Is Homeschool the right choice for you?
I am a homeschooling mompreneur. I have always homeschooled my two youngest daughters, age 9 and 11. My decision to homeschool came from my experience with my oldest daughter, age 22. She went to a small private Waldorf preschool that I helped run. She then transferred to a small private elementary school that was as much like homeschooling as you can get with a group of children. I spent many hours volunteering at that school and felt like I was an integral part of her education. When it was time for middle school, we had plans to move from Florida to North Carolina and homeschooling seemed the best fit for her and our lives.
My plan was to stay home and teach all three of my children. I had a career as a mental health counselor in Florida and had been able to keep that going successfully on a part time basis for years. When we moved to North Carolina, I had a teenager, a two year old, and was pregnant. Did I mention I was also in my mid 40’s? My plan was to take a break from work and really enjoy these wonderful children. Well, as you know, life does not always follow your plan. By the time my youngest was ready for school, my 28 year marriage had come to end. I was a single mom who needed an income to support her children. Not at all the life I had planned!
I made the decision to follow my dream and homeschool my girls. I was determined to start a private practice out of my home and create a flexible schedule that would allow me to teach the girls and run a business. I will be starting my fourth year in business in a couple of months and I am happy to report that my girls are learning, my business as a relationship coach is successful, and I am remarried.
So why do I homeschool and how do I manage it?
It would definitely be easier to put them in school; for me that is not an option. I want to be the one who is the primary influence on their lives. I want them to stay young for a while. Growing up is necessary but what is the hurry? I love spending time with my girls and teaching them. I am able to create an environment that meets their needs individually while still allowing them to learn. My middle child, Melissa, is a free spirit! She does not like doing work pages! Yet, she is very creative and loves to learn. She loves to read books about other times in history, she loves to learn about animals, and she is very crafty. So I only make her do enough math problems and English grammar pages to show she can do it. Then I allow her more time to learn in the way that fuels her desire for learning. She amazes me at the information she finds and reports back to us.
My youngest, Lauren, had trouble learning to read. She is now straddeling two grades in school. We advance her in the areas she is ready for and go slower in the areas where she needs more time. Her reading is progressing by leaps and bounds. If you ask her what her favorite subjects are, reading is one of them! Her self-esteem stayed high while she was struggling to learn a new skill. I am able to treat my children as individuals and cater to their individual needs and learning styles. I can do this because I only have my children to teach.
Homeschooled children also tend to be more independent. They learn to investigate life and be curious. My children are never bored, even though they have a good bit of time to themselves. I finished working the other day and Melissa had found the embroidery floss in the craft closet. She taught herself to embroidery a flower on a doll pillow for the bed she made out of cardboard and duct tape. I asked her where she learned to embroidery and she replied, “I taught myself. I kept trying until I figured it out.” I love that she learned it on her own. Yes, children need to learn their multiplication tables, but I think it is even more important to learn the skill of trying until you succeed. She is so proud of her accomplishments.
How do I manage to teach the girls and run my business successfully?
It helps that I am kind of a free spirit. I like the idea of having a schedule that is flexible. For me, I had to let go of the idea of perfection. My life is not going to be calm, organized, and predictable. I try to make a schedule for school at the beginning of each week and we do our best to stick to it. I know that some days my work has to come first and we all need to adjust. Sometimes Melissa teaches her younger sister, some days we skip school, and some days we do a couple of subjects only. In the end it all works out. Kids can learn on the weekend, they can learn during the summer, and they learn by living life as part of a family. Flexibility is an important part of our lives.
I use a well-known program for teaching math and grammar so I know they are getting the basics. Then I can be more flexible with the other subjects. I suggest teaching in a way that you and your children enjoy. Find topics they are interested in learning. One year we did a road trip across America program to learn history. It was very interactive and interesting, not only to them but for me. You can find so much on the internet and in local book stores. Make it fun and interesting for all of you.
This is a journey and you learn as you go. Find the flow that works for you and your family. Segment your time but allow for flexibility, let others in the family help you, find support from others who homeschool, and remember why you started homeschooling in the first place.
Lori has a unique and passionate approach to love and relationships and believes that everyone deserves and can have the relationship of their dreams. Her mission is to provide you with the skills you need to have the unstoppable relationship you deserve.She has over 28 years’ experience empowering individuals and couples to live richer, happier lives. Her practice spans the spectrum from dating and singles to working through divorce to renewing long-term marriages. She is the author of: Unmasking Secrets to Unstoppable Relationships: How to Find, Keep and Renew Love and Passion in Your Life. Visit her website!