Backpacks: c/o Apple Park Kids; Lunch Bags: c/o Apple Park Kids
It occurs to me that I must not talk about homeschooling that much. When I posted about back to school over on Instagram last week, I was met with surprise. You homeschool? How? I always think it’s funny when we ask each other how we do it all. Because, we all do, in different ways. That mom carts her kids to all the after school activities. This one makes Pinterest worthy cupcakes. And, the one over there? She wins the bread and wears the mom apron. But, I digress. I do not do it all. We eat gourmet by me one night and take out the next. I get all prettied up and the 4 year old walks out the door without shoes. I keep up a blog and we skip school for the morning. Which brings me to my point: I’m cheating on homeschooling this year.
Yep, it’s our first official back to school where the kids actually leave the house. The emotions are mixed. We’ve had such a hard summer that I don’t feel I chose this so much as fell into it. One day the six year old begged to go to school, the next I was writing a check. In truth, we had looked at this homeschool co-op (that basically means part time school) before. I had ultimately decided against it for several reasons (giving up control is hard!) but there were a dozen pluses including it being a complete drop off school and the co-op provides the lesson plans. Plus, they have a good high school program, so the future looks bright and manageable. The homeschool journey can be overwhelming and full of doubts: am I doing enough? Are my children keeping up? Are they getting enough interaction? Sometimes it’s okay to get a little help (I think).
So, here we are. The first week of school and there’s plenty of mixed feelings. One thing we didn’t have to decide was what to use as a school bag. Coincidentally, we filled their Easter baskets with these adorable kid’s backpacks. They’re small, toddler sized and I had to give in to upgrading to the bigger size for one girl. However, my sweet book loving ten year old insists that she will carry that bunny backpack (it’s not available in the next size up) if she has to carry all her books herself. Luckily, a strapped binder is helping her haul her school things and she’s in little bunny heaven with all her accessories. Just today she told me she will put her sandwich in her Apple Park Kids (yes she name drops because she’s very impressed with my blogging connections) snack bag. To say we’re set for school this year might be a little bit of an overstatement but at least we’re styling.
Here’s a very quick list of why we decided to homeschool- it’s not for everyone but I think these are some solid reasons:
- Convenience. Homeschooling may not be easy but it is certainly convenient. Roll out of bed and do math in your PJs, cuddle on the couch for reading lessons, and go on a nature hike for science, bonus trip to the Mexican restaurant for social studies (okay not really but I do like tacos).
Family time. There is value in learning to be part of a family unit. I see a sibling bond that could not be nurtured in a typical school environment. In fact, my girls so wish they could always be together for activities that sometimes I like to give them a dose of separation. At home, they learn to work together for common goals like earning outings, game time, or snacks. Plus, I love having them with me- most of the time anyway.
Cost. Private school is expensive. Homeschooling can be a very modest alternative. You can do it very frugally (though I tend to choose lazy over frugal most times). The payment here is in time and homeschool is definitely a labor of love (and sometimes frustration). But, when public school isn’t an option and private school costs more than the mortgage, homeschooling is a worthwhile choice.
Freedom. When I was young, I thought being an adult meant being able to do what you want when you want. And, then I grew up- bummer. Adulthood brings with it knowledge; the knowledge that eating the whole bag of gummy bears will most likely make you sick and if you call in sick to work every day, you won’t get paid- bummer times two. I learned that adulthood just means you choose to make good decisions because you know they’re good for you. Homeschooling is a choice that opens doors and shuts off alarm clocks. It’s studying the movements of a caterpillar instead of the inside of a textbook. That said, choosing to schedule some times also gives us freedom by removing stress over unfinished school work. That’s why ultimately, we decided homeschooling with a dash of structure might be just the ticket for us.
Homeschooling doesn’t work for everyone- circumstances don’t allow for some parents to stay home and some just don’t want to do it. Heck, I’m not even sure I do either. But, I count myself blessed to be able to enjoy these years at home and with a little bit of help, we just may make it through.
Back to our first week of school: I’m sitting here, wiping the tears away as I say goodbye to my littles (and a little bit of our freedom- freedom from schedules and packing lunches anyway) and wondering just what I’ll do with all this free time. Maybe it’s time for another baby.
Oh wait just kidding, I still have two of those at home (though we’re not ruling that out, five is a good number after all), I don’t even have time for this blog. Off to make sure the four year old isn’t dismantling the house and the two year old doesn’t find a loophole in our Daddy Fingers song ban (really you tube, thanks a lot).