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When I first heard about this 31 Reasons We Love Homeschooling Blog Party, I thought “What a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to read so many amazing homeschooling posts this month!” – and then Ana invited me to contribute and I was simultaneously overjoyed and overwhelmed! Overjoyed because I am HONOURED to be a part of such an inspiring and brilliant crew of bloggers who are posting here this month – and overwhelmed because it is nearly impossible for me to think of just one reason why we love homeschooling. But here it is for me – in all its simplicity:
That may sound kind of silly and simple but let me share a little about myself and our homeschool journey first: we live in Northern Ontario and I homeschool two crazy little kids. I have a 10-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter – and this is our third school year homeschooling. I always knew I would homeschool my children – when they were babies, it was our goal and we just knew that we would follow that path. However, life threw us some curveballs – as it often does – and my ex-husband and I decided to separate and eventually divorce. This was 100% amicable, and we’ve worked very hard to develop a great co-parenting relationship and always do our best to work together when it comes to anything to do with our kids. But as a single parent (I had primary care of the children), I just couldn’t think of how we would ever be able to homeschool when I had to work, made very little money, and for a short few years didn’t receive a lot from their father either. So off to school, they went.
I never quite felt right with this decision, but in that moment, it was the right choice to make. My kids and I walked through some very dark days together in my years as a single mama – and for them to have school to be a constant in their lives back then was a blessing. They enjoyed their teachers and their school experiences and never really dealt with any major issues with the school system. When we were joined in our lives by my current partner, I was able to stay at home again. And it wasn’t long after I left the workforce, that we ALL started to think about this home education thing very very seriously.
And so, on one beautiful day early in the school year when my oldest was in 2nd grade, and my daughter was in Senior Kindergarten – we said “let’s DO IT!” and with all four of us in agreement, we signed the form to say we were going to home educate and with a mixture of fear and jubilation, we started on this homeschooling journey.
My son struggles in language and has since he was a preschooler, so it was no surprise to me when we pulled the kids out that he was STILL struggling and honestly could barely read or write. When I realized this, I was so deeply thankful that we were homeschooling because we could work on this together and find ways for him to overcome his language delays – in ways that still left him feeling good about himself and as relaxed as we could keep him.
It wasn’t easy to find ways to help him learn. In addition to some language issues, he also has an anxiety disorder and we are in the process of doing some testing to figure out if there’s some ASD at play or even other learning issues. So, to say that our past few years have been a struggle some days would be putting it mildly. But I wake up every single day feeling SO grateful that we get to work through these hard things TOGETHER, as a family, and with his dignity and pride INTACT. No labeling, no shaming, and no falling through the cracks. I tell him (and his baby sister) on a fairly regular basis, that we are so blessed to have this life together because no one on this planet loves them the way I do, knows them the way I do and wants them to succeed as much as I do.
However, while homeschooling gives us the time and space and freedom to really focus on finding solutions to our struggles – it also allows us the ability to discover our strengths and our passions. While in school, my youngest was always praised for her kindness and sweetness to her classmates and her teacher said she was a very helpful student. I am always proud when I hear things like that about my children – but what I discovered as we started to learn together, is that she is GREAT at math and she loves it. She also is a VORACIOUS reader and now that she’s learned the basics she has been devouring every book she can get her little hands on – chapter books, picture books, you name it and she will read it. And when I spot these little bursts of interest or passion, I can just let them run with it! If she wants to read all day long, I can say “You know what? Let’s read together all day long” – or if she’s on a great roll with the day’s math lesson, I can encourage activities or just keep working away with her on it.
If my son develops not just an interest but a deep passion for gaming and finds a great community of kids who are also avid gamers – we can encourage it and nurture it and allow him to grow in that skill and develop new skills because of it.
They can be who they are, I can be who I am, we can just live the life we need to be living and be HAPPY.
This life as a home educating family is NOT without its bumps along the way, but every minute together with my children gives me an opportunity to nurture their strengths, boost up the areas they struggle in, and deepen our connection and relationships as a family unit. We laugh, we joke, we embrace our weirdness and our quirks. We love each other fiercely and the mood and the atmosphere in our home are so much lighter now since we’ve started on this journey. My anxious son has made HUGE strides in learning to manage his anxiety – and he moves through life now with a much lighter step and his beautiful smile comes so much more easily these days.
And I’ll tell you – after years of struggling and rushing and stress and worry as a single mom, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t whisper a little thanks to the Universe for allowing us this time to heal and come together and reconnect as a family. Even on the hard days, I wake up and face the day with a grateful heart and a peaceful conscience knowing that we are living the life that is perfect for each of us, and that we are deeply happy and content in our life together.
And that happiness and sense of security is UNDENIABLY my absolute favourite reason to homeschool.