I was a successful executive with a great job. My husband works full time as well. We have three children that we love more than anything in this world and they were going to a great local school, but the day-to-day strain of work, daycare, and frenzied evenings was very stressful for our family. We had little energy to give to our children at night. Our tanks were empty. SOMETHING had to change.
I never really thought about leaving the working world and educating my children at home. Now it’s hard to remember our lives before we homeschooled. Every day is an adventure-both academically and socially. I pace the curriculum for each of my children according to their rate of learning. We delve into topics that are of interest and we have the time to thoroughly research the history and background of a wide variety of subjects. We take field trips and learn hands-on how machines work; how events were lived and recorded all around our historic state; how math is integrated into every subject. Our eighth-grade daughter is taking German from an 89-year-old friend in our community, who happens to be German! What a rich opportunity for her to learn from a wise woman who can share her culture, her background and her language.
As a homeschool Mom, I have friends who also teach their children at home. The great part of this is that we are colleagues. We share our strengths and capitalize on those who have specialized knowledge in certain core content areas, as well as those who are gifted in teaching things like music and art.
Co-ops are now a common theme in the home school movement. Parents collaborate and work out the logistics of making sure that they are providing a well-rounded education for their children. There’s no lack of parents who create a school setting with each other for their children. Single parents can take advantage of home schooling these days with the kinds of support systems that now exist in the homeschool network.
I had no idea when I decided to teach our kids at home that there would be a wealth of curriculum materials from which to choose. As homeschooling has grown, so have the curriculum options. I can customize every lesson and find endless resources to accompany every content area. The Home Educators Association of Virginia is a great resource that I depend on to find quality materials.
People often ask me about my children’s social development outside of a regular school environment. My kids are so involved in extra-curricular activities that it’s hard to keep up sometimes! Between horseback riding lessons, drama club, softball, church activities and field trips, we’re super busy and just like every other family with children.
What have I given up by staying home and educating my children? I’ve given up income in exchange for knowing that I’m doing my best for my children. In a few short years, they’ll be grown and gone and those years can never be gotten back. It isn’t easy. We’ve made sacrifices. But I know that I would never trade the time I spend at home raising my kids for anything else. Homeschooling isn’t for every family but the number of families who are choosing to home school is growing by leaps and bounds. Just like every family, it’s all about making choices and having options. I am thankful to have these choices and options that best fit our family.
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