I have been thinking so much about homeschooling both in practical and philosophical terms that I started to keep a journal to keep my thoughts straight and to chronicle our journey. A lot of what I write would probably bore most people that aren't directly involved. But, there are a few things that have been important realizations for me that I want to share.
I would have never made the choice to homeschool Jove or realized the scope of the homeschooling movement if it weren't for a friend of mine who is a homeschooler of her three kids. I consider her a mentor and an inspiration. She encouraged me by assuring me, providing me with materials and guiding me towards the larger homeschooling community. I have realized that many of the major shifts in my life have happened because of a person that I met or a situation presenting itself at the right moment, serendipitous encounters.
I have now met many homeschooling families and it seems like the reasons for doing it are incredibly varied: some people do it because they want their kids to be free of the pressures and negative socialization that can happen in schools, some want their kids to grow up spending a lot of time with their siblings and parents, some want more free schedules to pursue passions in non-traditional areas, some have kids who exceptionally bright or with exceptional needs that are not well serviced in schools, some have only access to inferior public schools and some have had horrible experiences in schools. I am sure there are many more reasons and that the community here is not necessarily representative of the homeschooling community nationally.
Here are the reasons we are homeschooling this year (Jove is only 4, but here almost everyone sends their kids to a pre-K program and many go full-time):
1) I want for Jove to spend as much time as possible with our family and friends.
2) I feel like I can be at least as effective as a pre-K program in teaching the basics and we can do it at our own pace.
3) I want his learning and social experiences to be positive and for him to learn about what he is interested in.
4) I want him to have plenty of time to play and have free, unstructured time in his days.
5) It is almost free (except for a few supplies) and I don't have to drive him.
6) He has expressed that he doesn't want to go to school right now that he prefers to be at home.
I am really excited about what we are doing and we already have started our little co-op with two other families. Jove will also take one class each week. We have signed up for a parent/child ceramics class at a local art center and in the winter I plan to sign him up for a gym/sports class. We also do outings to attractions or meet-up with friends at least a couple of times a week.
Just in case anyone was wondering, I think that there are a lot of great schools and teachers and I will be sending Jove to Kindergarten next year and I hope that he has a good experience. I find that I have both positive and negative thoughts about the idea of doing long-term homeschooling for our family. More on that later...