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When our twins were little, my husband suggested homeschooling them. He thought that sending them to school was silly and that we could do a better job at home.
I thought he was crazy.
I refused, going through the list of excuses from “I’m not a teacher”, to “I’ll go crazy,” to “We need my income too.” There were more excuses, but you get the picture. If you have ever thought of a reason to not homeschool, I have probably used it as an excuse. Fast forward a few years to 2012, when we started hearing about Common Core, I ignored it until my husband asked me to look at it, and when I could find no redeeming quality in it from the standards to the political/government push behind it, we decided to homeschool. We all have those, “If I knew then what I know now,” moments and it sounded like fun to share a few with you.
- I wish I knew how much fun I would have
I had no idea how much fun it would be to be with my twins all day, every day. Really. To watch them grow and develop, to see them blossom in front of me is a true treat and one that frankly, all moms should experience. Do they drive me crazy? Absolutely, there are days that really just don’t go as planned. Before we send them off to the “professionals” at school, we watch some of this development – but the really cool stuff doesn’t happen until they’re about 9 when their brains start developing the ability to think logically. When they have the ability to discuss electricity, explain aerodynamics, and understand why a sentence needs both a subject and a predicate, it’s a gift to be there to see it happening first-hand.
- I wish I knew how much I would get to learn
Learning is a joy for me, always has been, but when I became an adult, I thought that the learning had at least slowed down. I was so wrong! So far, I’ve been able to learn Latin, Algebra and a bit of piano, we are also studying Ancient Greek. Out of self-defense, I’ve also learned to take better care of myself, organize the house and still run two businesses (learningtangent.com and I teach violin and viola). The boys are not the only people in the house learning… it’s a family affair!
- I wish I knew that homeschooling isn’t as hard as I imagined
You know how it is when something unusual comes up – you go to the worst possible outcome. That’s exactly where my mind went when my husband originally asked if we could homeschool. The images in my head were terrifying and vivid. I saw the twins looking like something out of Lord of the Flies, with me tied up over a spit, shouting, “I just wanted to do English!” I saw myself, in a corner, defeated because I had managed to make them hate me, and, having given up, putting them back into public school. For me, that would be a failure because with the current state of the schools – public school is not an option.
Is homeschooling right for everyone? Probably not, and for a variety of reasons. I do believe that if it is what you want for your family, then there is a way to make it happen. I also believe that when you do the right thing, that thing you know deep in your belly to be right, that doors start opening where you didn’t even know they exist . Those previously-unknown doors have a way of being just what you need to make it work.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination! They are just the three things that came to mind most quickly. What do you wish you knew, even if you have homeschooled from the start?
Gail Nelson has four kids, two of whom are at home still. When she’s not off on some adventure with her twins, she edits and writes for Learning Tangent Homeschool Magazine, teaches violin and viola privately, and tries to stay sane.