Our Homeschooling Story, part one

Today I’m writing about something near and dear to my heart: homeschooling. I’m hopeful the information will help if you’re considering a similar lifestyle — or at the very least, answer questions if you’re curious. And I know you must be, because you’ve been sending e-mails and asking about our homeschooling journey a lot lately. So here goes … 

With Abe Lincoln at the Gettysburg National Military Museum.

There’s a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln that reads, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

I don’t pretend to know what Abe meant by that statement but I’ll tell you how I interpret it. To me it means we should be very careful and intentional about what we teach our children. Some day they’ll be making the big decisions. In negative context, it suggests that in order to reach certain ‘for the good of the people’ goals we must indoctrinate early.

Is the cup half full or half empty? Take it as you will but either way that quote is as good a reason as any to homeschool. At age five we typically turn our children over to someone else. That someone influences how they think, how they learn and what they know about the world. Someone will shape the way my children see the past, present and future. My husband and I decided we’d like to be that someone. There were many factors and here are several:

  • The intention to raise godly individuals with strong moral characters
  • The determination to provide a rich and unique education not bound by a common core
  • The hope of extending and protecting their childhood
  • The desire to establish, strengthen and maintain a deep family bond
  • The cost of the Christian school we loved was just too expensive

Child's hands holding a tree frog
We started our homeschooling journey in 2008. It was the year my daughters were to begin second and first grade. And this is the part of the story that I tell you my mom was a teacher. My step-mom is a teacher. My husband’s mom was a teacher. His aunts and cousin are teachers. We were literally raised by brilliant educators and our decision was met with a brilliant firestorm. We did our best to explain but it was, after all, a decision made with our kids in mind. We were excited to spend the days with them. We were thrilled to witness the wonder of their learning milestones for ourselves. It was as complicated — and as simple — as that. Now we have years invested and we wouldn’t change a thing.

Homeschooling became a lifestyle. It was a big transition for all of us, don’t get me wrong. I was determined to fill those little brains to bursting and we reached the breaking point, several times. Over time I eased out of that results-driven mentality and into everyday discovery mode. We have math books and spelling words and vocabulary tests, yes. Sometimes those are interrupted by  future farmers of America or a cookie craving. Make ’em and bake ’em I say— it’s the tastiest way to learn fractions! A salamander discovery on a boyhood adventure? Instant science lesson. You’re getting braces? Awesome! I want a one-page report on the history of orthodontics.

Learning from the veterinarian

Homeschool Trippin’. Field trips and fun days take on new meaning when your lives are all about schooling at home. We were looking for a weekend vacation destination about the time the girls were studying the Civil War. To Gettysburg we went. We walked the battlefields, traced the soldiers’ footsteps and experienced a day in the life as best we could. And we found some fun for the youngest, too. We can’t take trips all the time, but when we do they usually have a purpose. And when the local school district takes a snow day? Too bad for my kids. They’re already at home. No excuses. Sometimes things get tough, though. That’s when I say, “Oh, don’t look so grumpy!”

To move from what’s considered a normal to an atypical education style was a trial by fire. It has evolved into one of the greatest blessings of our life together. It’s a daily love note to my kids. It’s a gift to my husband and me. We have their hearts — for now, at least. And when the time comes for them to move on — and on outta here, I hope their hearts will beat stronger because of it.

In part two I’ll talk about our curriculum choices, regulations and the everlasting question, “What about socialization?!” Part three talks about Godly parenting, and working while homeschooling.

 

 

 

 

Go exploring! You may enjoy these previous posts.

10 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Jenny February 11, 2014 (6:35 pm)

    Thank you for posting this. I’m looking forward to the next installment. I’d like to go the homeschooling route when the time comes…just not certain my husband is 100% on board. He’s concerned about socialization. I’m excited to hear how you work this into your days.

    • comment-avatar
      Jennifer Kiko February 12, 2014 (4:32 pm)

      I hope part two eased your (and his) fears somewhat. If you have any questions, please ask! I’ll do my best to answer 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Denise Laubacher February 11, 2014 (8:41 pm)

    Wonderful…so wonderful to hear why others came to home schooling. So glad you’re sharing 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      Jennifer Kiko February 12, 2014 (4:31 pm)

      Thanks, Denise! It’s been brewing for awhile and I finally decided it was time to tell all 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Sal February 12, 2014 (8:41 am)

    Homeschooling has so many positive results. I, for one, am glad to see more parents homeschooling their children and welcome the closeness it brings to the family. It is so easy to let others dictate our choices and teach children ways we prefer they not learn to follow. Peer pressure vs. socialization? Children do not realize that once they pass their teen years that those who pressure them to go along will not be in their lives much. They do however have to live with the choices they made. There’s no need to jump over the cliff just because “everyone else does.”

  • comment-avatar
    Melanie February 12, 2014 (11:31 am)

    Thank you for this post & for taking the time to answer my emails! We are now a little over a month into homeschooling & enjoying it! It is not always easy but it is always an adventure!
    Thank you & God Bless!

    • comment-avatar
      Jennifer Kiko February 12, 2014 (4:29 pm)

      Melanie! I am so happy to hear it’s going well. I promise the tough days will always be outnumbered by the good. You’re giving your kids a wonderful gift – your time! Amazing discoveries await. Many blessings to you!

  • Our Homeschooling Story, part two | Farmgirl Follies - Jennifer Kiko February 12, 2014 (1:28 pm)

    […]   Our Homeschooling Story, part one […]

  • Our Homeschooling Story, part three | Farmgirl Follies - Jennifer Kiko February 13, 2014 (4:06 pm)

    […] more? Read part one and part two of our homeschooling […]