The Joy of Homeschooling
“We’re going to have to homeschool aren’t we?” I said to my husband, with a sigh.
I remember the conversation. We’d read something about home education which led to something else, and then something else, and now we knew too much. We didn’t have the passion for it that we do now, we’d just fallen down the rabbit hole. There was no turning back.
Homeschooling (which turned quickly into unschooling) would mean that our children could keep alive that beautiful passion for learning that had been there since birth. We could spend their childhood with them, instead of apart from them five days a week.
There would be no pressure, stress, tests, bullying, comparison, or standardization. They could learn about what truly interested them, be in charge of their own learning, and spend their days however they wanted.
We could really experience life, instead of rushing through it. They could be in an environment where they were respected and valued, where they had bodily autonomy, where their minds were their own. And we could do all this while they got an amazing education that was not possible by sending them to school.
Once we knew all that, there wasn’t really a choice to say no.
I even remember googling what the disadvantages of home education were, only to come up blank. There was no drawback big enough that would cancel out all the benefits…
I had to be around my children all day? Great!
I might get stressed out? School and everything that goes along with it seems more stressful to me.
People would judge us? Doesn’t bother me if I’m confident with my choice.
Loss of potential second income? We were making do with one income anyway so we would continue to do that. We’re cool with giving up some luxuries to have this lifestyle for our kids.
The pro’s list just kept getting longer and longer, and that’s where we were at. We had to do this. You can’t really recognise that a certain choice is better for your children and family and then decide not to do that. It doesn’t work that way. At least, my brain doesn’t anyway! Choosing to send them to school in the face of this knowledge now would have been harder for me. But I was still reluctant.
“But it’s boring,” I told my husband, “I’ll have to teach them Maths and English. How boring!”
This comment makes me laugh now. I couldn’t have been more wrong! School had taught me that those subjects were dull and boring and I couldn’t imagine any joy in helping my children learn about them. Even though I recognised that home educating could mean an amazing lifestyle and that my kids would love to learn, I still believed that some subjects were inherently boring.
And now? Now there is nothing more amazing to me than watching them learn. Including reading, writing, and maths! To an unschooled child, these are not stand-alone subjects, separated from the rest of life. They are not parts of a curriculum to be imposed on them by adults. They are a part of everyday life! Things to be discovered, mused over, delighted in, and figured out when one is ready.
My part is not that of a teacher standing at the front of a classroom directing my students to turn to page 92 of a dreary textbook. That was the learning I knew but it is not what my children will know.
So what is my role?
- I answer questions like ‘what does this say?’ or ‘is there 60 seconds in a minute?’
- I wonder with them about big things and little things.
- I let them lead the way.
- I support their dreams and goals, without pushing.
- I get to witness the joy in their eyes when they make a new discovery.
- I am right there with them, seeing how and when and what they learn.
None of that is boring! It is amazing to watch! It is a different kind of learning that I never knew existed. Children out of school are alive with curiosity and passion and that feeling is contagious. You can’t help but be inspired and amazed when you’re around them.
I thought homeschooling would be boring, but I was so wrong. Living and learning with my children, playing the most active role I can, is one of the best choices I have made for them and me.
Thank you for writing this. We said exactly the same phrase and this perfectly captures our journey to how we feel right now. Though I think we might still be falling down the rabbit hole…we’re still clinging to curriculum English and Maths just now. Just about.
Yep, I stopped in that phase for a minute too. It will pass LOL. I think some things you just have to see to believe maybe. As soon as you see how maths and english are learned so easily through life it’s easier to trust natural learning xx
So beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing. It took me about 4 years to come around to the idea of homeschooling, and how I just can’t look back, just like you. With schooling, there is so much, rushing, getting lunches done, get them ready, hurry up and get ready, have you done your homework…
But we have also found that homeschooling brings back the joy of learning, and learning to their schedule.
I simply love reading your blogs. Thank your for sharing this one.
Thank you! Yes exactly. When you see what it’s like there’s no turning back is there.
I love this, thank you! I am a mum of one and we have recently started home ed, everything is so much more relaxed and natural, no more forced ‘learning’ 🙂
Awesome! Isn’t it lovely not having to do the same thing every day!
This is lovely! My major motivation for homeschooling is that I just have so much FUN watching my kids learning, and learning alongside them. Thanks for capturing that!
I have a very unromantic and rather broad question for you, Sara. Do you have any tips or strategies for managing your home while homeschooling? I am by no means a mama who requires a perfectly clean home, but all that playing requires energy from nutritious meals and produces lots of laundry. I feel like I never have time to do all of that and fully engage with my children’s questions and activities AND pursue my own passions for my sake and theirs. Do you have any resources or secrets? 🙂
No secrets Heather! I feel the same. Always lots to do! I figure it will get easier as they get older. One thing I did do was Konmari the house before number 4 arrived and that was a lifesaver.
Hai Sara, may I know your view or your way teaching the children about ‘belief’ of religion. thanks.
Hi Maya, pretty much like everything else. Let them explore all the options and make up their own mind 🙂
I found this post really interesting. I keep thinking we should be homeschooling our two but currently not confident enough to take the leap. I have a feeling it might happen one day in the not too distant future though.
Do you follow any sort of plan or do you just work it day to day?
You will never regret it.
We unschool so just follow their interests. There’s a couple of ‘day in the life’ posts on the blog 🙂
This is so timely as I have been feeling exactly this way recently. I just can’t proceed to enrol my little ones in school now I know there is a better way for them. Even with supposedly the best school in our town at the bottom of my street. I am going to push the few fears I have aside, ignore the critics and give my children possibly the best gift of their life. A life of choice and freedom, wonder and excitement, curiosity and learning.
Thank you so much for posting this! We are taking the plunge with my 5 year-old. Every time we are out and about, especially on a beautiful day, I can’t bear the idea of her sitting in a classroom all day, 5 days a week.
I needed to read this because I’m trying to surround myself with like-minded people. My husband is onboard, but other family members are pressuring me to send her to school…even though I know in my heart it’s not right for us. I will definitely have them read this article!
Thank you 🙂
That’s hard! Soon they will see how awesome it is xx
I LOVE This! How wonderfully put.
Thank you 🙂
My “children” are now 21, 21 and 18 and went to school. I clearly remember thinking all these things about learning and about school when my twin sons were five but I didn’t have the confidence to home-school. I wish I had. School was bearable for one son, terribly damaging for another and OK for my daughter. I’m now a primary (elementary) school teacher in Sydney, Australia. I love my job because I love the children but I hate what the system does to them. Great post. It’s wonderful that people can share ideas and gain support and confidence in their choice to homeschool.
Thank you for your reflection Felicity! My husband and I are teachers in NSW with two young children. We are both so dissatisfied with the way teaching is going and are currently debating whether to homeschool them. This might just be the final push we needed…
Love this whole post too!
🙂 I’m trying to wrap my brain around home / unschooling. This post is very encouraging!
Hi! I’ve been reading your blog entries and admire your writing as much as I admire your photos. But deep inside i was also questioning myself how I can do what you do. I want to homeschool my 4 yr old but I dunno really what I am doing. I started with montessori approach when she was 3. My daughter is diagnosed with GDD and we attend OT sessions before. I skip that last month after a year of attending. Also her teacher moves to London now, btw I am from Philippines. Since then I adapt the 1 hour session with my kid at home. Sometimes less than 1 hour. I wanted to do homeschooling but I am also afraid that I may not have resources or even materials to use for my kid. She’s attentive to my lessons when I teach her nursery rhymes, phonics and numbers.
Please enlighten me.