The school year has come to an end and all of the distance learning mamas said, “AMEN!!!”
Over the last two months many of you have tried to keep up with the grueling demands of assignments, class Zoom calls, Google Hang Outs, and uploading evidence of work on top of your normal jobs and responsibilities. I’ve seen social media posts from moms lamenting over too many hours with their kids, not enough patience for teaching, frustration with technology, fear of not meeting expectations, and too many responsibilities to juggle.
The term “homeschool” has been used to describe these experiences, but I am here to tell you that what you’ve experienced is not homeschooling. What you have experienced is public school distance learning in your home. AKA: torture.
Seeing the struggles that many of you have endured during this time has made me hurt for you. You’ve endured a lot and probably gotten a bad taste for “homeschooling.” Here’s what I wish you really knew about homeschooling:
There is freedom.
One of the most significant reasons that our family loves homeschooling our kids is the freedom that we experience on a daily basis. We get to choose the curriculum that our kids study. We get to choose the books that they read. We get to choose the amount of time we spend on each subject. We get to choose how we want to learn, where we want to learn, and when we want to learn.
In homeschooling, we are able to set our expectations and standards as a family and walk in the freedom of how we choose to educate our children. We don’t have to spend our school days worried about turning in an assignment online or meeting the expectations that someone else has set for us.
There is flexibility.
The freedom to make our own educational decisions creates flexibility in our schedules. If we want to do school first thing in the morning and be done by lunch, we can. If we want to take a field trip in the morning and complete school in the afternoon, we can.
We have some family friends who work full-time jobs and typically don’t do school with their kids until the evenings, and that’s ok because they can. Having the flexibilty to create our own routine, rhythm, and schedule takes a huge burden off of the table and allows for enjoyment to enter the scene.
There is chaos, but there is also peace and joy.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that true homeschooling is all rainbows and butterflies. There is chaos. There is noise. There are siblings who argue and students who talk back to the teacher. But more often than not, there is peace and joy-filled with laughter and activity. The freedom and flexibility in our schedule allows our children to play, explore, and enjoy their days in their own way.
There is room for individual pacing.
I have a hodgepodge of learners in my house and my guess is you do too. Each one is strong in some areas and weak in others. No one knows their strenghts and weaknesses better than we do, so we are able to customize their instruction and tailor it to each specific child. We don’t have to worry about our kids being “below grade-level” or being bored from instruction being too easy. We can move and progress at just the right pace.
There is genuine realtionship.
The most beautiful aspect of homeschooling is the relationships that are being built under our roof. They aren’t relationships based on age or grade level, nor are they only between my children. The relationships being built are between myself and my children, my children and our neighbors, and my children and the world around them.
They are learning how to interact with one another and others, making memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They aren’t the only ones benefitting from these relationships: I am seeing my children as people and growing to know them in a way I never could have imagined.
Homeschooling is not for every family. But now that the entire world has experienced teaching children at home, you should know that there is so much more (and really a whole lot less) to schooling your children at home. It’s not the painful ride you’ve been on during this distance learning season and my hope is that one day you might get to experience these benefits too.