When the time came to send our eldest son to school we seriously considered home schooling. As it stands, we have decided not to home school our children yet but we also haven’t ruled it out completely for the future either. Here are a few of the reasons we thought about home schooling our kids and also the reasons why we decided against it – for now anyway.
Why we considered Home Schooling
As parents we didn’t take lightly the decision to send our son to school. I think it is because we hadn’t viewed it as our only option. We just didn’t feel that it was set in stone that we had to automatically send any of our children to school so we seriously looked into the other options available.
One of the main reasons that we liked the idea of home schooling was because of all the horror stories you hear. Stories about drastic negative changes in your child as soon as they start school, changes in their attitude (or just having an attitude), of how they are never the same once they start school, they stop being little children, and the list goes on! All of this because they spend a lot of time each week with a mixture of children and let’s face it, there will probably be a few kids around who you wouldn’t necessarily view as good associates.
Also I think it is only natural for us mothers to want to be involved in every aspect of our child’s life (while we can anyway).
From the moment I found out that I was pregnant any decision that I made had one main priority, the welfare of my baby. Whether it was something as big as deciding what flooring we should put down in our living room or something as simple as deciding what we were going to eat for dinner, pizza or spinach? Hmm 😉
And then the day arrives and your baby is finally in your arms. Nothing can prepare you for the challenges that lay ahead. As they grow you realise all of the roles that you quickly need to become an expert in whether it’s being a nurse, a judge, a toy fixer, a best friend or a teacher. And I suppose in a weird way I felt like I was handing my baby over to a teacher-that I didn’t really know- and they would become most of these things to my baby. Argh! The thought of leaving him in someone else’s hands made me feel sick.
Now you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy for thinking so much about something as normal as school, and to be honest I wouldn’t blame you, because most people don’t think that there’s anything to worry about. Yet amidst all of those crazy thoughts we decided to send our little one to school, why?
Why we decided against home schooling – for now at least!
As you can tell, whatever our decision was going to be it wasn’t going to be an easy one. So what made us decide to send Isaac to school? In a nutshell, it was because we felt that we couldn’t rule it out without at least trying it first. I am aware that there are pros and cons with both home schooling and state schooling and we didn’t feel that we could miss out on any of the positives that state schooling might bring without first giving it a go.
Some of the good aspects are things like learning good social skills and learning how to interact with a variety of different children. I feel you can learn these social skills well in a school environment. I can’t help but feel that if I was always physically around them all the time at play groups or something like that then I might well hinder their social learning in some way. I would find it difficult not to step in every time they had a disagreement with another child for example or silly things like learning how to use scissors properly – I still feel nervous now when I see him using them! I thought it would be good to see how they coped with a new environment.
I was also unsure about keeping my children cooped up at home too much as I think I would worry about them getting bored or frustrated with the lack of space. I know that there is always the option available of getting a professional company in to help create some extra space with some kind of house extension but this wouldn’t be a cheap exercise, so it would be a big commitment to make before we even know if the kids would thrive in a home school environment.
At the moment I just don’t have the outdoor space that I think I would ideally need either, to let them burn off the energy that boys seem to constantly have stored up, and what about all the painting and messy play that they get stuck into in the classrooms? I do regularly do fun things like this with my kids but it is very messy and I’m not sure my husband would want to extend the house just so we could have a room where I don’t need to worry too much about what goes on in there.
Finally, I also worried about getting the balance right between having structure and learning schedules at home and still making it a wonderful haven where we all enjoy being together.
So these are just a few of the reasons we decided to send Isaac to school, so far so good. Isaac is now in Year 1 and he really loves it. The horror stories weren’t exactly true. Yes he has changed in ways, because he is growing up but by using reward charts and making sure that we consistently teach him how WE want him to be and not how some of the kids at school may be, we seem to have stopped any bad behaviour it in its tracks which is a big relief.
I have also just sent Malachi’s application form into the school too, so in September we will have them both at school. It is such a scary thought! But like I said earlier, we haven’t ruled out home schooling. So if things do change for the worse in the future then we can always try out home schooling then.
What do you think? Do you home school or have you considered it yourself?