As many children Leah's age prepare to start Pre-Kindergarten or to attend preschool, we have chosen to homeschool. Dan & I made the decision a year ago, and as we draw closer to the beginning of our journey, it seemed like the right time to post about it.
When we first began discussing school options, public schools here did not thrill us. We considered private school, though the tuition of the one secular private school in our area is astronomical. That was out. All the affordable options were Christian-based private schools, and while we entertained that notion for a short time, ultimately, that felt very disingenuous to me. Dan and I are not religious; the most you could call us is agnostic. To be fair to our family and to the school, we felt it was better that we not pretend to be people we are not.
So, on a whim, I mentioned homeschooling as an option. Since joining a mommy message board years ago as well as following a few money-saving blogs, I found that homeschooling was more popular than I ever realized. In the following days, as I did some research and Dan & I discussed the pros and cons, we discovered that homeschooling was the only thing that got us both excited.
What we're looking forward to:
- Discovering Leah's learning style and teaching her in a way that suits her best
- Choosing our curriculum and following Leah's interests and curiosities
- Being able to take breaks or vacations whenever we want, working at Leah's most alert time of day, and having free time during the day for lessons, sports, or whatever she wants to explore
- Providing her with a safe, supportive environment to begin learning and building her self-esteem
I know the biggest hangup regarding homeschooling is the socialization issue. That was our first concern as well. But after talking to other homeschooling moms and reading various articles and blog posts on the topic, it's really not an issue unless you live in a cave. There are local homeschool groups to join. Leah will meet other kids in whatever activities she gets involved in (dance, gymnastics, etc). Not to mention the other interactions she has in a typical week - meeting and talking to people at the grocery store, the pet store, the bank, etc. We hope to involve her in volunteer projects down the line as well. "Socialization" is not just about making friends with a bunch of other kids who are the exact same age; it's about learning to interact with others in a productive manner.
The three of us attended our first Homeschool Expo in Atlanta during the last weekend of July. It was so helpful, as I was able to see the various curriculum options right in front of me and learned about several programs that I wouldn't have previously thought of. After deliberation and research, I chose our Pre-K curriculum last week (Calvert) and it arrived in the mail on Tuesday. I am super excited to begin! There are a lot of homeschooling folks who say that you don't really need to shell out the money for a boxed curriculum for Pre-K or K... but being as this is our first year doing something we never thought we would do, I want the advantage of guidance and structure. Maybe in a year or two, I'll have more confidence to pull from different resources and put something together myself. But for now, I love that everything is laid out for me.
I am aiming to start after Labor Day, though it could potentially be earlier if I feel we're ready to go. I want to go through the curriculum a little more closely and I am also in the process of getting myself organized in various aspects of home management as well. Really trying to streamline my days and weeks, so I can truly devote the time necessary to educating my daughter.
This is an exciting time! It's funny, Dan and I have joked that we are that "crazy", no-cable-TV-let's-bake-our-own-bread-homeschooling-family. Couple of hippies. *wink* If you asked me 5 years ago if we would be doing these things, I would've told you that was ridiculous. Ha. Life can take you places you never imagined and oftentimes, those are the best journeys. One of my favorite quotes is: "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." Yup. Here's to a new challenge, a new journey!