Friday, August 28, 2015

Homeschooling. It Is Worth It!

As a homeschooling mom, I can see my "teacher" days dwindling toward the end.  My children have entered into the bigger world, each at their own pace and based on their own interests. They are finding their way, having experiences and successes of their own.  They continue to have our support, they know we are there for them and though they continue to operate mostly in the context of their first social group, our family, it is their own paths, they are beginning to blaze.
With one son in college, one son, attending public high school (his choice) and my daughter, my youngest, still homeschooling, even though I’m not completely "done" homeschooling, I find myself reminiscing and reviewing.  As I recount our experiences every look back ends with great gratitude for having had the opportunity to homeschool.  I can say with certainty that it is worth it.

No regrets.

I have to admit as I look back it doesn't seem like we really made many sacrifices to homeschool. The biggest sacrifice was probably made well before we decided to homeschool when we choose for me to be an at-home-mom and we gave up a second income.  Viewed as coming with major sacrifices or not, the choice to homeschool does involve some level of compromise.  We have remained a one income family much longer than we originally planned due to the educational choices we have made for our children.  We are still living that compromise and yet, even with the constant financial catching up, I have no regrets.

When I was a college student myself, a professor once shared his thoughts about regret; he related his wisdom, and it stuck with me. He said, "It's not the things we try that we regret but the things we don't attempt".  That is certainly true for me as a parent with homeschooling.  If we hadn't decided to be our children's primary educators, I know it is one of the things I would have always looked back on to wonder, what if?

Reading everyday.

There were many days, when my oldest was high school age, I questioned our decision.  I often verbalized my doubts to my husband.  He however, always remained solid about our decision, the benefits and what we weren't missing out on.  He was certain that what our children were experiencing was far more valuable then what they might be missing at the local public school.  I wasn't always so sure, until, our second son made the choice to attend our local public high school.  Now I have NO doubts. (That's another post for another day.)

During my middle son's freshman year attending school, my daughter missed him terribly. They had, until then, always spent a significant amount of time together.  His school attendance cut into that time and it was a hard adjustment for them both.  I remain grateful for the time they shared prior and the relationship they developed.  Sibling closeness has been one of the beautiful benefits that our family has derived from homeschooling.

When asked, is it worth it? My answer is a resounding; Yes! 

Every moment shared has been a gift of love, bonding and memory making that would have been made more difficult to obtain had they all been attending school every day.  Our days have been full and rewarding and productive and sometimes not so productive.  We have played and worked and learned. We have lounged and found excitement in new topics.  We've been bored and discouraged and enthusiastic again. We've cooked and cleaned and laughed and cried. We have ice skated at rinks during noon open skates and in our own backyard.  We have had daytime dog walking jobs and paper routes. We had snow days and cozy read aloud days.  My children created games and "art" and relationships with one another through hours spent together daily.  It wasn't always fun and games or stress free but there was always joy.

Pets enjoy homeschooling, too.

I can't say that there was just one moment of realization that homeschooling was the most wonderful blessing and was worth it, but I can say, seeing two young men growing into responsibility with the ability to think for themselves, is overwhelmingly satisfying.  Watching my daughter daily as she blossoms and takes on amazing challenges as an accomplished athlete is awe inspiring. They are each unique and wonderful people.  It has been a wondrous blessing to have so many moments both momentous and mundane together with each of them. They are each a joy and have been since day one.

Homeschooling is worth it, just for the joy of it!

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