Confession time. I’m a former public school teacher. And I homeschool my kids.
In many circles, homeschooling and public school personnel go together about as well as oil and water. So what changed my mind?
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Long before Dillon and I thought about homeschooling Little Miss, we decided that she wouldn’t go to Pre-K. Our school district only offers full-day Pre-K, and we didn’t really love the idea of our 4-year-old being gone all day.
Plus, since I’m home (and have a teaching degree), it just made sense for me to work on Pre-K skills with her and get her ready for kindergarten.
As I looked for fun ideas for Pre-K at home, I came across several blog posts and Instagram feeds of homeschoolers, and the seed was planted.
Now, it was planted, but I tried to ignore it. After all, I’m a former public school teacher. I always thought homeschooling was weird and definitely not the path we would go down. Ever.
But, that pesky little idea wouldn’t go away, and I wrestled it around in my head for several months. I finally discussed it with Dillon, and we decided to take a year-by-year and kid-by-kid approach to homeschooling.
Here are five of the reasons homeschooling won this former teacher over.
Let Them Be Little
I taught first and second grades for eight years, and one thing I noticed was that the kids really didn’t seem like kids anymore.
They talked about mature subjects. Several already had attitudes that I don’t remember many kids having until closer to middle school. And some of them were just flat out mean.
It wasn’t like the childhood I remember or the one I want for my kids.
Now, I’m not saying that we homeschool to shelter our girls. Not at all! We’ve had to have plenty of difficult conversations and deal with a few not so nice kids, but I’m happy that my girls get to be little.
At least for a little while longer.
We’re able to spend our days wrapped up in make-believe worlds and cuddled up on the couch with books. It’s the kind of slow, simple childhood I always wanted for my children.
When I taught, I tried to make each lesson beneficial for all of my students on their individual level. I longed to find the spark that would light each kid up and make them want to learn.
But let’s be real, when you have 25-30 students in a class, that’s nearly impossible to do. I’m sure there are some super teachers out there that can differentiate their lessons to meet the needs of all of their students, but I certainly wasn’t one of them.
That was honestly one of the most exciting prospects of homeschooling for me! In my last couple of years teaching, I got so frustrated feeling like I wasn’t reaching my students in the ways I wanted to.
But with homeschooling, I can meet Little Miss exactly where she is in whatever subject we are studying.
Teaching Methods Match Learning Methods
One benefit that I really didn’t think of at first was that I get to teach Little Miss in whatever way she learns best. We had classes and professional development training about learning styles, but, like differentiation, that’s hard to do well in a large class.
With just one student, I’m able to really observe how she learns best and give her the kind of instruction she needs to thrive! I’ve learned so much just in the last year about her learning preferences.
I’ve also realized that the ways she learns best are not methods used a lot in the classroom.
Since I know this, we use games, educational shows, and lots of music in our homeschool!
I Get to Choose the Curriculum
Maybe I was a bit of a rebel (and anyone who knows me in real life is laughing right now because I’m SO not!), but I frequently disagreed with many aspects of the curriculum I had to teach. Either it didn’t fit my students, or I disagreed with some of the instructional practices involved.
So you can imagine one of the significant benefits I found as a former teacher homeschooling was that I get to choose the curriculum!
Once I figured out how Little Miss learns, what she’s interested in, and what she already knows, it made choosing what we learn much more straightforward. Granted, this probably means that Monkey and Cub will need something completely different, but I’m ok with that. They’ll get what they need too.
I Love the Students
I think it goes without saying that I love my students. In fact, no one on this earth besides their daddy knows them or loves them more.
I am humbled and thankful as I look back on the parents that entrusted me with their kids every day. As a child-less teacher, I didn’t understand that they were literally giving me a part of their hearts for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 36 weeks. I thought I loved those kids as my own, but I really had no idea.
I am so thankful that I get to be home with my girls and be their teacher. The extra time we get as a family and the slower pace of life we’re afforded because we homeschool has been a huge blessing.
Watching the bond between them grow daily is remarkable, and I can’t imagine missing out on that!
So now you can see a few of the reasons this former teacher homeschools. I realize that homeschooling is not an option for everyone, and I’m in no way opposed to public schools. This is just what fits our family best right now.
What about you? What are your reasons for homeschooling? Or not? Leave a comment!