There are more than 31 reasons we love homeschooling so picking one is nearly an impossible feat. However, the reason that keeps coming to mind over and over again is the treasured time together our children get to spend with us, especially their grandfather. Life is way too short which we have learned losing both my parents at 61, my brother-in-law at 41, and my mother-in-law at 68 years. Time is not something we can create or get back, so choosing to spend it wisely is critical! Homeschooling allows us choices in regard to how we use our time. Our children get to spend more of it with each other, their grandfather, and of course my husband and I, which we treasure.
We have 5 children; four girls ages 17, 15, almost 7, nearly 3, and one son age 11 whom I affectionately call our monkey in the middle (because so often he can be found hanging outside in a tree or down by the Bayou). When our oldest three reached school age, we enrolled them in school as we thought everyone else did. I didn’t even know there were other options!
Our 3 youngest Children on a rainy school day watching Leap Frog Letter Factory!
Our 5 kids spending time together after a photo shoot. Some of our girls playing with Their Nonno.
Initially, public school didn’t seem so difficult for us, and our children excelled academically. However, as they got older, and our family grew, life became increasingly chaotic. We became more stressed and much of the joy we once knew quickly faded. We no longer had treasured time together. I became everything I said I would never be, a taxi driver who lived to serve her children, dropping them off and picking them up. I was miserable and frustrated with the fact that we had so little time together and finding a family dinnertime that fit everyone’s schedule seemed impossible!
We felt we needed to model a life of service using our time, talents, and treasures to teach our children to look past their own needs and desires, but having so little time together as a result of the kid’s school hours made this task difficult. Each of our kids had their own life that revolved around their assignments and activities. My oldest girls would come home from school and lock themselves in their rooms to begin homework. With their one extracurricular activity they were permitted and their homework, that literally took hours, I hardly saw them. We had no time for family meals, outings or adventures. I did everything in my power as a mom to prevent this from happening but my efforts were fruitless. The demands of their school activities and the schedule we had to keep began to pull us apart and we found our family time together even more scarce. The final year that all of our children attended public school I spent most of my day in my van with 4 different drop off times at 7:15, 8am, 8:35, and 9am and then 4 pick up times at 12pm, 2:45, 3:20pm, and 4:05 pm. We were slaves to our children’s schedules and it was awful.
Then with the new school year approaching, we decided to homeschool all but one of our children. It was such a breath of fresh air as we now had abundant time together! You can read more about how we became homeschoolers at our blog Making It As Mom. We took time off in the fall so I could plan out our school year and pick a curriculum. During this time, I noticed my son(10) and daughter (5) playing and interacting together much more. Suddenly they were dressing up and camping out in the yard in cardboard boxes, decorated with various supplies gathered from around the house. They were playing as children should play and they had the time to do it! Watching this happen and seeing them grow closer and more deeply bonded I felt such joy! They bonded in a way I had never seen before! I firmly believe this happened because they had time to play and interact together, and were not being rushed from one place to another spending hours in the van each day.
My husband and our children on his birthday.
My oldest was 16 at the time we began homeschooling and I watched her begin to re-engage with our family. She spent much more time with our 5-year-old, playing piano and teaching her about her viola. Listening to music, dancing, and singing. They spent many special moments together! Talk about music to my ears! Had they each been in school this time for bonding and memory making wouldn’t have been possible!
Our Physical Education at the park, what a great time together the girls had!
My father in law lives 10 minutes away and since we began homeschooling, we have more time to spend with him. Visiting him several times each week and occasionally helping him with some chores around his house and yard (even though he hardly asks for their help) has become a regular part of our routine. Each day we are together they learn more about serving one another and being a family. My father in law seems more joy filled when the kids visit and spend time with him. They laugh together, work together, and have the time to listen to their grandfather’s stories of his childhood growing up in Tunisia and how he married their Meme in France and brought her to The States. These moments spent together are priceless!
Homeschooling has given us the opportunity to attend morning mass and spend time in the adoration chapel at our church. There is nothing better than seeing your faith in action, and having the example of your parent’s prayer life and how they place their faith and trust in God.
If we had not made this choice to homeschool, I feel like our oldest kids wouldn’t be as close with their younger siblings, they wouldn’t have as much time with their Grandfather whom we call Nonno, and their faith might not be as strong. We wouldn’t have the time to spend together doing family things on Fridays when my husband was off if not for homeschooling. Our home life would be so much more stressful and we wouldn’t enjoy as many moments together. Homeschooling has given us our family life back. Our decision to homeschool has been such a blessing to us and we really do treasure our time together. If you are contemplating homeschooling pray about it and don’t hesitate to reach out to me at http://www.makingitasmom.com.
In His grace.