promises of how perfect it’s going to be. What I’m going to say is that for these two years of Kindergarten, we are going to try. When our next school year ends, we will sit down and evaluate this again, and then make a decision as to whether or not O will attend Grade One in a public school. I will say, I’m feeling really good about what we’ve accomplished thus far.
The big con, or so people would have you believe, is “social skills”. That somehow a life of homeschooling equates to never leaving the house or interacting with other children. There is a rumour that homeschooled children grow up to be socially awkward adults, but let me ask you this: How many socially awkward adults do you know and how many of them went to regular school? Exactly! Some kids are naturally shy, some are naturally awkward, regardless of where they went to school. On another note, do you want to teach your kids social skills or do you want other kids to do it for you? There are so many opportunities (clubs, groups, classes, neighbours) for our kids to socialize and make friends, not being able to do it at school does not sway my decision in the least. And yet that still seems to be the go-to argument people have against homeschooling.
Another “con” people seem to have is that they won’t be able to attend college or university. Absolutely untrue. If done properly, our kids will have the same opportunities any other kid will have. I’d like to think that all home educators have done their research to get the most out of homeschooling. I certainly am. (And FYI, even if you homeschool through elementary school, your kids can still attend high school later down the road. You just have to make sure they’ll be on par with their classmates.)
We are still in the researching and learning phase of this endeavour, and we (as a family) are learning every day. I can’t prescribe to one teaching/learning method and am instead reading about all of them and putting together the parts that make the most sense for us. The parts I liked about school, the parts I wish I’d had in school. The tools I think would benefit each of my children. As a home educator I have the “luxury” of catering to their different learning needs as we move forward. Not only do I look forward to sharing my own knowledge with them, but I relish learning with them as well.
Although I truly love doing all of this for them (and for me, it is worth the time and sacrifice) there is a purely selfish aspect to it. I don’t want them to be away from me all day. I don’t want to miss their milestones, to miss them learn new things, to miss their picture day. I want to be there, involved, with all of it. One day they’ll be teenagers. Worse, one day they’ll move out, and I don’t want to look back and regret not spending as much time as I could with them while they were still young enough to want me around all the time! I also feel that it is my calling. I’ve always wanted them. Ever since I was a little girl. I always said I’d have 4 kids and we’d play school all of the time. It’s what I was meant to do, and it brings me such joy. Not to say there aren’t hard days. I mean they are 4 and 3. Sometimes I just want to bonk their heads together! But over-all it’s pretty great! I know how many parents wish they could have this opportunity, so I never take it for granted. I’m grateful everyday for this life (even on the multi-time-out days). This is my career of choice, and I’m working really hard at it.
We are just getting started and I’m already enjoying it. It will be even better when Baby G is old enough to participate. Stay tuned for more posts about our homeschooling activities in the new year!