I have a lot to share on homeschool, and how we got here. I have already received many questions about our announcement making the switch from public school to homeschool. I will be working to share more information about this, and our family’s personal journey with homeschooling, starting today with really how we got here (it’s a long post). I’ll get into the why’s of our decision in posts to come, so stay tuned if this is an area you’re wanting more info on!
I also want to thank everyone for the well wishes, and support as we embark on this new path. I have been nervous to share, but as I have, you guys have received us so well. Thank you thank you for showing us love!
Early early in my motherhood, when I had two little ones at my feet, I began to find a deep joy in teaching them. Exploring this new world with fresh little souls gave deep meaning to my life. With two toddlers, we often read aloud on blankets at the park, in the backyard, at the kitchen table, and before naptime. We often held art sessions of finger paints, or coloring, or sidewalk chalk. We found ourselves doing yoga together, going to the library together, taking walks and exercising together. They learned to talk, and walk, and their ABC’s, and songs, and nursery rhymes, and all of the small and big things they knew, I had taught them. I looked so forward to the many years of motherhood that laid before me.
And then it was time for my oldest to go to school, and my world was a bit shaken. I was surprised by how quickly the time had passed with her in my home with no schedule, free to live our lives as we were so enjoying. My oldest daughter is a tender, sweet, deep feeling soul. That first year of school was a tough adjustment for us both. We had grown so accustomed to our happy little life, and we found shaky ground heading to public school for the first time. I have never given any details about this here, as at the time it felt sooo personal and scary… but basically Harlo started shelling up more and more – only at school, wanted to go less and less which was so unlike her, even still. Her teacher obviously wasn’t getting her, insisting she had an attention disorder at age 5.. at age 9 we’ve never heard that again from any professional, or otherwise.
I found myself in a defensive corner our first semester of public school kindergarten, against the teacher and principle. It was a very tricky situation where I just wanted to protect my girl, and her natural love of learning. I pulled her from the school when it no longer felt productive, and that was absolutely the right choice for us at the time. Harlo blossomed during that next section of her kindergarten year at home. She was her happy self again. She learned to read, and write, and tell time, and nature journal all right around our kitchen table – Stella learned right along with us, while Grae girl ate puffs off her high chair trey beside us… I loved it. We DID go back the next year, and that year was a little bit better, and the following year was a great year. At the time, I had felt bullied, or rushed into homeschooling. And this was my oldest daughter. I didn’t think it was a fair idea of what the school system was like. In some ways it wasn’t, but in some ways it really was. We did see better days at the public school, we had some wonderful teachers (some truly heaven sent!), but ultimately, it never was quite the perfect fit.
Like I said, we have had good years in school and some really hard years in school. My girls have made sweet friends and had good teachers, school has come easy for them, and we haven’t had too many complaints at all. But I expected, as the years passed, that it would get easier sharing my time with school, and instead that’s gotten harder. After we had taken that first year of homeschool, I realized that I could supplement their learning at home along with school. I decided to continually work on making my home somewhat of a “Charlotte Mason atmosphere”. We have continued on at home with unstructured learning, read alouds, etc. (most of us are in fact homeschooling, whether we realize we are or not). However, more and more have I felt like school is something that takes away from our productive family time, interrupts what we’re already learning at home, and even sometimes undoing what we are doing here at home.
This past year has called for a lot of change in our family. As our lives have gotten busier and more full with business and children, we have learned that simplicity and intention wont just be the way it is, but that we must strive for that particular aspect that seems to bless our life and family so much. Within the call to change, since our move, we found ourselves between two school options. We decided to think it over, long and hard, over the 7 months we had to decide. Five months thinking, talking, and praying over the decision, I still wasn’t feeling lead any certain direction. I felt restless and confused about which road to take.
I found myself in a sweet, familiar place, having a great conversation with a friend about life, family, school, goals… We hit on the topic of homeschooling, and I had mentioned always feeling a pull to do that, and feeling sad I had maybe missed that opportunity now that the girls were making their way through elementary.
Later that night, the conversation pulled and tugged at my heart all night long.
The next day I (again) talked to my second daughter, Stella, about the possibilities of changing schools and that we needed to start getting more serious about if we were going to switch, or not. “If we’re going to change schools, why don’t we just finally try homeschooling?” she said, like it was the most obvious answer to point out. She had much enjoyed our year of her pre-k at home, and always had interest in doing it again. Tonight though, her words struck my heart.
We decided to ask Harlo, who had been more keen on their public school in the past. “Yeah, I think that’s a great idea. We can always change our minds later, right? But I want to homeschool, too.” So we decided to REALLY pray about that, ask God if this was the direction he wanted for our family. I got Mr. Miller (the non-hippy family member) in on the conversation, and by the next morning I could feel the answer to our prayer was a resounding YES. We were all on board.
I reached out to the two homeschooling mamas I knew personally, and by the end of the day my entire year’s curriculum had unfolded right before my eyes. I felt exactly lead to which curriculum we should use, resources online, and a small community of supportive homeschooling moms rallying for me, and such a steady calmness in my heart. At a few points in the day, I was even overwhelmed to tears – in a good way, by how much guidance I was receiving.
I must say, that even though I had felt the pull to homeschool early on (AND WE EVEN TRIED IT AND LOVED IT), I didn’t ever think it would be something we would do, just because “that’s not what you do”. I had been raised in public school, Mr. Miller grew up in the public school system, all of our friends and family members had chosen the same path. But I honestly hated school all the way through, and realizing I would have to relive it four times with my own children started suffocating the creative soul out of me.
I feel so free about this decision, I feel empowered, and guided. I feel supported, and that I am truly living in my own authenticity, which is a goal of mine in every aspect, but especially in mothering my own children. After all, you are the mother your child needs.
We made the final decision this past Spring, and so I spent the remainder of the public school year planning out our summer and gearing up to school full time at home. Over the Summer, we have assessed, and practiced, and tweaked our natural flow. We have slowly started denting our school books, and this week we start FULL TIME, full steam ahead as all our friends go back to school.
I did worry the girls would have a hard time this week, with their friends prepping to head back to school. But yesterday I overheard Stella tell her best friend, “I don’t know why people think homeschool is weird, it’s actually the best!” Ha! So I’m hoping to take on some of her thick skin, as I announce to the world: We’re homeschoolers now! (but we’re still us – so don’t think we’re too awfully weird.) ;)
kids outfits: fabkids.com/backtoschool