It’s a new era in the Amaro house. Time to turn over a new leaf. Or a new page. Or something new.
Homeschooling has begun!
The reasons why a family chooses to homeschool are as unique as the family. For our family it came down to this: We felt that God was asking us to. A hundred doors opened (and closed) at the right time and ultimately we were left with absolutely no doubt that this was His leading.
Honestly, that’s the only ‘why’ we need – to know that it’s from God.
But here are a few of the perks of this lifestyle – and why it fits us so very, very well:
1) Schedule Flexibility. This is huge for us, with Fernando working in the ministry and my photography schedule. We can take vacations and family days when it suits us best. We can let the kids stay up late to get more time with Fernando because they can sleep in each morning. We are in charge of our own calendar – I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it is.
2) To Share Our Minutes. We crave each other’s company – all of us. We want to share as many life experiences as possible, learning and growing together. After years in preschool, my kids are desperate for my attention (and I am desperate for theirs). Right now, these early weeks of homeschool feel a little like detox… we absolutely cannot get enough of each other.
3) One Size Doesn’t Fit All. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, for sure. But for my two children, it is the right fit. I can meet their individual needs/desires and not worry about them being made to fit into a mold for the sake of classroom management. Daniel is wildly creative – and his personality needs a little more freedom of exploration than would be afforded him in a classroom.
4) To Foster Close Sibling Relationships. This is a big component for us. Daniel and Violet are extremely close – they desire each other’s company nearly all the time. Each reunion is a joyful one. They learn best alongside each other.
5) To Preserve Innocence. I can’t raise my kids in a bubble – I’m aware of this. But I can do my best to protect their innocence until they are mature enough to handle certain topics/language/images/etc. I can closely monitor what they watch, listen to and are taught. Violet is very drawn to the world – to unattainable beauty standards, worldly humor, and popular culture. At the age of three, she isn’t ready to process this – she needs a stronger foundation before she is exposed to this side of the world, and she’ll need a hand to hold when the time comes to deal with negative influences outside the home.
6) To Lengthen Childhood. When I am in control of their schedule, I can make sure that my kiddos get lots (and lots and lots) of free play time. Children continue to learn best through play long past the age of five and it’s just too easy to over-schedule them with activities that inadvertently squeeze out the time for free play. Childhood goes too quickly as it is, I am determined not to rob my kids of it too soon.
7) To Encourage a Love of Learning. I strongly believe that we set our kids up to dislike activities (and foods and academic arenas) by making them “have to’s”. I want to give my kids a little more room to breathe, so to speak. To pursue the areas they are naturally drawn to (which mean that for my five-year-old son, it is SCIENCE all the time… and that’s ok). I see the natural excitement in their eyes when they are learning/exploring/creating and I don’t want to stamp that light out. I want to be there every step of the way, encouraging and cheering as they soak up what the world has to offer.
8) Education is More Than School. I am uncomfortable with the line our culture too quickly draws between school and real life – between school and fun. Perhaps it’s idealistic of me, but life IS school. Living IS education. And education IS fun, for the love of learning (not education for the purpose of earning grades/taking tests/etc). And I love that as a homeschool family, there are no “start and stop” hours to when that kind of learning can happen our daily lives. We are just as likely to be learning something amazing at 11:30 p.m. as we are at 10:00 a.m.
9) To Pass on Values and Beliefs. The Bible has a lot to say about parenting and one of the passages that just stuck with me is Deuteronomy 6:5-9: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” I don’t think this passage is mandating that every family homeschool. I DO think it’s saying to keep talking about God, what He has done, and who He is as much as possible – and if it IS possible – throughout every part of the day. As we have begun this homeschool journey, it is amazing to me how much easier the discipleship process is with my kids. They naturally raise questions about God as we go through the day, and it’s easier to keep Jesus in the forefront of our minds. What we learn together during nightly Bible time with Fernando weaves throughout the next day(s) experiences as the kids simmer on Biblical truths. We run to the Bible sometimes many times in a day to look for answers or information. God has never been so present in our homes and hearts as He has the past few months and I’m convinced it is because we are finally asking him into EVERY part of our family life.
10) To Create/Select/Design Curriculum and Experiences. There are so many great tools available to homeschool families now. It’s wonderful to be able to browse through the curriculum options, creative ideas and past experiences of others to hand pick what will work best for my children. You can read what we are doing this year as far as programming/curriculum goes in this other post. But the freedom to select these experiences is what is most appealing to me (and the freedom to discard what isn’t working in favor of something different).
I could list a hundred other reasons, but these ten cover most of the biggies.
Homeschooling is the right choice for us, for right now, and for that I am grateful.