I will be the first to admit that I NEVER thought I would be homeschooling my kids. I used to dream about the day both of my kids would be in school. My oldest in kindergarten and my youngest in 3K. A silent house for 3 hours?! Imagine the possibilities!!!! So where did we get this crazy idea. Who would have thought, out of all the reasons to homeschool, I would get the inspiration from Jim Breuer. Yes. That’s correct, the Goatman from SNL. Jim has three daughters and was talking about his preference to homeschool on one of his appearances on “The Opie and Anthony” radio show. I had never thought of homeschooling and he shed a whole new light on it. I studied education in college so I wasn’t ever worried about teaching my children. I was more concerned about social activities because my husband and I are very introverted and don’t know a lot whole of people with kids our age. However, the stereotype of the unsocialized, strange, odd-looking homeschooled kid is gone. To paraphrase Breuer “You don’t lock ’em in a closet.” Kids are constantly around people and there are plenty of opportunities for social activities through your communities Parks and Recreation Department. He made several other great arguments for homeschooling: buying curriculums online, tutors for difficult subjects, no lice, the “need” for cell phones, boys.
Then one of the producers on the show brought up the fact that being in school doesn’t necessarily teach you social skills. The gist of his argument was you go through your school years with a certain amount of kids. For the most part, you are friends with the same kids and don’t really branch out. Basically you really aren’t learning to socialize with anyone new. This was my “aha” moment. I graduated in a class of 65 or so. I was friends with the same kids for most of my life. If anything, school made me more socially awkward.
My husband and I listened to the show (at different times) and had a lot to discuss afterwards. I can still remember texting with him as I was listening. Realizing the social aspect of school wasn’t entirely valid, we realized we didn’t need to send our kids to school just because we were supposed to. We came up with a whole laundry list of reasons why homeschooling would be a good fit for our family. This is by no means a bashing of the public school system. My dad, grandma, aunt, uncle, were all teachers and I studied to become a teacher in college. The public school system simply has it’s faults (like any other government run agency). Here are our 10 main reasons on why we decided to homeschool our kids.
1. Age – Fofo makes the birthday cut off by 4 days. She would either one of the oldest or one of the youngest in her class. Both of which are not entirely good or entirely bad. Which leads us to the next reason.
2. Size/Birth Order – She is TINY and will most likely be that way forever. I mean she is practically imp size. Sorry kid. The Norwegian genes did you no good. My youngest daughter will mostly likely be tall. They get mistaken for twins all the time but at some point The Bear is gonna be taller than her older sister. I can only imagine the annoyance/jealousy this will cause once they get older. Plus they are 18 months apart but would be 2 grades apart.
3. Quality Time – Fofo is a total papa’s girl and once she attends school full-time she will hardly seem him. He works long hours and she would be sleeping by the time he got home in the evening so she could get up at the butt crack of dawn to get to school. She wouldn’t get quality time in the morning because we would be rushing her off to school. For example, one morning this summer, my husband was in the back yard for some reason or another and, naturally, the girls followed him. Fofo found a caterpillar walking along our hose. They probably had 10-15 minutes of father-daughter time just observing the caterpillar. It may seem petty or simple but it’s those small moments that are important to us. As Breuer said “spend valuable time talking about real life.”
4. Money – We wouldn’t be able to afford the nice clothes and other things that kids feel they need nowadays. We are very blessed to have an incredible generous family but we can’t assume grandma will buy Fofo a new “Whateverthefuck” tech gadget or name brand jeans or purse she needs to fit in. Homeschooling allows us the opportunity to have less focus on material things and fitting in.
5. Sleep – Today kids are not able to get the proper amount of sleep due to extracurricular activities and homework. Rushing through our morning routine with crabby children is not the way we want to spend 9 months out of the year.
6. Losing – It seems like today “everybody gets a trophy.” Kids don’t know what it means to lose because they never have lost! I’m not talking full contact football at 2 years old, but for God’s sake can we at least keep score at the 5 year olds soccer games. Teaching kids about winning and losing is teaching them life is not perfect. Life is hard and you need to learn how to pick yourself back up.
7. Individualization – We would like our children’s education to be customized around their strengths and weaknesses. Rather than them sitting in a classroom that is “teaching to the middle” just so they can simply pass a test. (Again, this is not bashing public schools. It’s just the nature of the system).
8. Safety – After the tragedy at Newtown Elementary School, I knew I didn’t want my children to go to public school. It was a little too close to home. It may seem overly protective but several schools in our area went into lockdown for threats of some sort. I used to believe the threat of school violence was small, now I’m not so sure.
9. Values and Goals – Our values and goals for our children are simply different from what the public schools can offer our children. We want our kids to learn about art, music, food, nature, and self-reliance. I want us to teach them real life skills like how to do a mortgage or how to fix a toilet. And ultimately helping them learn about their true passion in life.
10. Happiness – We truly believe homeschooling done right is the best thing for our kids because we will get to spend more time together and get to learn together. It seems like as soon as kids get interesting we ship them off to school and we never see them again. We want to be our children’s teachers and educate them about life. “Kids will tell you what they want to learn. They want to learn, just not bullshit.” Jim Breuer